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Murray to play in final after overpowering Cilic in four sets

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-28

Andy Murray became the first Briton is 33 years to reach the Australian Open final Friday, after beating Croatia's Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in three hours and two minutes.

AFP - Andy Murray wore down tiring Croatian 14th seed Marin Cilic over four sets to become the first Briton to reach the Australian Open final in 33 years on Thursday.

The fifth seeded Scot, who had been on court eight hours less than Cilic for the tournament, won 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in three hours and two minutes.

Murray will now play either Swiss top seed Roger Federer or French 10th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Sunday's final.

Three-time Australian champion Federer plays the 2008 finalist Tsonga on Friday.

"It's really important to make the final," Murray said. "I mean, after last year I had a few tough losses in the Grand Slams.

"It's nice. It's what you work for. Obviously, I want to try and win one."

John Lloyd was the last Briton to play in an Australian final in 1977 while Fred Perry was the last British champion here in 1934.

Murray is bidding to become the first British male Grand Slam champion since Perry won the 1936 US Open. Virginia Wade was the last British women to win a Grand Slam, at Wimbledon in 1977.

"I'd obviously love to do it. It's not really the only reason that I want to win a slam," he said.

"I want to win it for the people that I work with, for my parents and those who helped me when I was growing up, then doing it for British tennis and British sport would be excellent, as well."

It is Murray's second Grand Slam final after he lost to Federer in the 2008 US Open decider.

The intense Scot also avenged his defeat to Cilic in the fourth round of last year's US Open in straight sets.

"Marin showed incredible guts after playing three five-set matches back to back before coming out here and he made it so tough for me," Murray said.

"He was clearly tired at the end, he's played so many matches this week."

The loss ended Cilic's unbeaten 10-match start to the new season, while Murray stands at 9-1.

Cilic refused to blame his 18 hours of court time in Melbourne for his loss, instead congratulating Murray.

"I wouldn't use my tiredness as an excuse for losing this match," he said.

"I think he deserved to win.

Murray dropped his first set of the tournament but gradually ground down the leg-weary Cilic to control the next three sets.

"There was a long way to go in the match. I've been a set down before in slams," Murray said. "Even in best of three set matches, you've got a lot more time to turn it around in best of five.

"You've got time to work things out, change your game plan a little bit. And I managed to do that."

The Scot came under pressure in the opening set with double breaks to drop his first set of the tournament.

But a major turning point came in the fifth game of the next set when he broke after a magnificent rally, where he ran down a drop shot, made an instinctive lunge volley and then scampered back to retrieve a lob for a magical winner.

Murray gave a full-throated long scream and was fired up for the remainder of the set.

He had break points on Cilic's serve in the seventh but was denied, and served out with three set points, winning it on his second with a forehand winner.

Cilic's first serve percentage was tailing off and Murray broke him twice in the third set, giving one back, as he moved to a two sets to one lead.

Murray pressed against the tiring Croat and broke in the third game of the fourth set when the fading Cilic double-faulted.

Murray brought up the first of two match points with a magnificent running forehand from well outside the court before claiming the match.

Date created : 2010-01-28