Murray no match for Federer

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 22 Januari 2014 | 20.01

Roger Federer angles for a big backhand return. Picture; AP Source: AP

ROGER Federer's career resurrection took another defining step last night when outlasted Andy Murray to book a place in his 11th consecutive Australian Open semi-final.

Written off by many coming into the tournament the 32-year-old continues to snub his nose at the doubters and he was at times sublime against the No.4 seed, prevailing 6-3 6-4 6-7 (6) 6-3 after 3hr 20min on Rod Laver Arena.

The Federer revival will face an even tougher test next against long-time rival and the world's best player Rafael Nadal.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said about the blockbuster semi-final. 'It will be a good match, it will be tough, brutal and all those things.

"We have had some epics over the years. He has made an amazing comeback last year after seven months being out with injury and it's great to see him back."

Federer, who was troubled by a back injury last year, admitted his confidence had finally returned.


"I am much higher (confidence wise) than last year and that is very satisfying to have confidence in my movement," he said.

"It really has become a game of movement out there and last year it just wasn't quite right. You can play but it's just not quite the same and it's just not enough against the big players.

"But I kept playing, kept doing the work and I'm happy the past four months have paid off."

Murray said he was proud of how he hung tough in the match given his limited match play in the lead-up following back surgery in September.

"I was proud of the way I fought," he said. "In the first two sets I thought he played great tennis.

"When he was serving for the match I felt like I raised my level because I had to basically, and obviously prolonged the match a bit further.

"I was OK (physically) but obviously that's the highest level I've played at in a long time. My serve slowed down a bit in the fourth set, especially the first couple points when I was getting up after the change of ends.

"But, you know, I hung in well. I pushed through it. You know, almost got myself back in the match."

For the first time there are two Swiss players in the final four after his good friend Stanislas Wawrinka upset reigning champion Novak Djokovic on the same court 24 hours earlier.

Federer was in total control for large sections of last night's match before tightening up late in the third set, dropping his serve for the first time and then blowing two match points.

Murray, playing in just his second tournament since back surgery, came to life after a controversial call during a crucial service game in the third set where it appeared the ball bounced twice before Federer was able to get his racquet underneath it.

Andy Murray plays a backhand return to Roger Federer. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: News Limited

The subsequent shot ended up winning the point with Murray then going on to drop his serve. He continued to argue with chair umpire at the change of ends before focussing his anger to break Federer's serve for the first time in the match.

An inspired Murray, who had looked fatigued, then saved two match points in the tie-break before claiming the epic third set to stay alive.

He continued to fight for everything and saved six break points in his opening service game of the fourth set which lasted an incredible 19 minutes.

But the Federer fairytale rise was to eventually have a happy ending with the 17-time Grand Slam champion steadying again to claim a memorable victory.

On current evidence Federer, the No.6 seed, is clearly the form player of the tournament given the ease with which he handled Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round and then Murray who 12 months earlier had been his conqueror at Melbourne Park.

That five-set semi-final loss to the Scotsman last year started the whispering campaign about his decline and when he lost in the second round and Wimbledon and then didn't get past the fourth round at the US Open, many saw it as fact.

But Federer arrived in Australia a rejuvenated man with a new coach - two-time Australian Open champion Stefan Edberg - a new bigger racquet and a new physical outlook given he'd been plagued by a back injury for the second half of last year.

His brilliant serving was a feature last night and it was the weapon which propelled him to a remarkable 34th Grand Slam semi-final.

Federer in action at Melbourne Park. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Murray, the reigning Wimbledon champion, had come to Australia underdone after missing the end of last season and that was exposed by the ruthless Federer.

There had been an avalanche of money on Federer - who was incredibly rated a $20 outsider at the start of the tournament - in the hours leading up to last night's match and those punters were happy early as he raced out to a 4-1 lead.

He did it on the back of some brilliant serving - he won 17/19 points on his first serve which was going at 76 per cent - and didn't lose a point in his final service game to end the set after 31 minutes.

The query coming in about Murray had been his preparation given he was this was just his second tournament since the back surgery in September.

He hadn't really been pushed in the opening four rounds so it was no surprise that he was on the back foot when confronted by a red-hot Federer who'd jumped out of the blocks.

There were signs early in the second set that he was starting to find rhythm but two sloppy unforced errors resulted in him dropping his service in the fifth game.

Murray didn't get a look-in after that with the second set all Federer's after 48 minutes.

There was no change in proceedings in the third with Murray forced to save three break points in his opening service game. He was constantly under pressure on his serve whereas Federer hadn't had a break point against his serve in the opening two sets.

It got too much in the ninth game of the third set although there was controversy surrounding whether Federer had legitimately reached a ball - he looked like it may have bounced twice - during a crucial rally early in the game.

Murray was fuming and dropped his serve two points later before harnessing the anger in a good way the very next game.

For the first time Federer found himself down two break points serving for the match and out of nowhere he faltered.

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