Andy Murray vs. Tomas Berdych: Murray Set to Emerge in Pursuit of 1st Slam Title

Ethan Grant@DowntownEGAnalyst ISeptember 8, 2012

Andy Murray
Andy MurrayClive Brunskill/Getty Images

Andy Murray is in the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the 11th time in his career, and he has yet to bring home the elusive title that he seeks. That will change in this year's U.S. Open, when he continues his pursuit of a first career Slam against Tomas Berdych.

It might be the 11th time Murray has cracked the top four at a major tournament, but this is the first time he'll have Olympic gold strapped to his belt coming into the match. The 25-year-old has been a different player than the one we are used to seeing, and it all starts with his mental fortitude.

After losing the first set 3-6 and falling behind 1-5 in the second against Marin Cilic, Murray stormed back to force a tiebrake, which he would eventually win. He then dominated the next two sets 6-2 and 6-0.

That kind of performance mirrors his work at the Olympics, when he knocked off Federer and Novak Djokovic in consecutive matches to win the gold medal for the host nation. He's been equally impressive at times during this tournament, especially in his quarterfinal victory over Cilic.

Of course, it helps that out of the three men ranked ahead of him on the world circuit, Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, only the Djoker remains.

But it won't be an easy path to the finals, either. Standing in his way are two opponents that have regularly bested him, Tomas Berdych and potentially Djokovic in the final match.

Berdych is no slouch. He holds a 4-2 head-to-head record against Murray and is coming off one of the greatest matches of his career, a quarterfinal victory over Roger Federer.

Djokovic has to take care of his semifinal match, but he will also have some added incentive to knock off Murray this year after being unable to beat him at the Olympics and taking home the silver.

For Murray, it's all about confidence and minimizing bad sets. He's got the talent and the streak going to win the U.S. Open, and he's going to get it done for the first time in his career after these next two matches are completed.

The year of the Murray continues, folks. Great Britain rejoices, and Murray puts aside the "almost" label when he holds up the trophy as champion.