If you were hoping for another chapter in the Roger Federer v. Rafael Nadal saga, forget it because it’s not happening at the 2008 US Open final. Not after Andy Murray finished off Nadal in fine fashion 6-2, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 to reach his first career Grand Slam final.
What impressed me most about Murray was his ability to regroup and keep it together after going down a break in the fourth set. Murray squandered so many break points in Rafa’s first service game of the fourth, then he got broken, but he stayed the course winning five of the last six games to close out Nadal.
The match of course was resumed from yesterday with Nadal serving with a break 3-2. Unlike yesterday Nadal came out guns blazing, but Murray was sharp as well. When Nadal closed out the third then raced ahead to break and 0-30 on Murray’s serve it looked like we were headed to a fifth. But full credit to Murray for not getting down, something he has been known to do in the past.
We know of Murray’s variety, emotion and moxie, but the Scot has great hands around the court and his movement is really underrated. Now he plays the well-rested Federer tomorrow in less than 24 hours at 5pm in the biggest match of his life.
Murray leads Federer 2-1 in their head-to-head, most recently beating the Swiss in Dubai arguably during the Fed mono days. But Fed’s the experienced guy, the fitter player and the favorite (I’ll pick my winner tomorrow) as he tries to finally get into the Grand Slam and hardcourt win column for the first time this year.
I think the summer rigor finally did catch up to Nadal who was slouched over, in a ready-to-vomit posture after the second-to-last point of the match. The grind finally got to him and Murray was too good.
Going into the summer I did not think a player could win both Beijing and the US Open, something even Murray’s mom, Judy, stated. And it turned out to be true at least in Rafa’s case. But Roger still pocketed doubles gold, now he finds himself again three sets from (un)lucky Slam No. 13.
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