Australian Open 2014: Andy Murray unable to stop Roger Federer who marches on to semi-final meeting with Rafael Nadal

The Swiss rolled back the years to produce an incredible display in his quarter-final against the British number one

Melbourne Park

One semi-final streak had to end and it was Andy Murray rather than Roger Federer who left Rod Laver Arena in disappointment here today. The 26-year-old Scot was aiming to stretch his record to five consecutive appearances in the last four of the Australian Open but instead it was Federer who extended his own remarkable sequence by winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3. Federer will play his 11th successive Melbourne semi-final here on Friday when he takes on his old rival, Rafael Nadal.

Murray never knew quite what to expect from his first Grand Slam tournament following back surgery last September. Considering that he arrived here having played only two competitive matches in the last four months, he should not be too dissatisfied with a run that ended only after he had pushed Federer hard. By the end of a match that lasted three hours and 20 minutes, it was perhaps no surprise that the effort appeared to be taking a toll on the Scot.

Federer, having recovered from his own back problems, has looked in excellent shape over the last 10 days. Recruiting Stefan Edberg to his coaching entourage appears to have put a spring back in the former world No 1’s step, while a new racket has helped him to strike the ball with all his old confidence.

Murray, one of the best returners in the game, forced only two break points, of which he converted one. Federer created 17 break points, taking four of them. While Murray has enjoyed playing without the back pain he suffered regularly before undergoing surgery, he is still to find the consistency that has so often been his trademark. On several occasions here, especially in the first two sets, he more than held his own in rallies only to lose the point with one loose shot.

 

Federer took the first set in just 31 minutes after making the only break in the fourth game when Murray hit a careless forehand beyond the baseline. In the second set the Scot paid for a single break of serve in the fifth game. From 30-30 he netted a loose forehand and then put the ball wide when going for a big winner.

It had taken Murray time to warm up but as the third set progressed the Scot began to play with increasing confidence. At 4-4, nevertheless, Federer broke for the third time. There was a moment of controversy when the Swiss struck a winning lob at 15-15 when the ball appeared to bounce twice before he hit it and he won the next two points as Murray hit a backhand long and then netted a forehand.

 

Fans of Roger Federer watch on during his quarter-final with Andy Murray Fans of Roger Federer watch on during his quarter-final with Andy Murray  

However, adversity often brings the best out of Murray and when Federer served for the match in the following game he was broken, the Scot converting his second break point after some bold hitting.

In the tie-break Federer went 6-4 up to create two match points, but Murray’s response was superb. Bristling with controlled aggression, he saved both by outrallying Federer with a succession of big shots.

The next two points were equally impressive. Murray created a set point with a thumping forehand winner and converted it by forcing Federer into an error with the potency of his return of serve.

Now it was game on. With both men in excellent form there were some thrilling rallies, especially in the second game of the fourth set, which lasted nearly 20 minutes, Federer failing to take six break points as Murray hung on gamely. Murray saved another break point at 2-3, this time with a volley, but at 3-4 Federer made the final break of the match and served out for victory with an ace.

Andy Murray shows his frustration in the quarter-final against Roger Federer Andy Murray shows his frustration in the quarter-final against Roger Federer

Murray has been on the road for nearly two months and his round-the-world trip will not end here. His next appearance will be in San Diego next week as Britain take on the United States in their first Davis Cup World Group tie for six years.

Relates stories...
Nadal through to semi-finals
Azarenka becomes latest big name player to crash out in Melbourne
Cibulkova continues Melbourne run to reach last four
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence