No. 2 seed Andy Murray moved one match away from a fifth Australian Open final, and perhaps a first-time win in Melbourne, but in his path will be a giant Canadian.
Murray on Wednesday handled No. 8 seed David Ferrer 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3, advancing to a semifinal against No. 13 seed Milos Raonic, who shut down the theatrics of No. 23 seed Gael “Force” Monfils 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
“I think today was probably the best match I’ve played,” said Murray of the brutal baseline battle with Ferrer, which included a 45-minute opening set. “Obviously the last few days have been tough and maybe I hadn’t played my best tennis. Today I felt like at the end of the match I was playing some good stuff, moving well.”
After the roof closed at one-set all due to impending rain, Murray seemed to thrive in the windless conditions, closing the match out in four sets.
“I think the quality of tennis went up when we went indoors, in my opinion,” Murray said “Better rallies. It was tricky conditions outdoors today. Pretty windy out there and not a consistent breeze. So a lot of unforced errors.”
Murray is part of a Brit threesome in the semis with Johanna Konta and his brother Jamie in the men’s doubles.
“It’s been a great tournament so far, and hopefully we can all keep going,” Murray said. “It’s really, really good for British tennis on the back of the end of last year with the Davis Cup as well. Extremely positive. We’ve just got to try and capitalize on it.”
The Brit will next face the hard-charging Raonic, the first Canadian to ever reach the Aussie Open semis, who continued his aggressive play with 31 net points won in 46 forays against Monfils. After posting a first-ever win over Stan Wawrinka in the previous round, Raonic beat Monfils for the first time on Wednesday.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Raonic said. “I just said to myself, keep creating opportunities and they’ll go your way. Who knows how much a factor playing indoors was, but it gave my mind some peace.”
Thinking ahead to Murray, Raonic says, “I have certain aspects that I would like to manipulate and use my game in, and I’m sure he’s going to try to do a lot of different things, too. I think it’s going to be a race to who can get in the comfort zone of themselves first.”
Thursday in Melbourne will see the first men’s semifinal with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic taking on No. 3 Roger Federer.
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