Defending champion Novak Djokovic advanced to the U.S. Open men’s final against third-seeded Andy Murray by defeating David Ferrer in a semifinal that began yesterday and was halted by the threat of severe weather.
Djokovic, 25, from Serbia, who was trailing 5-2 in the first set yesterday when play was stopped, won 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 against the fourth-seeded Spaniard at the National Tennis Center in New York.
The match resumed today under a partly cloudy sky with a temperature of 71 degrees (22 Celsius) and a light wind, a contrast to the heavy rain and gusting wind that wiped out matches yesterday.
“We were all praying for less wind today,” Djokovic said in an on-court interview. “I think he handled the wind much better than I did, and I came in today as a different player.”
Ferrer, 30, said weather interruptions are a part of the sport and that Djokovic clearly was the superior player today.
“Every day is different, and today Djokovic play better than me,” he told reporters. “On some games in the third and fourth set, I lost my focus. But I think he deserved to win the match.”
Murray, 25, swept into the men’s final yesterday with a blustery four-set victory against No. 6 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic that was delayed by rain and bedeviled by wind. Berdych had eliminated five-time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland in the quarterfinals.
The men’s final is set to start about 4:30 p.m. tomorrow, the fifth consecutive year that the tournament has been pushed into a third week by bad weather.
Three-time champion Serena Williams, 30, of the U.S. will play top-seeded Victoria Azarenka, 23, of Belarus in the women’s final later this afternoon. The match was postponed from last night because of the severe weather.
Murray will play in his second U.S. Open final after defeating Berdych 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7) in a match that lasted almost four hours. Murray was runner-up to Federer in 2008.
That match started more than an hour late because of rain and a tornado warning. Wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour (56 kilometers per hour) forced the men to play tentatively and take much of the pace off their shots.
It seemed to have more of an impact on Berdych, who has one of the highest ball tosses on his serve. After hitting a serve at 137 mph earlier in the tournament, he hit first serves as slow as 77 mph and had six double faults while losing seven of his 20 service games.
The swirling wind sent napkins and plastic bags from the stands floating above the players, and a point had to be stopped when Murray’s chair and gym bag blew onto the court.
“It was brutal,” Murray said in a televised interview. “Some of the hardest conditions I’ve ever played in, for sure, and I come from Scotland, so that’s saying something.”
Murray is trying to become the first British man to capture a Grand Slam singles title since Fred Perry won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1936.
“Winning a major is the last thing that I really want to do,” Murray, who won gold at the London Olympics, said in a news conference. “Yeah, it means a lot to me.”
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