Calm before the storm as Andy Murray faces final hurdle

 

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What goes around comes around. Four years ago Andy Murray's chances of beating Roger Federer and winning his first Grand Slam title here at the US Open were hampered when he spent the day before the final beating Rafael Nadal in their rain-delayed semi-final. At the same time, Federer could prepare for the match tucked up in his hotel room, having finished his semi-final before a massive thunderstorm had broken the previous day. Federer went on to beat Murray in straight sets.

As Murray prepared yesterday for his final here today against Novak Djokovic, the 25-year-old Scot could reflect on the fact that this time the tennis gods have smiled on him.

Once again rain disrupted the final weekend, forcing the final to be postponed until a third Monday for the fifth year in succession, but this time it was Murray who was able to complete his semi-final before the heavens opened, beating Tomas Berdych 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6.

While the Scot could relax, Djokovic was completing a 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 semi-final victory over David Ferrer. The Serb had played for only 32 minutes on Saturday before play was called off – with Ferrer leading 5-2 in the first set – because of an impending thunderstorm. Although Djokovic needed only two more hours to finish off the Spaniard yesterday, the world No 2 knew he would have to return again barely 24 hours later for today's final, which is due to begin at 4pm (9pm BST).

Djokovic said he hoped this would be the last year of "Super Saturday" with men's semi-finals scheduled just 24 hours before the final, but insisted: "I don't feel any problems physically. It was good to have the job done in four sets today. I feel as fresh as I can be at this stage of the tournament."

Murray recalled that his 2008 final here had flashed past "in the blink of an eye". He said: "This time I have a day to practise and rest and think about it. I'm sure I will deal with it all better this time. I've got four more years of experience and quite a lot of that experience has come this year."

Djokovic believes Murray has benefited this year from playing a more aggressive game. "I think he's going for the shots more than he used to," Djokovic said. "He's definitely improved that part of the game. Mentally I think he is more aggressive on the court. That was probably the only thing that was missing in his game, because he's one of the most complete players in the world right now."

Andy Murray's press conference after his win over Tomas Berdych was interrupted when Sir Sean Connery entered the room. He then ushered in Sir Alex Ferguson and Judy, Murray's mother.

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