Britain's Andy Murray booked the remaining spot in the Australian Open final with a pulsating 4-6, 7-6, 6-1, 7-6 victory over Span's David Ferrer, setting up a potentially explosive final against Serbia's Novak Djokovic.
Murray lost the first set despite being the first to break. He went up 4-3 after pouncing on the Spaniard's wobbly serve to force Ferrer to backhand into the net. However, he was broken back in the very next game after Ferrer took the cue from Murray and increased the aggression. Ferrer then held serve before breaking the Scot in the crucial 10th game, patiently waiting for the mistake which was duly delivered when Murray, yelling in frustration, found the net.
Murray was almost down two sets when Ferrer had a set point but the Scot battled back to level at 5-5. The set then went on to a nervous tie breaker, which Murray comfortably took 7-2 to level matters at 1-set all.
The Scot stepped on the pedal in the third. Both players held serves before Murray produced a couple of exception forehands down the line to give himself three break points. He converted the second to claim the crucial break. He then held serve before breaking again with a stunning lob on the run and some exquisite ground strokes. He seemed as though he could do no wrong, taking the third set 6-1, with a 2-1 advantage going into the fourth.
The fourth was almost a repeat of the second set, as Ferrer battled back to stay in the tie. However, Murray held on, though he seemed tired, to force a tie-breaker, which he again won 7-2.
The win means Murray is through to his second successive Australian Open final in which he will battle it out with Novak Djokovic for his maiden Grand Slam.
In the post-match interview, Murray said, I had to dig deep and it was always going to be that way against David. He made me do a lot of running and play a lot of long points so it was a really tough match. I had to change my tactics because they weren't working, I had to be more aggressive, step in and go for more winners. I switched to Plan B and luckily it worked.
On his opponent in the final, who is also Murray's training partner, he said, It will be tough. Djokovic is a great opponent. Experience-wise we are similar and he won a Grand Slam a few years ago. We're good friends and we trained a lot together. There won't be any secrets between us but it will be a brutal match.
Murray also admitted to a bit of misunderstanding with the scores in the second set, which seemingly helped him save a set point, before going on to win it. He said, I actually thought it was 4-3 - just before the umpire called it 5-5. It happens occasionally. I was so focused and wrapped up - it probably helped me out and I hope it doesn't happen again.