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
Life and Style
Baroness Lane-Fox warned that large companies such as have become so powerful that governments and regulators are left behind
techTech giants have left governments and regulators behind
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
'Prison Architect' players decide the fate of inmates
tech
Life and Style
A picture taken on February 11, 2014 at people walking at sunrise on the Trocadero Esplanade, also known as the Parvis des droits de l'homme (Parvis of Human Rights), in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
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.

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor