Andy Murray through to the Australian Open final
Leading upto the match, a lot of whispers had been going around about Berdych’s coach Dani Vallverdu and his relationship with Murray. Vallverdu had been Murray’s coach until the beginning of the 2015 season when he was let go and picked up by Tomas.
The Czech, with Vallverdu in his corner, got off to a blistering start holding his opening service game to love and pressurizing the Murray serve pushing him to deuce. Murray was eventually able to hold, but with quite some difficulty. Berdych was ripping winners from both wings and letting his serve do the talking. The Czech dropped just 2 points on serve in his opening 4 service games, while the Brit was having a difficult time of it with each of his first 3 service games going to deuce.
Berdych was finally able to break the Murray serve at 4-3 with a couple of pulverizing groundies, but then promptly surrendered his own serve while serving for the set with a couple of netted groundstrokes. Murray began to grow into the game, finding his rhythm and at 5-5 had a couple of break point opportunities which the Czech was able to stave off.
A tame backhand into the net gave Murray an early mini break which he surrendered immediately. A see-saw tie break ensued with neither player able to take advantage of their opponent’s nerves. At 6-5, Murray had his first set point, but a big serve and an exquisite volley from the Czech extinguished it quickly. Berdych then reeled of the next 2 points to take the tie break 8-6 and an important opening set which had been contested for 76 minutes. A frustrated Murray walked back to his chair furious, ruing his missed opportunities.
Murray was quick out of the box in the second set with a quick hold and before the Czech could respond, he was down a break. Murray was back in the match and he could sense his opportunity. Another quick hold and the Brit was 3-0 up in the blink of an eye. He had found a way to neutralize the Berdych serve and the Czech’s game was beginning to deteriorate. Berdych went on to hit just 1 winner in the second set and found himself at the wrong end of a 6-0 hiding. It was the first set Berdych had dropped all tournament.
Momentum was now firmly with the Brit and he had no intention of letting it go. Errors were creeping into the Berdych game, while Murray was constantly putting the ball in play making the Czech play that one extra shot. At 2-3, Berdych then surrendered a 40-0 lead on serve and Murray quickly took his opportunity squeezing out another break with a couple of forehand winners and and eventually the set 6-3.
Nearing the End
The 4th set began with Berdych finally regaining some rhythm on his strokes. Winners were starting to flow again and frustration was clearly visible as Murray sensed a comeback. The Czech was taking the ball early and at 3-2, he had his chance. But the Brit showed his grit and determination , saving 2 break points and letting out a roar as he levelled at 3-3.
Berdych was clearly beginning to tire and at 5-5 handed Murray another break with a string of unforced errors and a double fault. Murray with the opportunity to close out the match, did so with ease entering his 4th Australian Open final.