US Open 2012 – Men’s Semi Finals and Women’s Final

Andy Murray has an excellent record at the US Open. He reached the final in 2008 and the semi finals last year. Today he tries to reach  another final but comes up against an in form Thomas Berdych.

Berdych knocked out world number 1 Federer in 4 sets and has maintained a high level throughout the tournament. Murray started the tournament badly and his first 2 service games against Bogomolov resulted in breaks. He sorted himself out and still came through in straight sets. He played a superb match tto beat Raonic in straight sets and looked to be in good shape for the rest of the tournament. However his opening set and a half against Cilic were verging on pathetic as he went a set and 1-5 down. Again he sorted himself out and dominated the rest of the match but I don’t think he will be able to afford the luxury of another slow start against Berdych.

Berdych leads the head to heads 4-2. They have played twice this year with Berdych winning on clay and Murray winning on a hard court.

Berdych can hit powerfully on both wings but he will need to consistently hit the lines to get the ball past Murray. Murray is one of the best returners in the game and his defense is on a par with Djokovic. Berdych is more  comfortable on the baseline  and I expect Murray to try to bring him to the net frequently. The Scot can sometimes over play the drop shot but I think it will be a big part of his strategy today.

This will be a close one. Murray has more experience in major semi’s with this  being his 7th in his last 8 Grand Slams. I think we will see a much higher price than Murray’s starting price of 1.50 and I will be waiting for over 1.90 before backing him. This will be 4 or 5 sets. Murray’s experience will bring him through.

Update: Awful weather conditions for the whole match. The wind was so strong at one stage that Murray’s bag and chair were blown onto the court ( he wasn’t sitting on the chair at the time).

Berdych took the opening set after Murray won an early break. The second and third sets were comfortable for the Scot and the 4th went to a  tie break. Berdych took a lead in that breaker but wasn’t able to hold on.

Murray won 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6.

 

Ferrer had a much tougher quarter final than Djokovic. He had to come back from 2 sets to 1 down against Tipsarevic. Even for someone as fit as Ferrer that will have sapped his energy but he has had a day’s rest. Ferrer’s serve has varied greatly this week. Against Gasquet he looked shaky on serve yet against Tipsarevic he served more aces than I have ever seen from him in a single match. He served a total of 15 aces.

Djokovic still hasn’t lost a set. He leads the head to heads 9-5. On hard courts he leads 8-0. In those 8 matches Ferrer didn’t win a set. Djokovic’s starting price of 1.09 reflects those hard court stats.

I won’t be laying Djokovic but will wait in the vain hope of a higher price on the Serb.

Update: You have to love a good storm. The wind continued as this match started and Djokovic didn’t cope well at all. He complained to the umpire but was told that Murray and Berdych had just played 4 sets in the same conditions. Ferrer adapted well and took the first 4 games. When the match was suspended due to the storm being too close and the stadium was to be evacuated Ferrer led 5-2.

They resumed on Sunday but now the wind was gone and Djookovic was happy again. Ferrer served out the set but in the seccond it was Djokovic who immediately broke. Ferrer put up a decent fight but Djokovic always looked in control.

Djokovic won 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

 

Serena Williams will play Azarenka in the Women’s Final.

Williams leads the head to heads 9-1. She has won their last 7 matches. In those 7 wins Azarenka won just 1 set. On hard courts Williams leads 5-1.

If Williams is on her game she is a level above anyone else. She hasn’t been tested in this tournament whereas Azarenka has had to fight in her last 2 matches. That is about the only thing  that I can come up with in Azarenka’s favour. Her wins have needed her to lift her game. Her best hope is that Serena is half asleep in the early stages of the match. If this happens Azarenka MUST take advantage. She needs to take the opening set.

Williams starts at 1.22 which I understand but I can’t back her at that price against the world number 1. Just like anyone she is capable of a slow start although as its a  Grand Slam final in her own country I will amazed if she isn’t 100% focused from the start. Even she can feel nerves though and I will be waiting to see if Azarenka gets an early break before backing Williams.

Update: What a match! The first set was all Williams. In the second set Azarenka won an early break. Williams appeared to “tune out” mentally and nothing was working for her. The match went into a third set and it was Azarenka who won an early break. Williams broke back but was broken again. Azarenka served for the match but was broken. The next time she served she was trying to take the match into a tie break but she was again broken.

Williams won 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

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