Murray: Big respect for Berdych
New York - Andy Murray admits he has nothing but respect for Czech power-hitter Tomas Berdych, the man who stunned five-time champion Roger Federer at Flushing Meadows, ahead of their US Open semi-final clash.
Berdych's stunning victory over five-time champion Federer in the quarter-finals condemned the great Swiss to his worst defeat in New York since 2003.
The sixth seed will be making his semi-final debut on Saturday against the British third seed, who was runner-up to Federer in 2008, and will be buoyed by a winning record against the Scot that stands at 4-2.
"Berdych is a great player. Let's show him some respect, too," said Murray after his passage to the last four for the third time was followed almost exclusively about the potential dangers posed by Federer.
That was after Murray had seen off a choking Marin Cilic on Wednesday afternoon but before Berdych ended Federer's proud record of 21 successive wins in night sessions on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"He's a huge, huge hitter of the ball. Even if you want to dictate points and be aggressive, he can take that away from you because he's such a powerful guy," said Murray.
"You need to be smart against him. You need to use good variation and try not and give him the same ball over and over, because he likes that."
Berdych has only made one Grand Slam final in his career - at Wimbledon in 2010 where he lost to Rafael Nadal after beating Federer in the quarter-finals.
He has also won four of his last five matches against Murray, the most recent of which was on clay in Monte Carlo earlier this year.
Olympic champion Murray won on the hard courts of Dubai which ended a three-match losing streak to the Czech that included Paris last year, the 2010 French Open and in Adelaide in 2006.
Murray is still bidding to become Britain's first major winner since Fred Perry, who won in New York in 1936.
He suffered a tearful, heart-breaking loss to Federer in the Wimbledon championship match in July where he was his country's first finalist since Bunny Austin in 1938.
In order to help him make the final breakthrough, he hired Berdych's compatriot Ivan Lendl as his coach at the start of the year.
Lendl lost three finals in New York from 1982-1984 until clinching three titles in a row from 1985-1987.
"He's made a big difference. Going into Grand Slams, I've started to understand certain things better and how to go about my business not just on the court but off it," said Murray.
"Also how to conserve energy, to go into the matches with the right mindset and attitude. I think I have improved since I started working with him. I think I'm playing better tennis and understanding how best to play the big points in the important matches."
Berdych, meanwhile, has endured a roller-coaster season, suffering first-round losses in Wimbledon and the Olympics, a fourth-round exit at the French Open and a run to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.
But there were signs of a recovery leading into New York, where he was runner-up to John Isner at Winston-Salem.
His game has also thrived at Flushing Meadows, where he is second on the aces list with 71, only bettered by the 103 sent down by Canada's Milos Raonic, who was beaten in the fourth round by Murray.
Berdych has also only committed nine double faults in the tournament.
"If my game is well and I'm able to play my game, then I have a dangerous enough game to beat anyone," he said.