British No1 Andy Murray will tonight compete in the first Grand Slam final of his short career after he produced another scintillating performance to dump world No1 Rafael Nadal out of the US Open.
Murray continued his extraordinary progress at Flushing Meadow by completing a 6-2, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Nadal, ending the Spaniard’s hopes of a third Grand Slam this year.
Another triumph tonight against Roger Federer, US Open champion for the last four years, would see the 21-year-old become the first British man to win a Grand Slam singles title since Fred Perry reigned in New York in 1936.
“It’s awesome to beat him, a great feeling,” a delighted Murray said afterwards. “He’s beaten me five times in a row, so that was tough, and to do it in a semi meant it was really difficult. With the rain delay yesterday, and it was windy today, there were a lot of different things, but I’m happy I came through in the end.”
Murray exceeded all expectations just by reaching the last four, which bettered his performance at Wimbledon earlier this year. It was a lesson in tennis from Nadal that ended his hopes of glory in SW19, but Murray looked a different player as he exacted revenge last night.
So too did Nadal, who showed only flashes of the brute force that had garnered six titles in his previous seven tournaments.
Resuming the rain-interrupted match in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Murray picked up where he left off on Saturday, when storms halted play with the Scot two sets up but a break down in the third.
Nadal served out to take the third set and Murray wasted seven break points in one game before the Spaniard broke first to go 3-1 up in the fourth set. But the momentum swung back to Murray when he levelled at 3-3, and with Nadal serving to stay in the match, broke again to take a step closer to making history.
Already guaranteed a new career high world ranking of No4, Murray can claim to be Britain’s most successful player for decades if he records a third successive win over Federer.
“I’m going to have to play great if I want to have a chance of winning,” said Murray.
“He’s won here the last five times so to beat him in a final is tough, he’s got an unbelievable record.”