(Updates after third set)
NEW YORK, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Serbia’s Novak Djokovic won the third set of the U.S. Open final 6-2 against Andy Murray to send the championship decider into a fourth set after the Briton won the first two 7-6 7-5 on Monday.
Djokovic, frustrated by high winds Saturday in his semi-final before the match was suspended until Sunday, struggled in Monday’s wind and was broken in the first game after four unforced errors and double-faulted to lose serve in the fifth.
Murray also lost his first serve after three unforced errors but looked to be dealing better with the blustery gusts until Djokovic began finding the range and moved the Briton around the court for a service break that levelled the match 4-4.
As both players began adapting to conditions, the set featured some spectacular rallies and went to a tiebreaker. Murray dominated but squandered five set points before Djokovic sent a service return long to end it 12-10 in Murray’s favour.
Both players registered 19 unforced errors in the pressure-packed, 87-minute opener played in difficult conditions.
Djokovic seemed to suffer a letdown after dropping the marathon tiebreaker and Murray pounced with breaks in the Serb’s first two service games to charge into a 4-0 lead.
The 25-year-old Australian Open champion got one service break back in the fifth game when Murray ran off a string of unforced errors.
Olympic champion Murray was serving for the set at 5-3 but another three unforced errors helped Djokovic break him to bring the set back on serve at 5-4.
Murray, however, broke Djokovic in the 12th game, taking advantage of a missed overhand by the Serb to claim the set on a forehand that sailed long and put the Scotsman in position to claim his maiden grand slam crown.
After falling behind early in the first two sets, Djokovic grabbed the early initiative in the third.
He broke Murray’s serve in the third game to lead 2-1 after the Scotsman double-faulted to give Djokovic two break points and he took the first with a return winner as the match clock ticked past three hours.
Murray had a couple of chances to break back but was unable to seize his opportunities and then fell behind 5-2 when he lost another service game as Djokovic pumped his fists and the crowd roared.
Djokovic served out the set, the quickest of the match so far, to keep the contest alive. (Reporting by Julian Linden and Larry Fine; Editing by Frank Pingue)