Melbourne - Britain's Andy Murray stormed into his fourth Australian Open final with a
commanding four-sets win over Czech Tomas Berdych on Thursday.
The dual Grand Slam champion, seeded six, beat the seventh seed 6-7 (6/8), 6-0,
6-3, 7-5 and will play either Novak Djokovic or defending champion Stan
Wawrinka in Sunday's decider.
The tournament has been a heartbreak Grand Slam for the Scot with three
runner-up finishes, but he has given himself another chance to break through and
add to his Wimbledon and US Open titles.
The world number six was too strong for Berdych, who wasn't the same player
that eliminated Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.
After losing a marathon 76-minute opening set in a tiebreaker, Murray
finished strongly to clinch the match in 3hr 26min on Rod Laver Arena.
There was plenty of friction between the two and a few glares at each other
at changeovers during the opening set sparked by Berdych's decision to hire
former Murray team member Dani Vallverdu as his coach.
"I was disappointed to lose the opening set after I had a couple of
chances at the end but I felt I was playing better as the set went on and I was
very aggressive at the beginning of the second set," Murray said.
"I got more comfortable with the conditions and with Tomas's ball, in
the beginning I was feeling quite rushed and then I got more aggressive and
made him do more running."
Murray admitted there was extra tension in the match caused by the attention
over Vallverdu in the Berdych camp.
"A lot was made of Dani working with him. Me and Dani have been friends
since we were 15 and I felt that was a little bit unfair and unnecessary. There
is more to life than sport," he said.
Murray broke Berdych's serve six times and hit 40 winners, while Berdych
served more double-faults than aces.
The Czech broke the Scot in the eighth game but was himself broken as he
served for the set at 5-3.
Berdych fought off break points in the 11th game but prevailed in the
tiebreaker after Murray had set point at 6-5.
It was a psychological lift for the Czech coming out on top after a 76
There were some sparks when Berdych said 'Good play, Tomas' to himself as he
passed by Murray after winning the set to the Scot's displeasure.
But the dual major champion raced through the second set with a triple
service break over disengaged Berdych in just 30 minutes.
Murray went on the offensive and broke Berdych after trailing 0-40, hitting
a forehand winner to the corner on break point.
Berdych was serving more double faults than aces as the Scot stormed to a
two sets to one lead.
Murray's greater variety of shots caused Berdych problems and had the Czech
frequently off balance and he got the decisive break of serve in the 11th game,
clinching the match with an ace in his next service game.
Collated results from day 11 of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Thursday:
Andy Murray (GBR x6) bt Tomas Berdych (CZE x7) 6-7 (6/8), 6-0, 6-3, 7-5
Maria Sharapova (RUS x2) bt Ekaterina Makarova (RUS x10) 6-3, 6-2
Serena Williams (USA x1) bt Madison Keys (USA) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Semi-finalsSimone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini (ITA) bt Jean-Julien Rojer (NED)/Horia Tecau (ROU x6) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut (FRA) bt Ivan Dodig (CRO)/Marcelo Melo (BRA x4) 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/5)
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)/Daniel Nestor (CAN x3) bt Cara Black (ZIM)/Juan Sebastian Cabal (COL x5) 6-2, 6-3
Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE)/Pablo Cuevas (URU) bt Katarina Srebotnik (SLO)/Marcelo Melo (BRA x2) 6-1, 6-2