Andy Murray is two victories away from the biggest win of his life at the 2012 US Open.
He didn’t get to this point without struggling in this tournament, though, and no more than the quarterfinal match again 12th seed Marin Cilic on Thursday.
Murray lost the first set early, 3-6, and needed four sets to beat Cilic in all. Not the way to ensure confidence when Murray has the tastiest US Open draw in recent memory.
Even though the 25-year-old has the “fifth-major,” an Olympic gold medal, as a career accomplishment, he just cannot catch a break. He has been measured by his Grand Slam count ever since he started cracking the top 10 in 2007.
Zero major titles, for those counting.
He’s been to a Grand Slam final four times and reached the semifinals in all four tournaments. His career singles record? A solid 75% win percentage.
But all of those numbers are null and void without a win on the big stage.
That elusive major may not change him as a person, but it will define Murray’s legacy as long as he is unable to climb the mountaintop.
To do it, two of his archenemies potentially stand in his way: Thomas Berdych and potentially Novak Djokovic.
Berdych is the latest Federer-slayer and his confidence is sky-high, to say the least. Murray will have to pull together an Olympic-esque performance to make the final.
Djokovic, on the other hand cannot have a say in Murray’s fate until a potential finals matchup. Whether that comes along or not, Novak has the odds on his side of the net.
He already has a finals win over Murray in the 2011 Australian Open, not to mention an 8-6 match record against the the Brit.
Two giant matches ahead and shoddy performances like the quarterfinals will not suffice. Murray can exorcise demons and validate a career, in six sets.