Murray quest faces Federer obstacle in Melbourne

Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:39am EST
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By Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Andy Murray's bid to become the first man in the open era to back up his maiden grand slam triumph with the title at the next major comes up against the considerable obstacle of Roger Federer in Friday's Australian Open semi-final.

While the U.S. Open champion has a 10-9 lead over Federer in their career meetings, he has never beaten the world number two in one of the four biggest tournaments in tennis.

The British third seed has never faced Federer before the final of a grand slam, either, and lost in the finals of the 2008 U.S. Open, 2010 Australian Open and 2012 Wimbledon Championships to the Swiss master.

Victory over Federer in a best-of-five-sets match at Wimbledon in the final of the London Olympics last year will have given Murray confidence he can break his grand slam duck against the Swiss on Friday.

"I feel probably a little bit calmer maybe than usual," the 25-year-old said on Wednesday.

"But I still have an understanding of how difficult it is to win these events. With the players that are still left in the tournament, it's going to be a very tough, tough few days if I want to do that."

Novak Djokovic, who will be awaiting the winner of the match in Sunday's final after beating David Ferrer on Thursday, is chasing a third successive Australian Open title.

Federer's quest, if there is such a thing for a man who already has 17 grand slam titles under his belt, is to become the first man in the open era to win five Melbourne titles.   Continued...

Andy Murray of Britain celebrates defeating Jeremy Chardy of France during their men's singles quarter-final match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 23, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville