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Murray Beats Federer To Set Up Djokovic Final Clash

Melbourne, Australia

Murray© Getty ImagesAndy Murray will play Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final on Sunday.

Andy Murray advanced to his sixth Grand Slam final after he beat Roger Federer in a pulsating five-setter on Friday and will next hope it will be third time lucky in an Australian Open final when he meets three-time titlist Novak Djokovic. He has a 7-10 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Djokovic.

Murray advanced to his sixth Grand Slam final after he defeated second seed Roger Federer, the four-time former champion, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2 on Friday night at Melbourne Park.

“It was a tough match,” said Murray. “There was a lot of ups and downs. So it was good to come back after the way I lost the fourth set. I thought I did a good job tonight… I am just happy with the way I responded after [losing] both those sets."

The 25-year-old Murray is bidding to become the only first-time Grand Slam winner to immediately claim a second major at the next opportunity. In September last year, the Scot captured the US Open title (d. Djokovic). “I hope on Sunday I can play a good match," said Murray. "Obviously, having won against Novak before in a [Grand] Slam final will help mentally. [But] he's playing extremely well.”

Federer had won all three previous Grand Slam championship meetings against Murray. The 31 year old has now won one title (2012 Wimbledon) in the past 11 majors.

Federer: He Beat Me Fair & Square

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Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit the official tournament website
FedererFederer, contesting his 10th straight semi-final in Melbourne, came under pressure in the first game and saved one break point with a drive volley forehand at 30/40. Federer continued to miss his first serves in the third game and paid the price, as Murray converted his fifth break point opportunity with a crosscourt forehand that Federer could not scramble back. A lapse in concentration saw Murray lose four straight points from 40/0 at 2-1, but he kept his nerve to hit five aces and 16 winners in the 45-minute opener.

Chances were few and far between in the second set, which was decided on a tie-break. Federer latched onto Murray’s tendancy to hit short forehands and won four straight points from 1-1 to take a 4-1 lead in the tie-break. But Murray worked his way back. At 5-5, Murray mis-timed a jump smash – a la Pete Sampras – leaving Federer a backhand, which he struck crosscourt for his first set point. The momentum shifted in 60 seconds, as Federer won the set 7-6(5) to level the scoreline at one-set all. Both players had won 40 points, with Federer hitting 13 winners and committing 12 unforced errors.

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MurrayWith a smile on his face, Murray looked to his coach, Ivan Lendl, and his team early in the third set after Federer saved one break point with an ace and displayed outstanding defence from well behind the baseline. Did Murray sense the tide was turning in Federer’s favour? In the sixth game, two close line calls that went Murray’s way irked Federer, who fell to 0/40. Cutting out forehand errors, Murray gained a 4-2 lead and backed up the break with a service hold to love. Federer hung in and forced Murray to close out the set, but the Swiss could not prevent the 2010 and 2011 runner-up from capturing the 36-minute set. By cutting down on his errors, Murray gained control.

Federer seized on a momentary concentration lapse by Murray in the fourth game. Despite hitting two big serves to save two break points, Murray handed Federer the advantage. It galvanised Federer, who confirmed the break for a 4-1 lead. But the match shifted again when Federer served at 4-2. Federer excuted one poor point when he approached the net on Murray’s forehand. It left Federer exposed.

The tactical error gave Murray one break point opportunity, which the Scot took with a forehand approach winner. In a tense eighth game, both players were evidently frustrated. Federer squandered a break point by missing a mid-court forehand, then Murray’s temporarily went off the boil after a HawkEye challenge on game point. But Murray sealed his third straight game, to level at 4-4. Federer fell to 0/30 at 4-4, but clawed his way out of danger. Two games later, it was a different story at 0/40 when brutal hitting by Murray left Federer powerless. At 6-5, Murray came within two points of winning the match, but a brilliant Federer return on a break point at 30/40 saw Murray snatch at a forehand crosscourt stroke. Federer went on to improve to 6-0 in tie-breaks at this year's championships, after he clinched the 71-minute set, to ensure another fifth-set decider.

Murray, FedererHeavy hitting from Murray gave him a 3-0 lead after 12 minutes of play in the fifth set. Federer, who had framed a backhand at 30/40 in the second game, was not allowed to get a foothold in the set. Murray’s ace count continued to rise and his ability to strike groundstroke winners from the baseline extinguished any chance Federer had of reaching his 25th Grand Slam championship final. Murray completed his 105th major win – the same number as Fred Perry – on his second match point opportunity, when Federer over-hit a forehand. He also improved to 10-0 on the year, which includes a title run at the Brisbane International.

Federer dropped to 252-37 lifetime at the major championships. In beating Bernard Tomic in the third round, he recorded his 250th major match win. Federer is now 21-17 overall in fifth sets.

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