By Ros Satar
Murray def Federer 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3 6-7(2) 6-2
Andy Murray goes into his third Slam final in succession, having laid another demon to rest.
In his first match under the Melbourne lights this fortnight, Murray defeated 17-time Slam champion Roger Federer for the first time in a Slam tournament.
Murray had not been significantly pushed in his earlier rounds, spending the least amount of time on court than his fellow semi-finalists.
He had not faced any tie-breaks, and perhaps that showed as those were the first sets he conceded.
Starting positively, Murray got a decisive early break and dominated the first set.
The second was a closer affair, and Federer took advantage of some wild errors from Murray to take the second set.
If Murray was bothered by missing a decisive smash, he hid it well, as his reaction was to break again in the third, putting Federer on the back foot again.
Murray’s serving took a dip in the fourth set, and Federer edged ahead, but Murray clawed his way back with a break of his own.
Murray held, running out of challenges as he held to bring things back to level pegging.
After failing to serve out the match at 6-5 and with some strong words coming over the net from Federer, the fourth set was decided by another tiebreak, taken decisively by Federer.
It would all come down to 2012 US Open champion’s self-belief, starting strongly again with another early break and this time Federer had no reply.
Murray has a day to rest after his first real test this tournament, with a bigger test to come on Sunday.
Both finalists now have a shot at history, in the open era.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic is attempting to be the first man to win three Australian Open titles in succession.
If Murray wins, he will be the first man to win his first two slams back to back.
Djokovic starts as odds-on favourite to defend his title, especially after his easier (than expected) semi-final against David Ferrer.
But the memory of last year’s US Open will still be fresh in both their memories.
Murray did it against the odds last year, from two sets up.
Fans will hope he does not relinquish that kind of lead again, and if the level of his playing matches the semi-final it will be a close run affair.