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US Open 2012 daily report: Murray recovers but Federer falls

Roger Federer in action at the 2012 US Open
by Alexandra Willis
Thursday 6 September 2012

The major stories from days 9 and 10 of the 2012 US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York...

Federer's night match reign curbed by Berdych
It was almost apocalyptic. Tomas Berdych, the sixth seed, achieved his third major upset over Roger Federer, after defeating the Swiss at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and at Wimbledon in 2010, beating the top seed and world No.1 in four sets, 7-6 (1), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to deny Federer a shot at a sixth US Open title. Federer had never lost a match under the lights on Arthur Ashe in 23 previous appearances, but Berdych, making his night match debut on Ashe, breezed through the first set tie-break 7-1, usually Federer's forte, and broke early in the second to clinch a two sets to love lead. The Swiss fought back, but Berdych, whose winners outranked his unforced errors by 30 to 21, broke at 4-3 in the third and served out without any problem. 

Federer's loss ends a run of 33 straight Grand Slam semi-finals featuring either the Swiss or Rafael Nadal.

"I just didn't come up with the goods tonight," Federer said, seeming particularly stunned. "It was unfortunate. When you end up losing at the end, you always hope that you made every chance you had. He probably created more than I did, and that's why he ended up winning tonight."

Murray produces epic comeback
Trailing by a set and 1-5 to Marin Cilic, there were many who thought it was curtains for Andy Murray, moved from Arthur Aseh to Louis Armstrong because of the rain-affected schedule. But the Olympic champion dug deep to win the second set on a tie-break, and roared through the next two sets to advance to his third US Open semi-final.  Murray frankly admitted that he started poorly against the man that beat him in the fourth round in New York in 2009, seeming listless and not moving with his usual aplomb. 

"It's a very tight court, very small," said Murray of Armstrong. "You know, Arthur Ashe is a massive stadium, but also the run back and the side of the court, it's huge, as well. Normally from one of the ends on Ashe, you know, there is a strong breeze. You know, on that court it swirls more. 

"It's a quicker court. The courts for sure are faster, and, when you switch from one court to the other, one is slower, one is quicker, it can take time to get into a rhythm. I have never played particularly well on that court."

But as the crowds, including Pippa Middleton, flocked from Ashe to Armstrong, Murray found his range, grew in confidence, and Cilic fell away. 

"It definitely got much, much louder and felt, you know, more like the quarterfinals of a (Grand) Slam," Murray said. "You know, that's not a reason to get off to a bad start, though. You know, you have to be able to create your own atmosphere when you're on the court. But I did play better when the crowd filled up."

"I was more aggressive on his second serve," Murray said. "I started serving better and then gained confidence in my shots from the baseline, because the first set, set-and-a-half I was leaving the ball short and wasn't timing it well."

"I didn't close on him the way I did three years ago," Cilic said. "At that time, I was able to sustain my game through the end of the match, playing really great tennis, taking the first set 7-5 and then surprising myself with 6-2, 6-2 to close it out. With guys like him at the top, you can't give him another chance."

As a result, Murray has assured himself his place at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 for the fourth year. 

Murray's next task is to take on Berdych on Super Saturday, whom he has a losing record against, for the chance to compete in his second US Open final, and fourth Grand Slam final. 

Serena storms into semis
There seems to be no stopping Serena Williams. So far. The Wimbledon and Olympic champion brushed aside Ana Ivanovic  6-1, 6-3 to reach her seventh US Open semi-final. Winning 26 of 29 of her first serve points, firing 12 aces and hitting 26 winners to 14 unforced errors, Williams admitted she is getting better and better. 

"I feel like I'm going to get more focused and serious and start playing Serena tennis in the next couple of rounds, if I get to play two rounds," Williams said. "That's my goal."

Ivanovic, who, when asked if she would be surprised if Serena didn't win the title, said simply "yes," was disappointed not to have made more of an inroad on the Williams game, but said the fourth seed was "hardly missing."

Serena will next play Sara Errani, who beat compatriot and doubles partner Roberta Vinci to reach her second Grand Slam semi-final, the first time Italy featured two women in a Grand Slam quarter-final.

“It was very difficult match, I think," said Errani. "Quarter-final with your best friend, of course, is difficult. We know each other very well. We played together many times. So was also strange to see her on the other side of the net. Normally also when you walk on the court, we go together, we speak. Today was a bit strange, but sometimes happens.”

Sharapova outlasts Bartoli
Trailing 0-4 overnight, Maria Sharapova was quite right to have cause for concern against Marion Bartoli, the enigmatic Frenchwoman. But the French Open champion battled back to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. 

"I think the rain delay gave me some time to think about things," Sharapova said. "I came out so flat yesterday, and she was playing so well. I just played a bad four games, but I knew the match wasn't over and had a chance to come back and turn things around."

The Russian will next play current world No.1 Victoria Azarenka in a battle of the decibels. Azarenka had managed to sneak in her three-set win over defending champ Sam Stosur before the heaviest showers put an end to much of the day's play on Tuesday. 

Farewell to Roddick
Andy Roddick finally bid his goodbyes to professional tennis on Arthur Ashe, as he had wanted to, unable to prevent a 7-6(1), 6-7(4), 2-6, 4-6 loss to 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro in the fourth round. Spread over two days, Roddick, the last American standing, sneaked the first set tie-break when play resumed on Wednesday, but the Argentine surged back.

"It was a really tough moment for me and for him, also," said Del Potro.  "Last point of his life.  The crowd was amazing for both players.  I really enjoyed it in that way, but it wasn't easy for me to play."

Broken at 2-2 in the fourth set, Roddick saved a match point on his own serve, but couldn't prevent Del Potro serving his way into the quarters. 

"Playing the last five games was pretty hard. Once I got down a break, I could barely look at my [players] box," said Roddick. "I don't know what the emotions are. I'm a little overwhelmed right now. I normally feel like I can grasp things pretty quickly and clearly.  I certainly don't feel that way right now."

Receiving a standing ovation he addressed the Arthur Ashe crowd before turning and waving for the last time, Roddick will be missed. 

“I'm not ignorant to the fact that it's a huge part of me and that I won't miss it; of course I will,” he said. “I'm not pretending like there aren't going to be hard days. But I feel pretty settled in the decision and I feel content and happy with it.”

Celebrity factor
As well as Pippa Middleton, US Olympic star Ryan Lochte and New York Knicks centre Tyson Chandler were on Arthur Ashe on Wednesday, as well as a host of teen beauty queens. 

Coming up on day 11

Arthur Ashe

Mixed Doubles - Finals
Kveta Peschke (CZE)[4] / Marcin Matkowski(POL)[4] vs. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) / Bruno Soares(BRA) 
Not Before:1:30 PM 
Men's Singles - Quarter-finals

Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)[8] vs David Ferrer (ESP)[4]

Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [7] vs Novak Djokovic (SRB) [2]

 
  
Louis Armstrong 
 
Women's Doubles - Semi-finals
Nuria Llagostera Vives (ESP)[8] / Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez(ESP)[8] vs Sara Errani (ITA)[2] / Roberta Vinci(ITA)[2] 
 Men's Doubles - Semi-finals
Marcel Granollers (ESP)[6] / Marc Lopez(ESP)[6] vs Leander Paes (IND)[5]  / Radek Stepanek(CZE)[5] 
 Men's Doubles - Semi-finals
Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (PAK)[9]  / Jean-Julien Rojer(NED)[9] vs Bob Bryan (USA)[2] / Mike Bryan(USA)[2] 
 Women's Doubles - Semi-finals
Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE)[16] / Anabel Medina Garrigues(ESP)[16] vs Andrea Hlavackova (CZE)[3] / Lucie Hradecka(CZE)[3]

Other notables
Britain's Kyle Edmund on Court 11, Josh Ward-Hibbert on Court 4, and Liam Broady on Court 13, and top girls' seed Taylor Townsend and top boys' seed Kimmer Coppejans on Court 17. 

For full scores, draws and results, and videos from Flushing Meadows, check out the US Open official website.


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20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...

20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."

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