MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Andy Murray will get another chance to end a near 75-year winless streak for British men in Grand Slam singles tournaments after beating Spain’s David Ferrer 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1, 7-6 (2) Friday to reach the Australian Open final.
“I think towards the end of the second set I started going for my shots more. I was missing a lot earlier,” Murray said. “I changed my string tension and managed to come through. I changed my tactics … played closer to the baseline, waiting for my shots a bit more.”
Ferrer was disappointed by his missed opportunities.
No British male has won a Grand Slam singles title since Fred Perry in 1936 — more than 270 Grand Slam tournaments ago. The drought endured with Tim Henman and most recently Murray, who lost in straight sets to Roger Federer in the final last year.
Federer is gone from this tournament, beaten by Djokovic in the semifinals. Top-ranked Rafael Nadal, who was trying to win his fourth straight Grand Slam tournament, is also gone. He was hobbled by a thigh injury in his quarterfinal loss to Ferrer.
Kim Clijsters, who will play the final Saturday against Li Na of China, thinks that 2011 will “probably” be her last full year on the tennis tour.
The men’s semifinal was filled with long rallies and plenty of booming forehands that just cleared the net. Murray mixed it up enough at times that his looping lob on break point at 4-1 in the third set went high over seventh-seeded Ferrer’s head, allowing the Spaniard to only watch as the ball bounced meters inside the line.
“My body was feeling it a bit at the end,” Murray said. “Both of us did a lot of running.”
Ferrer won the first set by breaking Murray’s serve in the 10th game, and had a set point to go up 2-0 in the second. But Murray saved it and evened it at 5-5. The two exchanged service breaks in the next two games to send the second set to a tiebreaker, which Murray led 6-0.
He overwhelmed Ferrer in the two tiebreak sets, allowing the Spanish player just four points.
“I served well in both of them,” Murray said. “I got off to a good start, and that always makes a difference.”