By a Newsnet reporter
Scotland’s Andy Murray has beaten Serbia’s Novak Djokovic 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 to take the 2012 US Open Tennis Title in an epic encounter.
In a pulsating match that saw both men produce scintillating tennis and trade service breaks, it was the Scot who emerged victorious after 5 hours of gruelling play.
In doing so, Murray has broken his Grand Slam duck by beating the former world number one and has cemented his place as the best player from the British Isles in the modern era.
The Scot slumped to his knees on converting match point as the scale of his achievement sunk in.
The US Open holds a special place for Murray. The tournament gave him his first ever taste of a Grand Slam final in 2008 where he lost in straight sets to Swiss legend Roger Federer.
Immediately after that loss, Murray said: “I don’t want to be remembered for losing in the final of the US Open, I want to win one of these tournaments and I’m going to try my hardest to do it.”
Since that defeat, Murray has lost in the Australian Open twice and this year’s Wimbledon final.
However Murray finally laid his Grand Slam bogey to rest and, in what is easily the best year of his career thus far, has now won two major tennis titles back to back having recently defeated world number one Roger Federer to take the Olympic gold medal.
The final was delayed by a day after dreadful weather hit New York’s Flushing Meadows. However neither finalist appeared to be affected as both served up a tennis feast.
Both great friends off the court, there was no question of either allowing sentiment to get in the way in this final, and it was Murray who took first blood breaking Djokovic’s first service game of the match.
However Djokovic broke straight back and the match began with no player able to hold their initial service game.
In what were difficult breezy conditions both men suffered a further break of serve and at six games all a tie-break was required to decide the opening set. After squandering five set points, Murray eventually converted one, taking the tie-break 12-10 and lead one set to love.
Murray kept up the momentum into the second set with an immediate break of serve. By now the Scot’s footwork, first serve and all round court play was clearly the better of the two as Djokovic struggled in the breezy conditions. A second break followed and he was four games to love up.
However, any thoughts that this would be a walkover were dispelled as Djokovic dug deep and broke back twice to restore parity in the set – the second break coming as Murray served at 5-4 to take a two sets to nil lead.
The reprieve was temporary though as Murray quickly re-asserted his superiority and at 6-5 broke the Serbian for a third time and it was indeed two sets to zero for the Scotsman.
A psychological blow in favour of the Scot who had looked fragile having given away a double break lead – the title was now tantalisingly close.
The third set saw Djokovic take an early 3-1 lead, breaking Murray in the third game and following it up with a service hold of his own. A second break saw the Serbian serve for the set – which he duly did. Murray now led two sets to one and the tension was palpable.
The momentum was now with Djokovic and the fourth set saw the Serbian continue where he left off in the third with an immediate break of the Murray serve.
At two games to love in the fourth set, Murray had lost eight of the last nine games. The Scot was looking tired and the match went to a fifth and deciding set when Murray again relinquished a game when serving at five-three down in the fourth set.
From two sets down, Djokovic had levelled and Murray now faced perhaps his biggest ever mental test. This was an epic encounter and the Scot was entering new territory.
This time the set saw Murray hit the ground running with an immediate break of the Djokovic serve. Following a hold of his own Murray struck again, breaking the Serb for a second time.
There followed a further exchange of breaks by both men and suddenly Andy Murray, watched by two Knights in the shape of Sir Sean Connery and Sir Alex Ferguson, found himself serving at 5-2 up for the US Open.
He did not fail and Murray is now a Grand Slam champion. Well done Andy Murray.
Commenting, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“Congratulations to Andy Murray on what was a fantastic performance. This is another brilliant win over Novak Djokovic and continues an amazing year for Andy. Now Olympic and US Open champion, Andy truly is a Scottish sporting legend and I’m certain that more grand slam titles will follow.”