Murray's moment again -- title in reach
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Andy Murray is still around at the Australian Open, only one victory away from doing what no British man has done in more than 70 years -- win a Grand Slam tournament singles title.
Murray beat Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 Thursday night in a semifinal to advance to Sunday's championship match. He'll take on the winner of Friday night's semifinal between three-time Australian Open winner Roger Federer and 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
If Federer wins it will mean a rematch of the 2008 U.S. Open where the Swiss star beat Murray in straight sets. That was the 22-year-old Murray's only trip to a Grand Slam singles final, where his loss continued a streak of no British man winning a major since 1936.
Murray expects Federer to be across the net from him on Sunday night at Rod Laver Arena.
"Tsonga's played a lot of sets, he's going to be a little bit tired like Cilic was, but you never know with him, he's a great player," Murray said. "Still, I expect Federer to come through."
The last British man to win at the Australian Open was Fred Perry in 1934. Perry won Wimbledon in 1936, the last British man to win there, a drought that has worn heavily on the psyche of players such as Murray, Tim Henman and others before them.
Murray is the first British man to reach the Australian final since John Lloyd in 1977 and the first to reach two Grand Slam finals in the Open era.
Murray used to joke several years ago that when he lost he was Scottish, and when he won the media referred to him as British. He could make everybody happy in the United Kingdom if he breaks the drought on Sunday.
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"I started going for my shots a little bit more, he was playing right close to the baseline," Murray said. Cilic "played three five-set matches and made it so tough for me and fought until the end.
"I'm really look forward to the final now, I'm feeling good."
Leading 3-1 in the fourth set and with Cilic serving, Murray unleashed a forehand to the corner that left Cilic standing in the middle of the court on break point. He took a 5-1 lead on his next service game and closed the match in just over 3 hours.
"I wouldn't [make] my tiredness an excuse for losing this match," Cilic said. "I think he deserved to win."
At the end of the match, a man wearing a Croatia soccer jersey walked on to the court and shook Cilic's hand before being removed by security. It was the first on-court security breach at the tournament.
"I think the fan got excited and he wanted to shake my hand, so ... I gave him a present," Cilic said. "I shook his hand. He was happy."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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2010 AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Women's singles: Serena Williams, United States
Roger Federer, Switzerland
Men's doubles: Bob and Mike Bryan, United States
Women's doubles: Serena and Venus Williams, United States
Mixed doubles: Cara Black/Leander Paes
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