Andy Murray plays a shot to Roger Federer during their men's singles semi-final
Andy Murray won a knock-down-drag-out thriller of a scrap with Roger Federer on Friday to set up an Australian Open final against Novak Djokovic and finally beat the Swiss for the first time at a grand slam.
Charged with confidence after claiming his first grand slam title at last year's U.S. Open and beating Federer in the Olympic final, Murray met the Swiss as a peer and prevailed 6-4 6-7 6-3 6-7 6-2 after four hours of top quality tennis, reports Reuters.
The 25-year-old Briton blasted 21 aces and won the winner count 62-43 but it was only in the fifth set that he was able to pull away from the 17-times grand slam champion to reach his third Melbourne Park final.
Federer was never going to give up easily and twice came from a set down to level a sometimes fractious contest before the effort of playing back-to-back five set matches took its toll on his 31-year-old legs.
"It was a tough match (but) I thought I did a good job tonight," said Murray.
"I've obviously lost some tough matches against him in slams. So to win one, especially the way that it went was obviously nice."
Murray had never beaten Federer in their three previous meetings at grand slams and now has the chance to become the first man in the open era to back up his maiden major title at the first attempt.
To do that, though, he will have to beat double defending champion Djokovic, who crushed the Scot in the 2011 final and played one of the best matches of his career on Thursday to hammer David Ferrer and reach his third successive final.
"I don't want to be wasting any energy, because I'll need all of it if I want to win against Novak on Sunday," said Murray.
With two of the "Big Four" of men's tennis facing off for the first time in the tournament, there was a real buzz as the pair took to the court on Rod Laver Arena.
The capacity crowd would not be disappointed and watched mesmerized as they did battle through lengthy rally after lengthy rally, only the squeak of their shoes on the bright blue surface and the occasional gasp breaking the silence.
Once all sinew, Murray has muscled up considerably and his increased power was evident in his service and some huge forehands that forced the four-times Australian Open champion onto the backfoot.