Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Reborn Federer Wrecks Murray's Bid for Glory

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Reborn Federer Wrecks Murray's Bid for Glory

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Newman in Melbourne

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 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 lasting three hours and 20 minutes, it was perhaps no surprise that the effort appeared to be taking a toll on the British No1.

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 No1'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. …

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