Murray faces Ferrer obstacle to Open final

Updated: Jan 27, 2011, 13:24 PM IST

Melbourne: Andy Murray must overcome
gatecrasher David Ferrer at the Australian Open on Friday to
get his chance of Grand Slam redemption and break through for
his first major title.

Rafael Nadal was expected to be waiting for the taciturn
Scot in the semi-finals at the year`s opening Slam, but things
didn`t go to plan as the world number one came to grief with
an unexpected injury.

Instead it will be another Spaniard, world number seven
Ferrer, Nadal`s conqueror in straight sets, who will stand in
the way of Murray`s second straight Australian final on

Murray describes his defeat to Roger Federer in last
year`s Melbourne final as his greatest tennis disappointment,
after holding five set points in a marathon third set only to
lose in straights.

The Scot also fell to Federer in the 2008 US Open final
in only his 12th major, so the yearning for another crack at
winning a Grand Slam has become even more intense.

For that to happen 23-year-old Murray must overturn a
losing 2-3 record against Ferrer.

"Unless you`ve been in those positions before you can`t
explain what the pressure`s like," Murray said.

"You expect a lot of yourself. You want to perform your
best right at the end of the event. I`ll be putting pressure
on myself to play well."

But the hang-dog Murray, described as mournful by one
local newspaper this week, believes he has the formula to
finally land a major title.

"I feel just way more experienced. I know how to deal
with playing deep into Grand Slam events now, how to get
prepared for them mentally and physically. It`s something
that I`m a lot better at," he said.

Murray has looked good in his five matches at the Open
and dropped only his first set of the year before overcoming
Ukraine`s Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3 in the

The Scot is one of the best defensive players on the tour
and has tremendous court speed to chase down balls and put
them away for winners. But he will need to be on top of his
game to ward off the challenge of Ferrer.

Super-fit Ferrer is in his second Grand Slam semi-final
after reaching the last four at the 2007 US Open where he lost
to Novak Djokovic.

Ferrer comes into the match on a nine-match winning
streak after claiming his 10th career title in Auckland before
coming to Melbourne.

"I need to play very focused and return very good because
Andy has a very good first serve," Ferrer said.

Ferrer, 28, played the most tour games last season with
84 and said he was in tip-top condition.

"Last year I played a lot of matches and it`s very
important for me," Ferrer said. "My game is very physical. I
need to play a lot of matches for my confidence.”

"I am not tired, because I stopped for two weeks to enjoy
my holidays. So I am in perfect condition.”

"Andy has more Grand Slam experience than me. But right
now I am playing a lot of matches and I want to enjoy this
moment. I just need to fight a lot, like every match of my

The winner will face either Federer or 2008 champion
Novak Djokovic in Sunday`s final.

Bureau Report