Murray has final say
British No.1 triumphs in decider after surrendering two-set lead
By Rob Lancaster - Tweet me: @SkySportsLanny. Last Updated: 11/09/12 2:09pm
Andy Murray has finally got his hands on a grand slam title thanks to a thrilling 7-6 (12/10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 victory over Novak Djokovic in the US Open final.
His triumph, after four hours and 54 minutes - just 60 seconds short of the longest final in New York, banishes the bad memories of his four previous final defeats, including this year at Wimbledon to Roger Federer.
At one stage it has appeared as if the British number one would suffer yet more major heartache when he surrendered a two-set lead against a rallying reigning champion in Djokovic.
However Murray showed he is made of strong stuff these days, recovering his composure to take charge in the decider and become the first British male to win a slam since Fred Perry 76 years ago.
"You knew he had a touch of genius about him and I am incredibly proud. He had so much courage. We need to make the point that he elevated his game and he took it too Novak."
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Understandably there was an air of relief in his reaction when Djokovic flashed a forehand long to finally finish a titanic tussle between the pair.
It started out with a first set that took one hour and 27 minutes in very windy conditions, included a 54-shot rally that looked like it would never end and then concluded with a late medical timeout that only added to the drama.
The stats were on Murray's side once he took the opener, though - in the 13 previous meetings between the two good friends neither player had managed to come back from 1-0 down.
However, perhaps in a sign of things to come, he had to do it the hard way in the first. Having twice surrendered breaks the third seed needed no less than six set points to finally move in front by taking a high-quality tie-break that lasted 22 points.
The Scotsman quickly built on his advantage, racing into a 4-0 lead in the second to suggest he'd double his lead in a hurry.
Djokovic did rally to get back on serve, but, once again, Murray held his nerve when it mattered, breaking in the 12th game to take a two-set lead for the first time in a major final.
No one, though, ever said it was going to be easy for him to break his duck.
Djokovic broke twice to move 5-2 ahead in the third before comfortably serving out to half the deficit, raising the possibility of him becoming the first man since Pancho Gonzalez in 1949 to come back from 2-0 down to win the US Open.
Those possibilities looked to be a probability when, with momentum firmly on his side, the second seed powered his way to the fourth set thanks to some heavy hitting and sublime touches at the net.
Yet there was to be another twist in this seemingly never-ending story. Having looked down and almost out, Murray somehow summoned enough energy to restore some power to his forehand and, two early breaks to the good, took control of the fifth.
Although Djokovic did get one break back his hopes of retaining his crown disappeared when he couldn't hang on to his own serve in the seventh game. He dragged his body back to his chair like a soldier wounded in battle and ready to wave the white flag.
Some treatment for a groin injury delayed Murray from serving out for the match but the man from Dunblane kept his cool. In a twist of fate, his victory came 79 years to the day since Perry won his first grand slam at the US Open.
They say the first is always the toughest, and no one knows that better than Ivan Lendl, Murray's coach. He, just like his pupil, had to fall at the final hurdle on four different occasions before becoming a major winner at the French Open; he went on to win nine more, too.
Whether Murray can go on and match his mentor is something for the future. For now, all that matters is he has one - the ghost of the legendary Perry has, finally, been laid to rest. Since losing at Wimbledon he has struck gold at the Olympics and lifted the US Open during a quite unbelievable summer for British sport that it almost makes you forget about the weather.