Andy Murray was sucking in deep breaths, trying to recover from his exhausting win over Roger Federer. Pain was very much on his mind.

The U.S. Open champion defeated Federer 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2 in a four-hour Australian Open semifinal Friday night (Australia time) in Melbourne. It was Murray's first victory against the 17-time major winner at a Grand Slam event.

But with the clock about to strike midnight, Murray was already thinking about Sunday's final against two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic, who is on a 20-match winning streak at Melbourne Park. This will be a rematch of their U.S. Open final.

"Every time we play each other it's normally a very physical match," Murray said. "I'll need to be ready for the pain. I hope it's a painful match -- that'll mean it's a good one."

Murray had a 10-9 record against Federer, but had lost his three previous Grand Slam matches to the Swiss star. One of those defeats came at Wimbledon last year. Murray says the disappointment of that loss triggered his run to the gold medal at the London Olympics, and then his drought-breaking triumph at the U.S. Open.

"You know, I've obviously lost some tough matches against him in Slams," Murray said. "So to win one, especially the way that it went tonight, yeah, was obviously nice."


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Murray ended a 76-year drought for British men at the majors when he beat Djokovic in five sets in the final at Flushing Meadows.

He's hoping the step-by-step manner in which he has crossed career milestones off his to-do list will continue Sunday. He lost four major finals, including two in Australia, before winning a Grand Slam title. Murray wasted a chance to serve out in the fourth set as Federer rallied.

"Those matches ... have helped obviously mentally," he said. "I think going through a lot of the losses that I've had will have helped me as well. Obviously having won against Novak before in a Slam final will help mentally."

A packed Rod Laver Arena, including the great Laver himself, jammed in to see if Federer could reach a sixth Australian final. The 31-year-old Swiss has won four of his 17 titles at Melbourne Park.

He showed flashes of his customary genius, but also rare bursts of anger. Murray showed his frustration as well. The crowd started to turn on him after he challenged a call in the eighth game of the fourth set, booing each time he complained to the umpire. His unforced error into the net on the next point prompted a huge cheer.

In the 12th game of the fourth set, Federer appeared to yell across the net after Murray stopped momentarily behind the baseline during the rally.

Murray shrugged it off and seemed to dig in. He'd won that point but lost the game and was taken to another tiebreaker, which he lost.

"We were just checking each other out for bit," Federer said. "That wasn't a big deal for me -- I hope not for him."

Murray said "stuff like that happens daily in tennis," and added that it was "very, very mild in comparison to what happens in other sports."

"It's big. I never beat Roger in a Slam before. It definitely will help with the confidence," Murray said.

Djokovic already owns three Australian titles and is aiming to be the first man in the Open era to win three in a row.

  • Venus Williams has pulled out of next week's Open GDF Suez tournament and the upcoming Fed Cup against Italy because of a back injury.