| Andy Murray after beating David Ferrer in the Australian Open semi-finals, on Friday. (Reuters) |
Melbourne: Andy Murray will get another chance to end a near 75-year winless streak for British men in Grand Slam singles tournaments after beating Spains David Ferrer 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1, 7-6 (2) on Friday to reach the Australian Open final.
The semi-final win put Murray into Sundays final against Novak Djokovic of Serbia, the 2008 champion who holds a 4-3 edge in head-to-head matches. Murray, however, has won the last three.
No British male has won a Grand Slam singles title since Fred Perry in 1936 — more than 270 Grand Slam tournaments ago. The drought endured through British hopes including Tim Henman and most recently by Murray in last years straight-set loss to Roger Federer at Melbourne Park.
Federer is gone from this tournament, beaten by Djokovic in the semi-finals. Top-ranked Rafael Nadal, who was trying to win his fourth straight Grand Slam tournament, is gone too. He was hobbled by a thigh injury in his quarter final loss to Ferrer.
Friday nights semi-final was filled with long rallies and plenty of booming forehands that just cleared the net. Murray mixed it up enough at times that his looping lob on break point at 4-1 in the third set went high over seventh-seeded Ferrers head, allowing the Spaniard to only watch as the ball bounced meters inside the line.
The Murray match was so popular Friday in Britain — late morning and early afternoon there — that it crashed the BBCs website servers live footage.
I think towards the end of the second set I started going for my shots more ... I was missing a lot earlier, Murray said. I changed my string tension and managed to come through.
Ferrer rued his missed opportunities, but said he couldnt have done any more. I had my chance in the set point in the second set, but in the important moments he served really well, Ferrer said. In the tiebreak, maybe he start better than me.
Murray says he and Djokovic are good friends and often train together. I think experience-wise we are similar, Murray said. There wont be any secrets with our games but its going to be a brutal match.
Earlier on Friday, the top-ranked team of Gisela Dulko of Argentina and Italian Flavia Pennetta rallied from a set and 4-1 down to beat Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 for the womens doubles title.
It was the first Grand Slam title for the Dulko-Pennetta combination, who made it to the quarterfinals at all the Grand Slams last year and the Wimbledon semi-finals.
We were like in shock ... a set and 4-1 down, Dulko said. In the changeover, we were like looking each other and saying, Cmon, we play less than an hour. We cannot finish the match playing less than an hour in the final, she added.
We just tried to go for it, didnt try to wait for them, tried to play more aggressive. Because I think until this moment we couldnt find a good way to play, to win the match. So we just keep fighting and trying.
Last year was a great year, this year we are starting really good, Pennetta said.
Azarenka and Kirilenko were playing their first Grand Slam tournament together.
In mixed doubles Friday, Chan Yung-jan of Taiwan and Paul Hanley of Australia advanced to Sundays mixed doubles final with a 2-6, 6-3, 11-9 (match tiebreak) win over American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Horia Tecau of Romania.
Day XII Results
Men’s singles semi-finals: Andy Murray (5, GBR) bt David
Ferrer (7, Esp) 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1, 7-6 (2); Women’s doubles final: Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta (1 Arg/Ita) bt Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko (12 Bel/Rus) 2-6, 7-5, 6-1; Mixed doubles semi-finals: Katarina Srebotnik and Daniel Nestor (2, Slo/Can) bt Maria Kirilenko and Nenad Zimonjic (3 Rus/Ser) 6-4, 7-5; Chan Yung-jan and Paul Hanley (Tai/Aus) bt Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Horia Tecau (US/Rom) 2-6, 6-3, 11-9 tiebreak