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For the first time in his career

Murray marches past Berdych

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Originally published on 08/07/16 00:00

Murray, who reached his 11th major final on Friday with a 6-3 6-3 6-3 victory over Tomas Berdych, will face Milos Raonic in the Championship match on Sunday after the Canadian beat seven-time champion Roger Federer in five sets.

It is the first time since 2002, when Lleyton Hewitt beat David Nalbandian in straight sets, that there will be a men’s Wimbledon singles final that does not feature Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, who have won 12 of the last 13 titles at the All England Club.

Sunday’s final will be a repeat of the Aegon Championships final three weeks ago. It is the first time in 28 years that the Queen’s finalists have met in the Wimbledon final, when Stefan Edberg defeated Queen’s champion Boris Becker in 1988. Raonic will be hoping to reverse the result against Murray, who came from behind to win a record fifth title at his home event.

“[It will be] the first time playing a Slam final against someone who isn’t Roger or Novak so that’s different,” said Murray. “But you never know how anyone’s going to deal with the pressures of a Slam final so I just have to concentrate on my side.

"It's obviously an opportunity.  I put myself in a position to try and win the event again.  It's against someone new that I'm playing against in the final. But Milos is a very tough opponent.  He's played very well on the grass this year and has earned his right to the final by beating one of the best, if not the best player, ever at this event.  So he deserves to be there." 

It was a clinical performance from Murray, who took to Centre Court knowing the identity of his final opponent after Raonic defeated Federer 6-3 6-7(3) 4-6 7-5 6-3 in the first semi-final. The 29-year-old, who needed five sets to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals, was able to conserve his energy as he got the job done in straight sets, wrapping up victory in under two hours.

“I’m pumped to be in the final, obviously,” said Murray. “I feel pretty calm maybe because the match wasn’t too stressful. Today was quicker and there weren’t as many complications. Maybe the other night I was more relieved.  You feel emotionally more drained after matches like that."

Murray had won 27 return games and had managed to return an impressive 78 per cent of his opponent’s serves in his opening five matches and his returning prowess was evident early in the match as he broke Berdych in his first service game, albeit with the help of a double fault from the Czech. Although Berdych broke straight back, Murray’s persistence paid off as he broke again in the eighth game before serving out the opening set.

After both players saw break points go begging midway through the second set, Murray made the breakthrough for a 4-3 lead and as Berdych served to stay in the set, the Scot broke once again with a forehand winner down the line.

In an attempt to rush Murray, Berdych, a finalist at the All England Club in 2010, made 44 forays to the net, winning 31 of them, but 30 unforced errors proved to be his undoing as Murray was too consistent at the big moments, committing just nine unforced errors in the entire match.

Berdych had beaten Murray on six previous occasions, but the two-time Grand Slam champion, who had won their last four encounters, took a step closer to a fifth straight win his fifth break before consolidating with a lob winner for a 4-1 lead as the Scot marched into the final in two hours and 58 minutes.

 

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For the first time in his career
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