Murray sets up Djokovic showdown in Melbourne
Issued on: Modified:
Britain's Andy Murray (left) battled past David Ferrer of Spain in four gruelling sets on Friday to reach his second consecutive final at the Australian Open, where he will meet Roger Federer's conqueror Novak Djokovic (right) of Serbia.
AFP - Andy Murray recovered from a set down against David Ferrer Friday to set up an Australian Open final against Novak Djokovic, where he will aim to break Britain's 75-year men's Grand Slam drought.
After a slow start, Murray won 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-1, 7-6 (7/2) to advance to his second straight Australian final, as he aims to go one better than last year's straight sets loss to Roger Federer.
Sunday's title match will be the British fifth seed's third Grand Slam final overall as he seeks to breakthrough for his first major trophy.
He is bidding to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry in 1936. Perry was also the last British player to win the Australian Open, in 1934.
Last year Murray was the first British man since John Lloyd in 1977 to play in an Australian Open final.
"He's an unbelievable athlete, he's an unbelievable competitor, he works so hard, he's in great shape and I was expecting an unbelievably tough match and I got it," Murray said of Ferrer.
"It was great that I managed to come through but he's such a tough player to play against.
"The conditions are very different in the evening than during the day and I played my last two matches during the day.
"He was dictating all the points at the start and in the second set I started to go for my shots a bit more and it paid off."
Murray extended his current winning streak to nine matches and dropped only his second set of the tournament against the tenacious Ferrer.
Ferrer was playing in his second Grand Slam semi-final after taking advantage of an injured Rafael Nadal to win their quarter-final in straight sets.
Ferrer made Murray work for every point and kept him on court for 3hr 46min, leaving the Scot headed straight for an ice bath as he seeks to recover for Sunday's final.
The Spaniard's extraordinary fitness levels gave him the edge in a physical first set full of long, lung-busting rallies.
Ferrer was broken in the seventh game but broke straight back and broke the Scot again to take the opening set in 46 draining minutes.
Murray had a set point in the 10th game of the second set but Ferrer doggedly held him off and both exchanged breaks before the set went into a tiebreaker.
Ferrer played a dreadful tiebreak with three volley errors for Murray to level the match on the third of his six set points.
Murray made a strategic mid-match adjustment by better positioning himself on court and taking a more aggressive approach.
Ferrer fought off five break points in the seventh game before Murray went ahead for the first time in the match on his third set point.
There was a fitness concern when Murray clutched his left quad during the fourth set, but he again prevailed in another tiebreak, getting to five match points and clinching it on the third.