FLUSHING, NY—The streak is over.
When Novak Djokovic’s return of serve went long on championship point number two, Andy Murray Monday night became the long-awaited first British major champion since Fred Perry in 1936, dispatching Djokovic 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2.
The 76-year wait for Great Britain was delayed even a little longer as the five-set match last 4:54 amidst abnormally windy conditions on an autumn-like day.
“It was incredibly tricky conditions,” said Murray on court immediately afterwards. “I don’t know how I managed it to come through in the end.”
The end of the match, much like the beginning, was when the 25-year-old Brit was at his best and getting his first serve in.
Murray started off the match by breaking Djokovic’s serve and had five breaks in the first two sets alone against the Serbian who had been broken just seven times the whole tournament, coming into the match.
After winning the close first set, Murray leaped to a 4-0 lead in the second frame before Djokovic made an incredible comeback to tie the set up at 5-5. Murray held strong though and then broke back to win the set and take a seemingly insurmountable two sets to none lead.
No one has won the U.S. Open final after dropping the first two sets since 1949, but Djokovic does has some history with the feat having topped the great Roger Federer in the U.S. Open semifinals after being down two-love.
Djokovic, the defending U.S. Open champion, broke Murray in third and seventh game of the third set while holding serve all the way through. After breaking Murray to open the fourth set, a repeat of last year’s comeback seemed like a real possibility. The speedy Djokovic’s energy was up with the momentum and his court coverage was incredible.
After breaking Murray in the final game of the fourth set and forcing a deciding fifth frame though, the air came out of his sail quickly.Murray broke Djokovic to start the fifth and then broke him again to take a 3-0 lead, much to the crowd’s delight—the spectators on hand weren’t necessarily rooting for the individual players as they were the great play, as they roared after each exciting point.
Djokovic broke back and was serving down 4-2 when he started noticeably limping. After dropping the game he briefly received treatment but it wasn’t to be. Murray served out the match and celebrated in almost stunned silence—and who could blame him? He’s the only living British major champion.
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