Thursday, June 21, 2018
Sports

Murray hoping for more good pain

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

But Murray was already thinking about Sunday's Australian Open final against two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic, who is on a 20-match winning streak at Melbourne Park. It will be a rematch of last year's U.S. Open final, won by Murray.

"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 defeated Federer 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2 in a four-hour semifinal Friday. It was Murray's first victory against the 17-time major winner at a Grand Slam event.

Murray had a 10-9 record against Federer but had lost their three previous Grand Slam matches. One of those defeats came in last year's Wimbledon final. Murray says that disappointment triggered his run to the gold medal at the London Olympics shortly after and then his triumph at the U.S. Open.

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

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

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 one. He lost three times to Federer in a major before beating him. Even then, he wasted a chance to serve out in the fourth set Friday as Federer rallied.

"Those matches … have helped obviously mentally," Murray 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."

Federer could see improvement in Murray's approach in the tough situations.

"With the win at the Olympics and the U.S. Open, maybe there's just a little bit more belief," Federer said, "or he's a bit more calm overall."

Djokovic has three Australian titles total and aims to be the first man in the Open era to win three in a row. He was nearly flawless in his 89-minute disposal of No. 4-ranked David Ferrer in the other semifinal and said he hoped Murray and Federer would go five sets.

"Obviously, Novak goes in as the favorite, I would think," Federer said. "He's done really well again this tournament. Obviously a tough match again and give a slight edge to Novak just because of the last couple of days."

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