Ruthless Murray books Wimbledon final date with rising star Raonic

Cancel all plans for Sunday – Andy Murray is back in the Wimbledon final and this time he’s not playing with the weight of history on his shoulders, just the heavy burden of expectation.

Murray blitzed and bullied semi-final rival Tomas Berdych off court in brutal style to reach his third Wimbledon final.

As statement of intents go, this was an ominous warning that Murray is in no mood to lose his third Slam final of the year, after defeats at the Australian and French Open.

Tenth seed Berdych tried but was never in the match as Murray mixed aggression with defence and never let his Czech opponent, a one-time Wimbledon finalist, settle or gain his rhythm.

He ruthlessly capitalised on the 30 unforced errors made by his rival and played with perfect variation – sealing victory with his seventh ace of the match.

Murray had beaten Berdych in their last four encounters but this was, in truth, a pretty one-sided affair as he progressed 6-3, 6-3, 6-3.

And after a five-set tussle with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals, a quick match was much needed, especially as final opponent Milos Raonic was earlier taken the distance by seven-time champion Roger Federer.

“I’m pumped obviously,” said Murray. “I feel pretty calm just now, maybe because of the way the match went.  It wasn’t too stressful a match.  Maybe like the other night I was more relieved, you feel emotionally more drained after matches like that.

“Obviously to make a Wimbledon final is a good achievement and I’ve got one more to go on Sunday.  The older you get you never know how many chances you’re going to get to play in Grand Slam finals.

“These tournaments are why I’m still playing and why I’m training hard and trying to win these events.  That’s what really motivates me.

“They’re very hard competitions to win.  I’ve been in the latter stages a number of times, won some, obviously lost some tough ones, as well.

“But the older you get you’re more experienced and it helps you deal with the nerves better. You learn from those matches for sure, those experiences in the past have helped me a lot, playing against some of the best players of all time.”

Murray overtakes Fred Perry in reaching an 11th major final – a new British record – which also draws him level with legendary names like John McEnroe, Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg.

He is seeking his third career Slam title – after the 2012 US Open and Wimbledon three years ago – and it will be the first time he’s not faced either Federer or Novak Djokovic across the net.

Murray leads his head-to-head statistics against Raonic with six wins and three defeats and this is the big-serving Canadian’s first major final, while he has also lost his last five matches with the Scot.

Murray beat the number six seed at Queen’s just last month in their first ever meeting on grass – but it was no walkover as he lost the first set before winning the next two.

“Roger’s won here I think seven times, so anytime he loses, it’s somewhat of a surprise,” added Murray.

“But Milos has been playing really good tennis this year and also on the grass and Roger’s also coming off the back of a period where he hadn’t played too much, had a long five‑setter the other day.

“It’s the first time I’ll play a slam final against someone that isn’t Roger or Novak but you never know how anyone’s going to deal with the pressures of a slam final.

“Milos and I have played a few times this year, on all of the surfaces.  It helps to have played a match against him on the grass and to have seen some of the things he’s doing on this surface a little bit differently.”

Meanwhile, Heather Watson and mixed doubles partner Henri Kontinen are through to the semi-finals after beating Scott Lipsky and Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3, 6-2.


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