London - Andy Murray stormed into his third Wimbledon final as the
Scot crushed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 on Friday to set up a title showdown
with Milos Raonic.
Murray gave a majestic performance on Centre Court and
needed just under two hours to ensure his return to the All England Club final
three years after becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred
Perry in 1936.
The 29-year-old made just nine unforced errors, in contrast
to 30 by the befuddled Berdych, who was powerless to halt Murray's progress to
an 11th Grand Slam final appearance -- a milestone which took him ahead of
Perry as the British man with the most major finals on his CV.
"I'm very happy. To make the Wimbledon final is a good
achievement. I've got one more to go on Sunday," Murray said.
"The older you get you never know how many chances you
will get to play in a Grand Slam final.
"It helps to have experience to deal with the nerves.
You learn from those matches in the past against some of the best players of
With Canadian sixth seed Raonic in his first major final
after a shock win over Roger Federer, world number two Murray will be strongly
favoured to clinch his second Wimbledon crown and third Grand Slam title in
But Murray said: "Milos is playing some of the best
grass-court tennis of his career. I'm aware I'll have to play very well to
Murray will hope it is third time lucky this year after
losing the Australian and French Open title matches to Novak Djokovic.
Having faced Djokovic in seven major finals and Federer, who
beat the Scot in his first Wimbledon final in 2012, in the other three, Murray
finally gets to meet an opponent from outside the traditional superpowers.
Murray holds a 6-3 lead in his head to head with Raonic and
defeated the Canadian on grass three weeks ago in the Queen's Club final.
It is the first time the two Queen's finalists have gone on
to meet in the Wimbledon title match since Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker in
In his seventh Wimbledon semi-final and 20th in all Grand
Slams, Murray emerged to a barely half-full Centre Court as the crowd refuelled
following Raonic's dramatic five-set win over Federer.
Murray didn't let the lack of atmosphere distract him and he
landed the first blow in the second game after an ill-timed Berdych double
fault on break point.
After that blunder, Berdych almost fell over the net in his
eagerness to bury the smash that gave him a break back in the next game.
But Murray was unfazed by the Czech's aggression and broke
again in the eighth game as Berdych, who committed 13 unforced errors in the
first set to just one by Murray, paid the price for trying and failing to
bludgeon the Scot into submission.
Berdych looked rattled, blazing one overhead so wide it barely
bounced before ending in the stands.
When he drilled a forehand straight at the defenceless
Murray, it was easy to wonder if there was any lingering bad blood from their
stormy clash at the Australian Open 18 months ago when Murray's wife Kim
launched a profanity-laden tirade at the Czech.
Yet Murray had the upper hand to such an extent that even
his usually taciturn coach Ivan Lendl was moved to applaud when the Scot
cleverly manoeuvred the 10th seed into yet another vulnerable position to break
in the seventh game of the second set.
Murray's previous Wimbledon semi-final triumphs over
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Jerzy Janowicz had been frenetic affairs.
But, unfurling sublime lobs and drop shots with nonchalant
ease, this was a stroll in the early evening sunshine for Murray, who broke
early in the third set and finished the job with the air of a man on a mission.
Wimbledon results on Friday, the 11th day of the 2016 championships (x denotes seeded player):
Milos Raonic (CAN x6) bt Roger Federer (SUI x3) 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
Andy Murray (GBR x2) bt Tomas Berdych (CZE x10) 6-3, 6-3, 6-3