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Wimbledon: Andy Murray peaking at the perfect time

Super Scot vows to give his all to clinch second crown after ruthless display earns a final battle with Raonic

Paul Newman

Three years after becoming the first British man for 77 years to win the Wimbledon singles title, Andy Murray will have another shot at home glory tomorrow.

A crushing 6-3 6-3 6-3 victory over Tomas Berdych - his fifth straight-sets victory in his six matches so far at the tournament - sent the 29-year-old Scot into a showdown with Milos Raonic, who is the first Canadian man ever to reach a Grand Slam final.

It will be Murray's third successive appearance in a Major final following his defeats to Novak Djokovic at the Australian and French Opens.

For once, he will be the favourite. In all 10 of his previous Slam deciders - eight of which he has lost - the Scot has faced higher-ranked opponents. Indeed, this will be his first against a rival other than Djokovic or Roger Federer.

Raonic, the World No.7, earned his place in the final with a 6-3 6-7 4-6 7-5 6-3 victory over Federer.

It will be Murray's third Wimbledon final - he lost to Federer in 2012 and beat Djokovic in 2013 - and one that he will relish.

"The older you get, you never know how many more chances you will have to play in Grand Slam finals so you want to make the most of any opportunity," he said.

There was barely a moment when he looked in trouble against Berdych. Wimbledon semi-finals have not always brought the best out of Murray - he had lost in four of his six previous appearances at this stage - but on this occasion he looked solid.

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Wimbledon: Andy Murray beats Tomas Berdych to reach final 

Bjorn Borg and Sir Alex Ferguson were among the guests who witnessed the World No.2 write Fred Perry out of another page in the history books. In reaching his 11th Slam final, Murray passed Perry's British record of 10 following the abolition of Wimbledon's Challenge Round in 1922.

Tomorrow's meeting will be a repeat of the final of the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club three weeks ago, which Murray won after three hard-fought sets.

"It was a very tough match," Murray recalled. "I was down a set and a break but I managed to turn it around. He's playing the best grass-court tennis of his career."

Murray, who has won all 11 grass-court matches he has played so far in 2016 and is undefeated since his reunion with Ivan Lendl, has won his last five meetings with Raonic. He also won both of their previous Slam encounters.

Berdych, who was attempting to reach his second Wimbledon final after losing to Rafael Nadal in 2010, won six of his first 10 matches against Murray, but this was his fifth defeat in succession to the Scot.

Murray, who admits that Berdych used to "bully" him with his physical strength, has become stronger in every sense in recent years. In particular his more aggressive game style makes it much more difficult for the Czech to dictate points against him.

Murray was quickly into his stride, breaking at the first attempt, though Berdych gave him a helping hand with three forehand errors and a double fault.

The Czech broke back immediately - for the only time - but dropped serve again at 3-4 under the pressure of Murray's damaging returns. Within 36 minutes the Scot had wrapped up the first set.

Both men had break points early in the second, but it was Murray who made the breakthrough in the seventh game when Berdych put an attempted drop shot in the net. Two games later Murray broke again to take the set.

Murray, whose win secured his qualification for the year-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London, broke again in the fourth game of the third set as Berdych put a forehand wide.

The Czech pushed hard in the following game only to be beaten by one of the shots of the tournament. Berdych played a good drop shot, but Murray raced into the net and not only got to the ball but played a superb lob which landed just inside the baseline.

Berdych fought to the end, but the World No.9 did not force a single break point in the deciding set. At 5-3 Murray went to match point after forcing Berdych into a backhand error and the Scot wasted no time completing his victory, after an hour and 58 minutes.

"It was a good match," Murray said. "The middle part of the second set was really key. To make a Wimbledon final is a good achievement."

Berdych expects the Scot to win the title. He said the serve would be Raonic's best chance but added: "Andy is one of the best at eliminating big weapons like that. That's why I feel he can do it."

Belfast Telegraph


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