Andy Murray finally achieved his long awaited ambition of lifting a grand slam title last night, after defeating Novak Djokovic 7-6 (12/10) 7-5 2-6 3-6 6-2 in a thrilling US Open final.
Murray became the first British man since Fred Perry 76 years ago to lift a grand slam title in an exhilarating contest that approached the five-hour mark, propelling the Scot into a state of elation on a glorious night in New York.
Following a summer of mixed fortunes where the Scot claimed Olympic gold but lost out in the final of Wimbledon to the same man, Rodger Federer, it was widely assumed that Murray was now in a better position than ever to finally claim his first title after years of close calls and near misses. There was a sign that yet more heartbreak was on the cards for the 25-year-old when he surrendered a two set lead against the Serbian, but in an effort that encapsulated Murray’s improvement and drive to succeed, he recovered to reclaim the initiative in the closing set and finally get his hands on the trophy.
Despite the swirling winds tearing around the Arthur Ashe stadium, both Djokovic and Murray produced an absorbing dual in the first set, which included a 54 shot rally before the Dunblane man sealed the opener. Murray raced into 4-0 lead in the second set, and despite some resilient play from Djokovic on serve to get himself back into the game, Murray broke in the 12th game to seal a 7-5 win.
If anyone was expecting Murray to seal victory in straight sets as he did against Federer en route to Olympic gold last month, they were in for a shock. Djokovic fought back in the third, breaking twice in the process before he comfortably drew level after taking the fourth set 2-6.
With all discussion of historic nights for Murray, the resilient Serbian was now presented with a potential one of his own, and was now aiming to become the first man to come back from two sets down and win the US Open since Pancho Gonzales in 1949.
In the past, Murray’s ability to hold his nerve against the man who has seen off Rafael Nadal and Rodger Federer at the height of their powers would have been thrown into severe doubt. But Murray now possesses something more, instilled by determined coach Ivan Lendl and also perhaps brought on from the pain of getting so near but yet so far in the past. This resilience was on show in the fifth set where Murray summoned the energy to regain control of the final at its most anxious moments. Djokovic lost his own serve in the 7th game of the relentless contest, and with sublime control and composure, Murray managed to claim the set and seal his place alongside Fred Perry in the upper echelons of British tennis.