Murray books fourth final, Serena to face Sharapova

Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:42am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - After three heart-breaking trips to the final, Andy Murray secured another shot at Australian Open glory by overhauling Tomas Berdych on Thursday after women's top seed Serena Williams set up a blockbuster title-decider with Maria Sharapova.

Edged in a marathon first set, Murray fired up after a frosty exchange with the hard-hitting Czech and blazed to a 6-7(6) 6-0 6-3 7-5 victory under the lights of Rod Laver Arena.

The sixth-seeded Scot will contest his first grand slam final since his emotional triumph at Wimbledon in 2013. His next opponent will be decided in Friday's semi-final between world number one Novak Djokovic and champion Stan Wawrinka.

Murray's clinical disposal of Rafa Nadal's conqueror sent an ominous signal to his eventual challenger and thrilled the center court crowd after the women's semi-finals were earlier wrapped up in straight sets.

With his former assistant coach Dani Vallverdu sitting in Berdych's player's box, Murray made redundant any plans the two might have hatched by taming the Czech's monster serve and cutting him to pieces in the baseline exchanges.

"I changed tactics a little bit (after the first set) but also I was getting more comfortable with the conditions and Tomas's ball," Murray said courtside on a chilly, breezy night.

"I made him do most of the running ... which was important."

Murray sealed the match with a thumping ace down the 'T' after three hours and 26 minutes.   Continued...

Andy Murray of Britain celebrates defeating Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic to win their men's singles semi-final match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 29, 2015.   REUTERS/Thomas Peter