Murray out after semi-final epic

Andy Murray provided a strong riposte to those who had suggested that he couldn’t live with the top three of men’s tennis. In a thrilling semi-final in Melbourne, he was on the brink of a place in the Australian Open final, before finally succumbing to Novak Djokovic. It was easily the most dramatic match of the tournament so far.

When Murray lost the first set to a rampant Djokovic, it looked like the match was going to follow a familiar narrative. Instead Murray, perhaps fortified by the coaching of Ivan Lendl, reached deep into his reserves and fought back impressively to take the second set.

The match appeared to have turned on a rollercoaster third set, where Djokovic clawed his way back to take Murray to a tie-break. The Scot’s resolve held in the face of some daunting returns and he edged out Djokovic to lead 2-1.

Djokovic responded like a world number one, comfortably taking the fourth set, and looking to have the momentum when he ran into a 5-2 lead in the fifth. Serving for the match at 5-4 in the final set, Djokovic was broken to love. With both players showing signs of exhaustion, Djokovic eventually prevailed 7-5 to reach a final showdown with Rafael Nadal.

It was another bitter disappointment for Murray, but he can take consolation in the level of performance he showed in Australia. Djokovic paid tribute to his friend and rival: "Andy deserves the credit to come back from 5-2 down, he was fighting, I was fighting. It was one of the best matches I have played, emotionally and physically."

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