Second seed Andy Murray is through to the semi-finals of the Australian Open after defeating David Ferrer 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday.
Murray booked his spot in the last four of the tournament for the sixth time after downing Ferrer in three hours and 20 minutes in a titanic battle.
The seventh-seeded Ferrer hadn’t dropped a set in four matches, but did so after 45 minutes on Wednesday as Murray took the opener 6-3 on the back of a break of serve in the fourth game.
Ferrer appeared to be pressing too much, trying to force the winner at times and it cost him, with the Spaniard notching up 13 unforced errors in the first set and just five winners.
It was Ferrer who went ahead early in the second, though, breaking in just the second game following a double fault from Murray. The second seed would break back and had chances to inflict further damage on the Ferrer serve, but the former French Open finalist was able to weather the storm.
The closing stages of the second set saw a number of long rallies unfold, and it was Ferrer who had the edge on this front. First it was a 27-shot battle and then one lasting 31 shots – on each occasion Ferrer came out on top and on each occasion the point was crucial.
It was this that aided Ferrer in edging the breaker 7-5 and levelling matters at a set all.
In the third set, it was the turn of Murray to take the early advantage, going 3-1 up before play was brought to a halt for 10 minutes in order for the roof to be closed as storms swirled just to the south of Melbourne Park. On the resumption, the Scot would break again to take the set 6-2 in just 35 minutes.
It appeared that the world number two was taking charge of the encounter as he began to dictate from the baseline, slowly wearing Ferrer out. A break in the second game only reinforced this perception as Ferrer ran a mile, but couldn’t prevent the break.
But the Road Runner is not a player to be easily disheartened and he broke right back. The fight was on once more.
Murray was frequently shouting at himself, urging himself to ‘fire up’. And at last, it worked as Murray went 4-2 up, an advantage he would not relinquish in a match in which no point came easily.
Murray will face the winner of Wednesday’s second quarter-final between Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils.
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