Murray wins, then all the air goes out of U.S. Open

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NEW YORK — Chairs went flying through the air and Andy Murray’s baseball cap blew right off his head.

And that was the good-weather portion of the U.S. Open on Saturday.

For the fifth consecutive year there will be a Monday men’s final at the final major of the year.

With severe weather all around the National Tennis Center, the men’s semifinal between second-seeded and defending champion Novak Djokovic and fourth-seeded David Ferrer was postponed until Sunday with Ferrer leading 5-2.

About 33 minutes into the match, fans in Arthur Ashe Stadium and the players were told that play was ending because severe storms were approaching.

Murray, trying to become the first British-born man since 1938 to win a Grand Slam tournament, overcame a 1-hour 15-minute rain delay, a reported tornado touching down in nearby Queens and winds gusting to 30 mph to advance to his second U.S. Open final, and his fifth final at a major.

The third-seeded Murray, who recently won an Olympic singles gold medal, beat sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7), in the first of the men’s semifinals at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

The Djokovic-Ferrer match was scheduled to resume at 11 a.m. EDT Sunday and to be followed, starting no earlier than 4:30 p.m., by the women’s final between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka. Williams and Azarenka were to have played Saturday night, but that championship match was postponed earlier in the day when evening weather forecasts were not promising.

Even in the match that was completed, players dealt with severe conditions.

“I’m looking the other way and chairs are flying onto the court,” Murray said. “It’s probably the toughest I have played in. I played Rafa (Rafael Nadal) in the final of Indian Wells once (2009) and that also was not much fun.”

David Brewer, director of the U.S. Open, said that consideration had been given to moving one of the men’s singles semifinals to another court, but that ultimately it was believed that by starting play at 11 a.m. EDT Saturday instead of noon, it would allow both semifinals to be finished.

The first set of the Murray-Berdych match was played at a pace best suited to a tortoise. Murray’s baseball cap flew off his head during a point and winds gusting past 30 mph made drop shots into lobs and vice versa, turned straight serves into knuckleballs and left the crowd applauding when large pieces of cellophane landed on the court.

Berdych, though unfamiliar with the circumstance of playing on the world’s biggest court in a U.S. Open semifinal as well as dealing with the weather, sneaked away with the first set.

But it was Murray who made peace with the wind first.

Berdych began having trouble with his service toss. “I have a higher toss,” he said. “Then, when I’m not able to serve, to go for the first serve and not making some points, that’s not my game.”

The 26-year-old from the Czech Republic, who was aiming for his first U.S. Open final, thought it was wrong to play Saturday.

“Our sport deserved to have some rule on conditions like this,” he said. “This is just about somehow trying to deal with the conditions and trying to put the ball over the net. Sometimes that was even impossible.”

Sunday’s Djokovic-Ferrer match will be televised by ESPN2, and the women’s final will be on CBS. Monday’s men’s final was scheduled for 4 p.m. EDT and will be televised by CBS.

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