Andy Murray of Britain reacts during his men's singles
semi-final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at
the Australian Open in Melbourne. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Andy Murray showcased his new mental strength after
blowing the opportunity to serve out his Australian Open
semi-final against Roger Federer by demolishing the Swiss in
the fifth set.
The 25-year-old Briton had been two points away from a final
against Novak Djokovic when serving at 6-5 in the fourth set
only for Federer to force a tiebreak and then a decider.
Murray, however, has discovered a mental toughness in the
last 12 months under coach Ivan Lendl and instead of brooding
about losing the set the Scot sat quietly while Federer took
a toilet break and figured out what he needed to do at the
start of the fifth.
The focus worked and Murray raced out to a 3-0 lead then held
on for a 6-4 6-7 6-3 6-7 6-2 win in four hours to set up the
final showdown with world number one Djokovic on Sunday.
"To be honest, I was just trying to think what I'd done to
get to that point, and I was just trying to focus on doing it
at the beginning of the fifth set," Murray told reporters.
"You never know what's going to happen. The only thing you
can do is play the right way, go for your shots when the
opportunity's there, and hope that it pays off.
"You just need to try and be focused for as much of the match
as possible (and) the beginning of the fifth set was the part
of the match that I was most pleased with."
Murray is one of the few players to have a winning career
record against Federer but had faced him three times in grand
slams and lost each match.
He managed his first victory over the 17-times grand slam
winner on the big stage when he beat him on grass at
Wimbledon in the 2012 London Olympic final.
It proved to be a victory that helped springboard Murray to
his first grand slam title at the U.S. Open, where he
overcame Djokovic in five sets.
While happy to have beaten Federer for the first time at a
grand slam tournament, Murray was more pleased with the way
in which he had won.
"It's satisfying obviously. I've obviously lost some tough
matches against him in slams," Murray said. "So to win one,
especially the way that it went tonight, was obviously nice.
"I thought I did a good job. I think I did all the things I
needed to do. I did them well.
"Even after the second and fourth sets, which were tough to
lose because I wasn't comfortable, but I was in good
positions in both sets.
"I was just happy with the way I responded after both those
sets," he added.
While Murray and Djokovic appear set for a rivalry like
Federer and Rafa Nadal's, Murray said there was still life in
the 31-year-old Swiss.
"I wouldn't say I dominated the match - didn't necessarily
feel that way," Murray said.
"I obviously had more breaks of serve and stuff by the end.
Because of that I assume I probably would have won
significantly more points (and) really at no stage was I
behind in the score.
"But he obviously hung in extremely well to force it into a
"After the way the match had been going, it was great the way
he turned around because he played some big points when he
"It's what he always does."