NEW YORK — Dealing with 20 mph wind that blew a changeover chair onto the U.S. Open court on one point and yanked his hat off during another, Andy Murray navigated his way into his fifth Grand Slam final.
Now he’ll try to win his first Grand Slam title – and first for any British man in 76 years.
Adapting to the conditions far better than his opponent did, Olympic champion Murray came back to beat mistake-prone Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7) in a rain-delayed and wind-swept U.S. Open semifinal Saturday.
“It was brutal,” Murray said about his 3-hour, 58-minute victory. “Hard to describe. You had to focus for every single point. ... Some of the hardest conditions I’ve ever played in, for sure, and I come from Scotland, so that’s saying something.”
The third-seeded Murray will get yet another chance to put his name on the list of Grand Slam winners. The last major singles trophies for a British man were won by Fred Perry at Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships in 1936.
With a storm bearing down, play was suspended in the first set of defending champion Novak Djokovic’s semifinal Saturday, making this the fifth consecutive year the tournament will fail to finish on time because of the weather.
Djokovic was trailing fourth-seeded David Ferrer 5-2 after about a half-hour of action when tournament referee Brian Earley came out on court and told the players and the chair umpire that they needed to stop.
As some spectators at Arthur Ashe Stadium booed or whistled, an announcement over the loudspeakers said: “At this time, we ask you to please make your way out of the stadium in an orderly fashion.”
That match, which will determine who faces Olympic champion Andy Murray in the final, was scheduled to resume at 11 a.m. today.
The men’s final was shifted from its originally scheduled today slot to Monday – something that has happened at every U.S. Open since 2008.
“I would say we’re getting very tired of having Monday finals,” tournament director David Brewer said.
The women’s final between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka that was supposed to be played Saturday night was shifted to 4:30 p.m. today.
It’s the fourth time in the past five years the women’s title match was rescheduled.
Unlike at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, the U.S. Open does not have a roof to protect any court used for tournament matches. It’s also the only Grand Slam tournament that schedules two men’s semifinals on Saturday, which leaves less room for scheduling flexibility when there is disruptive weather.
Next year, for the first time, a day off will be inserted between the semifinals and final, either by shifting the semis to Friday or by changing the title match to Monday.