US Open: Nadal ousts Murray, sets up final clash with Djokovic

September 11th, 2011 - 5:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Rafael Nadal New York, Sep 11 (IANS) Defending champion Rafael Nadal denied Andy Murray’s search for his first Grand Slam title with a tough four-set victory over the British top player in the semifinals of the US Open here Saturday. The Spaniard will face World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the final.

Second seed Nadal beat fourth seed Murray 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in three hours, 24 minutes.

In the other semifinal, Roger Federer couldn’t convert two match points while serving in the fifth set and went on to lose against Djkovic for the secon consecutive year.

The 24-year-old Djokovic, who is 63-2 on the year, won the epic clash against the five-time US Open Champion 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in three hours, 51 minutes.

Playing his third match in three days at the rain-drenched Open, Nadal lost his first set of the tournament, but broke Murray twice in the fourth set to reach his 14th Grand Slam final.

Though Nadal beat Djokovic in four sets in the final last year, the Serb holds a 5-0 record in the last five finals played between the two.

The losing semifinalist Murray joined an elite band of seven players to have reached the semifinals of all four grand slams in a calendar year.

Murray was not without chances, as he rallied superbly to take the third set and had Nadal rattled in the fourth, only to surrender his serve in weak fashion which allowed the 25-year-old Spaniard to close out the match.

Nadal came out determined to impose himself on Murray and hit a couple of big forehands, but Murray produced some high-class serving to hold.

Nadal broke through in the seventh game with a deep forehand that drew the error, taking the first set in 55 minutes.

Murray had break points at the start of the second set and had a look at second serves. Nadal, though, steeled himself and came through an eight-minute game.

A love hold moved Nadal two sets to the good, but Murray came out fighting at the start of third and a blistering point in which he won a baseline battle earned him a break of serve.

Murray duly dropped his serve immediately after breaking, with his first double fault of the match and a shocking backhand allowing Nadal to get back on track.

Murray’s level was much improved in the third set and a brilliant series of points enabled him to break Nadal for a second time to lead 5-3. And on this occasion Murray did not surrender his advantage and he served out to cut the deficit.

The World No. 2 secured the cushion of a three-game lead in the fourth set when holding for 4-1. Murray staved off three break points to go down a double break but it failed to spark a revival.

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