London: At least Britain can rely on Andy Murray. With post-Brexit turmoil engulfing the nation's political landscape, sterling plummeting and England's soccer team licking its wounds after a Euro 2016 humiliation, old faithful Murray provided some cheer by reaching a third Wimbledon final on Friday.
In tormenting Czech 10th seed Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-3 6-3 on Centre Court, world number two Murray booked an 11th grand slam final appearance, a new British record ahead of Fred Perry. He has contested the final of every grand slam this year and is on an 11-match winning streak on grass -- a run coinciding with his reunion with former coach Ivan Lendl. It will not be the dream final everyone hoped for though at the All England Club.
Not that Murray will care. Instead of world number one Novak Djokovic, sent packing on middle Saturday, or seven-times champion Roger Federer, standing in the way of a second Wimbledon title will be Milos Raonic.
The big-serving Canadian powerhouse beat Federer in five sets earlier on Friday to reach his first grand slam final and will pose a significant threat if his 140mph delivery is firing. "Obviously to make a Wimbledon final is a good achievement and I've got one more to go on Sunday," Murray said.
"The older you get, you never know how many chances you're going to get to play in a grand slam final. I'm glad I managed to get through today." Murray, apart from two sets against inspired Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals, has looked like a man totally in control of his own destiny since winning the Queen's Club title, against Raonic, in the build-up to Wimbledon.
Berdych is a former Wimbledon runner-up and has been resident in the world's top 10 since 2010. But his power game was clinically defused by Murray - so much so that the one hour 58 minute match was mostly played in a muted atmosphere compared to the edge-of-the-seat drama earlier when Wimbledon favourite Federer was bundled out by Raonic. Murray's only brief wobble came when Berdych pounded some seismic groundstrokes to break back in the third game, having gifted the Scot his own serve with a double-fault.
Berdych knew his only chance was to attack at every opportunity but that also led to the kind of errors that allowed Murray another break for a 5-3 lead before the 29-year-old calmly pocketed the first set.
The second seed brilliantly saved two break points at 2-3 in the second set as Berdych valiantly tried to make a match of it. From then on it was a one-sided procession as Murray broke Berdych twice in a row to move two sets clear. He repeated the trick early in the third as he closed in on a victory that was never really in doubt.