Murray stops Nadal, sets up US Open final against Federer

September 8th, 2008 - 2:29 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Sep 8 (DPA) Andy Murray will try to halt the tide of history when he plays Roger Federer in Monday’s delayed final at the US Open after stunning Rafael Nadal 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-4 in a semi-final spread over two days.Murray after the win Sunday became only the third British player in the post-1968 Open Era to reach a Grand Slam final, and first since Greg Rusedski in New York in 1997.

Murray hung tough mentally overnight after his match against the Spanish top seed was halted Saturday by torrential rain with Murray leading two sets to love but down a break.

“I’m feeling very relieved to come back after yesterday (Saturday), it was tough to sleep on it,” said Murray, who stands 2-1 over Federer, a winner on Saturday into his fifth straight final at Flushing Meadows.

“I’m so glad that I came through.”

Federer is bidding to become the first in the modern era to win five consecutive titles at the Open. The Swiss spent a relaxed training day after defeating Novak Djokovic on Saturday to book his place.

Murray held his nerve as he wore down the formerly invincible Nadal, whose 2008 trophy haul included Paris, Wimbledon and Olympic titles.

The Spaniard came to the court with victories in 54 of his last 56 matches stretching well back to the spring.

Murray has beaten Federer in their last two meetings with the Swiss winning their first in Bangkok three years ago.

Murray fired 21 aces in his three-hour, 30-minute miracle over Nadal, who has admitted that he’s been running on fumes in recent weeks due to fatigue.

The 21-year-old Scot yanked the Spaniard around the court in the closing stages of their thriller, Murray sending a pass down the flank past the Spaniard to seize victory on his first match point.

“The atmosphere was unbelievable,” said Murray, watched by celebrities including British entrepreneur Richard Branson in his player box.

“The crowd really helped in the end even if they may have wanted to see a fifth set.

“This has been my favourite event since the juniors,” said the former boys champion. “It’s just different.”

Murray will have to recoup quickly to be ready for Federer, who could save his season and earn a 13th Grand Slam singles title with a victory.

“He’s the greatest player, so to get a chance to face him in a Slam final is an honour,” said Murray. “I’ve played well against him in the past and hopefully I can do the same tomorrow.”

As the third set resumed Sunday, Nadal quickly got to work collecting his first set of the match to get onto the scoreboard.

The Spaniard then showed his trademark fire in a monster second game of the fourth set which took 22 points, required 15 minutes and featured seven break points against his serve - all saved.

The top seed finally made his great escape as Murray put a return into the net, then dropped serve to love immediately following in less than a minute.

“That was a huge game, it was so tough,” said Murray, now 12-3 at the event.

Nadal consolidated for 3-1, with the Scot steadying for 2-3. But Murray’s persistence paid off with Nadal setting up a break point as he missed a drop volley at the net.

One point later, Murray had squared the set at 3-all from the Spaniard’s return wide. Nadal again was forced on the defensive, saving his 16th break point of the match to stay in touch 4-4 before Murray broke Nadal to end the upset.

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