Murray powers into Australian Open final

Andy Murray wore down Croatian 14th seed Marin Cilic over four sets to become the first Briton to reach the Australian Open final in 33 years on Thursday.

The fifth seeded Scot, who had been on court eight hours less than Cilic for the tournament, won 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in three hours and two minutes.

Murray will now play either Swiss top seed Roger Federer or French 10th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Sunday’s final.

John Lloyd was the last Briton to play in an Australian final in 1977 while Fred Perry was the last British champion here in 1934.

Murray is bidding to become the first British male Grand Slam champion since Perry won the 1936 US Open.

“Marin showed incredible guts after playing three five-set matches back to back before coming out here and he made it so tough for me,” Murray said.

He really was clearly tired at the end, he’s played so many matches this week, and we’re going to have some more great matches ahead.”

It is Murray’s second Grand Slam final after he lost to Federer in the 2008 US Open decider.

The intense Scot also avenged his defeat to Cilic in the fourth round of last year’s US Open in straight sets.

The loss ended Cilic’s unbeaten 10-match start to the new season, while Murray stands at 9-1.

Murray dropped his first set of the tournament but gradually ground down the leg-weary Cilic to win the next three sets convincingly.

“I went for my shots a little bit more, he was playing right on the baseline a little bit easy so I went for a bit more and turned the match around,” said Murray.

The Scot came under pressure in the opening set with double breaks to drop his first set of the tournament.

But a turning point came in the fifth game of the next set when he broke after a magnificent rally, where he ran down a drop shot, made an instinctive lunge volley and then scampered back to retrieve a lob for a magical winner.

Murray gave a full-throated long scream and was fired up for the remainder of the set.

He had break points on Cilic’s serve in the seventh but was denied, and served out with three set points, winning it on his second with a forehand winner.

Cilic’s first serve percentage was tailing off and Murray broke him twice in the third set, giving one back, as he moved to a two sets to one lead.

Murray pressed against the tiring Croat and broke in the third game of the fourth set when the fading Cilic double-faulted.

Murray brought up the first of two match points with a magnificent running forehand from well outside the court before claiming the match. — AFP

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