By Duncan Mackay
September 8 - Andy Murray (pictured) failed to become the first British man for 72 years to win a Grand Slam title as Switzerland's Roger Federer beat him easily in the final of the US Open in New York tonight.
Federer won his 13th Grand Slam crown and fifth consecutive US Open title, defeating the sixth seed 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 to move one title shy of the all-time record.
Federer's 56th career crown moved him into sole possession of second place on the all-time Grand Slam title list, one more than Australia's Roy Emerson and one below the career record 14 won by America's Pete Sampras.
Murray, playing in his first Grand Slam final, had won two of three prior matches with Federer but was outclassed to bring a disappointing end to a run that will see him rise to fourth in the rankings, matching the best-ever British mark.
The 21-year-old Scot said: "I had a great tournament.
"I came up against, in my opinion, the greatest player to ever play the game.
"I got the best of him the last two times we played.
"He definitely set the record straight."
Asked what he had learned, Murray replied, "I've got a lot of improving to do if I want to win one of these."
Federer, 27, thrilled a sellout crowd of 23,763 at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the first US Open final since 1987 re-scheduled for Monday by bad weather.
It was the first Monday men's Slam final since Goran Ivanisevic won at Wimbledon in 2001.
Federer became the first man to win five Slams in a row at two different events, having also completed the feat last year at Wimbledon.
No-one had won five US titles in a row since Bill Tilden in 1924.
Murray joined a list of victims for Federer in US Open finals that also includes Australian Lleyton Hewitt in 2004, Americans Andre Agassi in 2005 and Andy Roddick in 2006 and Serbian Novak Djokovic last year.
Murray would have the first British man to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry captured the 1936 US Open and the first Briton of either sex to win a Slam singles title since Virginia Wade won at Wimbledon in 1977.
Murray's loss was the fifth for a British man in a Slam final since Perry's triumph, including Greg Rusedski at the 1997 US Open, John Lloyd at the 1977 Australian Open and Bunny Austin at the 1937 French Open and 1938 Wimbledon.
Murray netted a backhand to give Federer a break chance in the sixth game, then sent a forehand wide to fall behind 4-2.
Federer held and broke again to finish the first set in 27 minutes when Murray sent a backhand wide.
Federer swatted a forehand cross-court winner to break Murray again in the second game of the second set for a 2-0 lead, but Murray broke back at love, held to 2-2 and went up 0-40 on Federer's serve in the fifth game.
On the next three critical points, Federer summoned his Swiss precision and denied Murray, twice on forehand winners and the last on his third overhead smash of the key point, on the way to holding serve.
The turning point came in the final game of the second set with Murray serving to try and force a tie-breaker.
Federer hit a backhand volley winner and an overhead smash to reach 0-40 and broke for the set on a forehand winner.
That seemed to take the spirit from Murray as Federer broke at love in the second and fourth games of the third set.
Federer served for the match up 5-1 and was two points from the title, but Murray smacked a forehand winner and stole back a break when Federer netted a backhand.
Murray double faulted in the eighth game to give Federer his first championship point but saved it with a backhand volley winner.
Federer claimed another title chance with a forehand winner and won the final point after three overhand smashes, the last of which the desperate Briton sent into the net to end matters after one hour and 51 minutes.
Federer fell to his knees and then rolled onto his back, overcome with the moment as he screamed his joy before rising and raising his hands in a victory salute to the crowd.
Murray, who had ousted world number Rafal Nadal in the semi-finals, took home $750,000 (£426,000) in runner-up money plus a $250,000 (£142,000) bonus from organisers for his results in US Open warm-up events.
Murray would have been the first man to beat the world's two top-ranked men in the same Grand Slam event since Sergi Bruguera at the 1993 French Open.
Federer now has his sights set on history.
He said: "One thing is for sure.
"I'm not going to stop at 13.
"That would be terrible."
After losing this year's Wimbledon and French Open finals and his number one ranking to Spain's Nadal, Federer's aura of invincibility had dimmed but his victory tonight served notice he still remains a force in the sport.
Federer stretched his US Open match win streak to 34, his last loss at Flushing Meadows coming to David Nalbandian in the fourth round of 2003, and took home the top prize of $1.5 million (£852,000).
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