Andy Murray will play Novak Djokovic in Sunday's Australian Open final
Third seed Murray beat Roger Federer in five sets to reach his third Melbourne final
It was Murray's first victory over Federer at one of the sport's four grand slams
Djokovic beat Murray in the 2011 final of the season's first grand slam
Third seed Andy Murray will play world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open after overcoming Roger Federer in a tense five-set semifinal in Melbourne Friday.
Sunday will see a repeat of the 2011 final, with Murray looking to avenge his defeat to Djokovic after beating 17-time grand slam winner Federer 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-2.
Murray will be looking to finally capture the Melbourne title having twice been runner-up at the year’s first grand slam.
The 25-year-old Briton is also looking for his second straight grand slam title after beating Serbian ace Djokovic in the final of the U.S. Open last September, the first time he had claimed one of the four major titles in tennis.
Should he repeat that victory over Djokovic in the Australia final, Murray would become the first player to follow up his maiden grand slam title with another at the first opportunity.
World No. 2 Federer was hoping to become the first man in the post-1968 Open era to win the Australian Open on five occasions, but came up short in a high quality match lasting exactly four hours.
It was the first time Murray had beaten Federer at a grand slam, but his victory over the Swiss maestro in the gold medal match at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London has acted as a springboard for his later successes.
Murray never trailed throughout the match on the Rod Laver Arena, but was twice pegged back as Federer won the second and fourth sets on tiebreaks.
Murray served for the match in the fourth set at 6-5, but was denied victory by some brilliant attacking tennis by the second seed as he broke back.
Federer carried that momentum into the subsequent tiebreak to force a decider, but Murray showed his mettle by taking control again.
An early break saw him forge 5-2 ahead and when Federer served to stay in the match, he was unable to offer more than token resistance, hitting long as Murray sealed an epic and deserved victory.
“I’ve been known for losing a lot of tough matches and big matches, especially here a few times, and having never beaten Roger in a big match until the Olympics,” he said in his court side interview.
“That obviously helps but it doesn’t make it any easier when you’re trying to serve it out.”
The 31-year Federer insisted he would bounce back after his third straight semifinal loss in Melbourne and dismissed notions that he would struggle to compete with younger rivals such as Djokovic and Murray.
“I go from here with a good feeling for the year. I didn’t play a tournament leading in, so now obviously I know where my level is at,” he told gathered reporters.
“I also know that I have even more time to work on my game, work on my fitness this year. It’s something I’m excited about.”
Saturday will see the women’s final between World No.1 Victoria Azarenka and former French Open champion Li Na.
The championship will close when Murray and Djokovic lock horns 24 hours later, with spectators hoping for a repeat of their epic semifinal clash last year where the latter prevailed in a five set thriller before beating Rafael Nadal in a marathon final.
Nadal, the other member of the ‘big four’, is currently sidelined by a long-term injury but intends to make his comeback next month.