MELBOURNE: Roger Federer is bidding to maintain his Grand Slam dominance over a rejuvenated Andy Murray in their much-anticipated semi-final showdown at the Australian Open on Friday.
Federer trails the British world number three 10-9 in their matches, yet significantly the Swiss great has claimed all three of their Grand Slam exchanges, all in finals, with two of them leaving Murray in tears.
Murray sobbed after pushing Federer to three hard-fought sets in the 2010 Australian final, and at Wimbledon last year the Scot wept during his on-court interview, blubbering the words “getting closer”.
It all changed for Murray with his breakthrough triumph over Novak Djokovic at last September’s US Open final to become the first British man in 76 years to win a Grand Slam. Federer, at 31, is looking to add to his record 17 Grand Slam victories but Murray looms as a major obstacle ahead of Sunday’s final against either Djokovic or Spain’s David Ferrer.
“I don’t go into it with a mindset that I’ve never lost to him in Slams,” Federer said.
“He’s beaten me so many times. He’s beaten me more times than I’ve beaten him.
“I’ll try to remember that when I walk out, but it doesn’t play a huge role for me.”
Federer said although Murray has changed to a more offensive style under the coaching of taskmaster Ivan Lendl, he is looking forward to the tactical battle.
“I always enjoyed the match-ups with him because it gets to be very tactical, it wasn’t a straightforward match,” he said.
He is bidding to become only the second man to win five Australian titles, after Australia’s Roy Emerson won six in the 1960s.
Murray has yet to drop a set in the tournament and has been on the court almost two hours less than Federer in reaching the semi-final.
His quarter-final win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy took his winning streak at the majors to 12, including his US Open triumph, and he will be playing in his 12th Grand Slam semi-final.
“For me the Chardy match was a decent test. I played a lot of tennis in December. I had some good matches in Brisbane,” said Murray.