Andy Murray's dream of reaching the Wimbledon final was crushed by Andy Roddick in a dramatic semi-final.
Murray's final hopes crushed by Roddick
Andy Murray's dream of reaching the Wimbledon final was crushed by Andy Roddick in a dramatic semi-final. The British number one went into the match as a hot favourite to beat the sixth seed, who he had defeated in six of their eight previous meetings, but Roddick produced a brilliant performance to triumph 6-4 4-6 7-6 (9/7) 7-6 (7/5). Murray was punished for being too passive in the opening set and, although he bounced back in the second, Roddick's bullet serving and consistent all-round game earned him a third Wimbledon final appearance against Roger Federer. Murray said: "You always expect your opponents to play well at this stage of the tournament. "I had a few chances in the first tie-break and chances early in the third set and I didn't take them. "I thought I played well. "He served really, really well. "Hitting at that pace at such a high percentage, sometimes there's not a whole lot you can do." Roddick, 26, said: "I had to play my best tennis to win today. Not many people were giving me much of a chance. "Throughout my career I've had a lot of shortcomings but trying hard isn't one of them. He had all the pressure on him. It's just a dream." Roddick began in typical fashion with two aces in the opening game. And the American immediately took Murray, who was bidding to become the first British male singles finalist since Bunny Austin in 1938, to deuce - only to see two aces flying past him. The Scot unsurprisingly looked a little nervous, and Roddick showed his phenomenal serve was working well by sending down the fastest delivery of the tournament at 143mph. Murray was struggling to find his first serve rhythm but his prowess off the ground kept him out of trouble as he made it 3-3 with a classy volley. The 22-year-old was making more errors than usual, perhaps feeling the occasion, and he found himself set point down serving at 5-4 behind thanks to a lovely Roddick drop shot. And the sixth seed took advantage of his first chance with a cross-court forehand that forced Murray to net. The British number one took a comfort break and came back with a newly-aggressive attitude, two forehand passes and a winner down the line giving him three break points, and he took the first one when Roddick netted a forehand. The crowd were suddenly engaged and three consecutive aces helped Murray to consolidate the break. The third seed's first-serve percentage in the opening set was less than 50% but suddenly the aces were flying off his racquet as he easily kept his opponent at bay. A nervy service game at 4-3, in which the Scot was taken to deuce, hinted at a chance for Roddick but Murray held firm. And serving for the set he was rock solid, although the first serve again let him down, as he levelled the match. The third set began in identical fashion to the second as Murray, with the help of a lucky net cord, moved to 0-40 on the Roddick serve. But this time the American came up with the goods, a superb lunging volley at 30-40 denying his opponent a second break of serve. Murray's first-serve percentage had again dropped below 50% and he paid the price in a dramatic fourth game. He saved three break points but a fourth proved too much and Roddick seized the advantage. The Scot was clearly frustrated and he was warned for an audible obscenity, something he disputed strongly with the umpire. Murray was not finished though, and when Roddick served for the set at 5-3 he pounced, winning the first three points and then taking his second break point. An ace saw Murray level at 5-5 and two games later came the first tie-break. The pair traded mini-breaks early on but two aces from the third seed took him to set point. Roddick saved that one, as did Murray on his own serve, but a wayward forehand gave the American a chance on his serve and he took an epic set 9-7 when the Scot netted. Murray did not let the disappointment affect him at the start of the fourth set and he created a break point in the eighth game when Roddick volleyed long, but the American saved it in immaculate fashion. The sixth seed was still serving at 75% of first serves in and he held firm to set up a second tie-break. There were signs of fatigue in the Murray game, and a weak forehand gave Roddick the first mini-break. The British number one hung in there with a backhand pass onto the side-line but a backhand that missed by a fraction set up a first match point for Roddick on his serve. Murray spectacularly saved that with another backhand pass but he could not save a second on his own serve and a backhand into the net left Roddick celebrating a hugely impressive victory. The American said of his opponent: "He's been a much better player than I have over the last year but I was a little bit better today."