Murray beats Federer to usher in new era at Australian Open
Scot beats Swiss master for first time at a Grand Slam to set up another showdown with Djokovic
ANDY MURRAY powered his way into a third Australian Open final with an epic five-set victory over the legendary Roger Federer in Melbourne today. It was the first time that the Scot had beaten the former world number one at a Grand Slam and it signals a changing of the guard in men's tennis.
"Credit to Murray, he is better than Roger Federer now," said Andrew Castle of the BBC, and others agreed after seeing the British number one triumph 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 in four hours. Murray will face Novak Djokovic in the final and, according to The Guardian, their rivalry at the summit of the men's game has superceded that of Federer and his old adversary Rafa Nadal.
Murray was on top throughout the encounter and could have won it in four sets, but he fluffed his lines when serving for the match and Federer went on to win the tie-break. That made it two sets all, but the manner in which Murray responded to that setback said much about his mental strength.
"A year ago this would not have happened," said BBC commentator John Lloyd. "Federer would have won that match after Murray lost the tie-break but Murray was composed and took Federer apart in the fifth set like it was the first."
Murray had to endure a barrage of questions about how his maiden Grand Slam win at the US Open last year had changed his game and he admitted that it had given him more confidence. It has also made him more ferocious said The Independent. "Murray has added greater aggression to his game in the last year, [but] Federer has always had trouble coping with the Scot's counter-punching style," said the paper.
In truth the Scot should not have let the match go the distance, and he let his standards slip in the two tie-breaks that Federer won.
"Mentally, physically and tactically he had too much for the former world No 1 and was fully deserving of a first victory over the Swiss at a major," said the Daily Telegraph. "Murray produced far more aces, more winners and his first serve percentage was probably the best it's ever been against the great man."
The Times hailed a "great achievement" but said it was not as significant as Murray's win over Federer at the Olympics.
Next up then for Murray is Djokovic as he bids to become the first man to follow up a maiden Grand Slam win with another title. The match will be a repeat of September's US Open final, won by Murray, and the 2011 final at Melbourne, won by Djokovic.
Murray seemed up for the challenge, however, and also revealed a masochistic streak. "Every time we play each other it's a physical match," he said. "I hope it's going to be a painful match because it means it'll be a good one." ·