Murray off to a flyer as US Open champion beats Berdych in ATP Tour Finals opener
17:31 GMT, 5 November 2012
Andy Murray was victorious in his first match on home soil as a grand slam champion as he fought back from a set down to defeat Tomas Berdych at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
With Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also in his round-robin group at London's O2 Arena, defeat in his opening match would have left the US Open champion with an uphill task to qualify for the semi-finals.
And it did not look good for the Murray when he dropped the opening set but the current world number three finally took a break point at the 11th time of asking early in the second and from there he kept Berdych at arm's length to win 3-6 6-3 6-4.
Take that: Andy Murray fires a return back at Tomas Berdych in their opening clash at the ATP Tour Finals
Serving up a treat: Murray and Berdych battled it out over three sets at the O2 in London
Czech this out: Berdych sends a serve down to Murray
It was Murray's first match in the UK
since the heady days of summer when he banished his Centre Court demons
by winning Olympic gold.
He followed that, of course, by ending
his long wait for a grand slam title in New York and he was roared onto
court under the lights of the vast arena.
The opening singles clash of the
tournament was a repeat of the US Open semi-final, which Murray won in
extremely windy conditions, but he does not have a particularly good
record against big-hitting Berdych and was looking to square their
head-to-head at 4-4.
The home favourite, for that is
certainly what he is now, began with a statement of intent as he powered
away a backhand winner but the chance to break went begging, and it was
the same story in the fifth game.
Murray was then made to pay when
Berdych took his chance and the Czech saved his sixth and seventh break
points of the set to clinch it when his opponent went long.
Response: Murray fought back on home soil to dismiss Berdych
Murray played only one match at the
eight-man end-of-season tournament last year, losing to David Ferrer
before pulling out injured.
This year he sounded determined to put
on a good show for the home fans but Berdych had not read the script
and Murray was under pressure in the third game of the second set, which
would prove to be the turning point.
Three times he saved break point and
in the next game he finally made the breakthrough despite Berdych
clawing his way back from 0-40 for the second time in the match.
It was Murray's 11th break point, and
he made sure he did not waste his hard-won advantage, taking his first
set point when Berdych drilled a backhand wide.
More like it: Although Murray took a while to get going, he eventually got into his stride
Home faithful: Murray's mother, Judy, and girlfriend Kim Sears (right) showed their support for Andy in the O2 Arena
The sizeable crowd had been a little
subdued but they roared when the Scot brought up two more break points
in the third game of the decider, and again when Berdych put a forehand
Coach Ivan Lendl was back in Murray's
box for the first time since the US Open and he would have been pleased
with the way his charge had turned things around.
The 25-year-old has developed an
unwelcome habit since the US Open of losing matches in which he has held
match point, doing so in all three tournaments he has played following
his New York triumph.
And he betrayed a few nerves with a
double fault on his first chance here but on the second Berdych netted a
backhand, leaving Murray to roar with delight as the fans acclaimed
Almost: Murray peers over the net during the match