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Murray mounts Nadal

Andy Murray has made it through to the semi-finals of the Australian Open after Rafael Nadal retired with an injury to his right knee. It’s not the way that Murray would have wanted to take the scalp of such a tough opponent, but with the Scot two sets up and winning 3-0 in the third set the victory could hardly be begrudged by him.

Murray was impressive against the Spaniard from the get-go, taking the first set 6-3 with a impressive series of service games and powerful groundstrokes. One backhand lob from an inch above his feet drew gasps from the Australian crowd who no doubt wouldn’t want a Brit winning their tournament especially after their Ashes humiliation in the summer. (It’s been 34 years since an Aussie – Mark Edmondson – last won it, with Pat Cash finishing runner-up in 1987 and 1988). The second set was much tighter, and was only won through a tie break where Nadal showed his first sign of genuine weakness, losing it 7-2. From that point on there was only ever going to be one winner, and at 3-0 down in the third set Nadal called it a day. The win means that Murray will be facing Marin Cilic, who knocked him out of the US Open in September.

‘I've known Rafa since I was 13 or 14 and he is someone I always looked up to when I came up through the juniors,’ he said. ‘He is my favourite player to watch with his energy and I am a bit gutted for him. I had to come through a few tough moments at the start of the match when I was going for it a bit too much but I played really well.

‘I had to go for my shots and play big tennis and when the big points come you have got to try to keep them short. You do not want to play long points against Rafa - I served and volley a little bit and everything went well.’

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