Murray battles through to Aussie Open final
Originally published on: 28/01/11 12:39
Andy Murray battled through an energy-sapping semi-final with David Ferrer to move to within one match of claiming his maiden Grand slam title at the Australian Open.
The Scot was run to all corners by David Ferrer before he eventually triumphed 4-6 7-6(2) 6-1 7-6(2) in three hours and 46 minutes.
“He’s an unbelievable athlete, an unbelievable competitor,” said Murray of the Spaniard in his post-match interview with Jim Courier. “I was expecting an unbelievably tough match and I got it.”
It was a slow start from Murray, who found himself bossed on the baseline for much of the first two sets as Ferrer attacked, while the Scot appeared reluctant to step inside the baseline and dictate himself.
If Thursday night’s Djokovic v Federer semi-final was high in intensity, this one was fraught with nerves. Rallies were long, killer instinct rare and emotions undulating, and it was Ferrer who prevailed early on, taking the opening set 6-4 before taking the second down to the wire by forcing a tiebreak.
But it was Murray who took the initiative at that point, adding firepower to his groundstrokes and finding the angles with more conviction than before. He raced through the tiebreak for the loss of just two points and took that momentum through to third set, overcoming stern Ferrer resistance to hold, before grabbing an early break in the set. Ferrer showed the first signs of weariness as Murray held again before running away with the set 6-1.
Just when you thought the match was in Murray’s hands as he managed another early break in the fourth, Ferrer found a second wind, hitting back to take the Scot to a breaker. But ramping up the aggression, Murray began to control the court again, moving into a 6-1 lead to bring up his first match point. He netted the first, but claimed the 65-minute long fourth set – and the match – on the second after drawing Ferrer to the net with a drop shot, which the Spaniard retrieved, before Murray lunged to his left to put away the match-winning volley.
“Both of us did a lot of running tonight, it was a pretty physical match,” reflected Murray, who’ll hope to have recovered by Sunday night for his third date with destiny – against 2008 champ Novak Djokovic, adding: “I’m going to go and jump in the ice bath tonight.”