Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Murray Advances to Australian Open Men's Final

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Murray Advances to Australian Open Men's Final

Article excerpt

MELBOURNE, Australia --

Andy Murray has finally beaten Roger Federer at a Grand Slam.

The U.S. Open champion stayed in the hunt for a second consecutive major title with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2 win over the 17-time Grand Slam champion at the Australian Open today.

Murray will play defending champion and top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who was rarely troubled while beating David Ferrer in straight sets in just under 90 minutes on Thursday night -- about 2 1/2 hours less than Friday's semifinal.

Advantage to Djokovic, then, for the Sunday night final.

While U.S. Open champion Murray came into the match with a 10-9 career advantage, Murray had never beaten Federer in the three times they had met in majors -- at finals at the 2008 U.S. Open, 2010 Australian Open and last year at Wimbledon.

"It's always tough against him when he plays his best tennis," Murray said, explaining why he was unable to close out the victory while serving for the match at 6-5 in the fourth set. "I was obviously very nervous. He plays his best tennis when his back is against the wall."

Federer outplayed Murray at stages of the match, but the 25-year- old Scot appeared to have the legs and stamina to give him the advantage over the 31-year-old Federer in the fifth set, including a service break to clinch the tense match.

With a capacity crowd of 15,000 at Rod Laver Arena watching, including the Australian legend Laver himself, Federer opened the match serving and was in trouble early, losing a 28-rally point to set up break point for Murray. But Federer held the game with a stunning cross-court forehand that just looped over the net from the baseline.

Murray, who had not lost a set through five rounds at Melbourne Park this year, had the first service break -- on his fourth break point -- to lead 2-1. It came in unusually cool summer conditions in Melbourne -- breezy and temperatures of only 60 degrees during most of the match.

There were no service breaks or even break-point chances in the second set, resulting in the tiebreaker that Federer dominated early to take a 4-1 lead. …

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