Murray reaches Australian Open final
Thursday 28 January 2010
Andy Murray moved just one win away from claiming his maiden grand slam title today after he recovered from a set behind to defeat Marin Cilic in the semi-final of the Australian Open.
The fifth seed dropped a set for the first time in the tournament but with his opponent tiring remained calm to win 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-2 under the lights at Rod Laver Arena.
Cilic had been taken to five sets in three of his five matches at the tournament and his 6ft 6ins frame simply could not keep pace with the spirit of the 22-year-old Scot who booked his place in just his second major final.
Murray's only other final appearance was at the 2008 US Open where he lost to Roger Federer and the world number one looms as a possible title rival again on Sunday night.
The Swiss will play 10th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the other semi-final tomorrow.
Murray had looked in trouble early as he dropped a set at the tournament for the first time as Cilic twice found a way to break him.
The Croatian was controlling the match with his booming forehand and Murray's frustration was showing as he repeatedly chastised himself for his lack of movement around the court.
The self admonishment worked as he grabbed a break in the fifth game of the second set that owed completely to his athleticism.
Murray first ran down a net cord and when Cilic then shovelled a lob over him he somehow made enough ground to allow him to flick a forehand past his stunned rival.
It was a pivotal momentum as Murray stole the initiative and did not hand it back.
He levelled the match at a set apiece with a forehand winner down the line and Cilic visibly started to tire.
Murray sensed it and broke in the third game to have his opponents on the ropes early in the third set, although Cilic produced a stunning forehand cross-court winner as he immediately levelled.
Cilic was, however, clearly starting to flag and relied more heavily on going for his shots to shorten the points.
Murray was content to run his opponent around and as Cilic's forehand grew weary he started to spray his groundstrokes.
It cost the Croatian a break in the seventh game and Murray underlined his better physical condition as he made ground to hook a cross-court forehand winner.
He then served out to win the set and two quick breaks in the fourth set had him on the verge of victory.
The Scot had one party piece left to deliver, however, as he swatted a forehand from metres outside the court that flew past the net post and into play.
The crowd rose as one to applaud and two points later they were on their feet again as Cilic hit a return long to hand the match to Murray.
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