Photo: Paul ZimmerAndy Murray (GBR)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Andy Murray has beaten Roger Federer for the first time at a Grand Slam to reach his third consecutive Grand Slam final. The 2012 US Open champion and world No. 3 battled Federer to five sets before coming through 64 67 63 67 62 in exactly four hours.
Murray had been victim to Federer in the 2008 US Open final, the 2010 Australian Open and last year’s Wimbledon, but the tables seem to have turned when in August he steamrolled him at the London Olympics 62 61 64 to win gold.
Murray will now face world No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the second consecutive Grand Slam final. Murray defeated Djokovic in a mind-blowing 76 75 26 36 62 match in September’s US Open final but the Serb got the better of Murray in their next two matches, the Shanghai final and ATP World Tour Finals.
Djokovic also produced a convincing straight-sets win over Murray in the 2011 Australian Open final, so the Brit will be hoping this will be third time lucky Down Under. This will be their 18th career meeting. Djokovic edges Murray 10-7.
This Australian Open marked the first ever time that Federer has had to play back-to-back five-set matches at a Grand Slam. In the quarterfinals he was pushed to the limit by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, wrapping up victory in three-and-a-half hours. His quest for an 18th Grand Slam title can to an end in his 10th straight Australian Open semifinal, an Open Era record.
When asked how much the Tsonga match had affected him coming into the semifinal, the world No. 2 replied: "A little bit, but it's not an excuse to say that I lost because of that. Obviously I wish I could have come in like Andy. Then again, you know, he beat me fair and square tonight. No regrets from me."
Friday at Melbourne Park also decided the winners of the 2013 Australian Open women’s doubles title. Italian duo and 2012 Roland Garros and US Open champions Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci claimed victory over Australian wildcards Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua, winning 62 36 62 on Rod Laver Arena. It was sweet victory for the No. 1-ranked doubles team after finishing runners-up in Melbourne last year.
Australia had more to celebrate in the mixed doubles as Jarmila Gajdosova and Matthew Ebden reached the final after defeating Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan and Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in the semifinals. The pair needed four match points to close out the 75 76 win.
They will face Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak who later on won their place in the final by beating compatriot Kveta Peschke, who partnered doubles specialist Marcin Matkowski of Poland, 36 75 [10-7].
The 2013 Australian Open will conclude with the women’s singles final between Li Na and Maria Sharapova at 08:30 GMT on Saturday followed by the men’s doubles final between top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan and unseeded Dutchmen Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling, who are competing in Grand Slam doubles together for the first time.
The mixed doubles final will kick off action on Sunday at 05:00 GMT, and the men’s final will start at 08:30 GMT.