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post #294 of (permalink) Old 01-28-2010, 05:25 AM
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Re: Andy, Articles and news

AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2010: Andy Murray vows, I'm not going to blow my big semi-final chance
By Mike Dickson Last updated at 12:50 AM on 28th January 2010

Andy Murray believes he has conquered his habit of following a masterful Grand Slam victory with a flop in the next round.

Murray faces Marin Cilic in the semi-final of the Australian Open on Thursday morning, and he is confident he has the stamina and game to beat the man who ousted him at last year's US Open.

Although the British No 1 was out practising at Melbourne Park by Wednesday lunchtime following his dismissal of Rafael Nadal, he was careful not to overdo things ahead of his match against the 21-year-old Croat.

Big chance: Andy Murray has vowed to conquer Marin Cilic en route to the Finals

Murray has sometimes struggled to back up commanding performances such as Tuesday's, for instance when he beat the Spaniard in the 2008 US Open semis before losing heavily to Roger Federer in the final.
'That one was difficult, Roger had a day off and I had to play back-to-back, which was not ideal at the end of a long hard court season,' he said.

'I need to recover properly and not spend too much time around the courts. These are the kind of things you learn from experience and make sure you don't make the same mistakes.

'Obviously I have to enjoy the win against Rafa but get ready for the next match. But I'm not worried about it at all, I'm ready to play and it won't be a problem.'
At stake will be a title decider on Sunday against either Federer or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The Wimbledon champion came back from a set and 3-1 down to defeat Nikolay Davydenko 2-6, 6-3, 6-0, 7-5 and the ebullient Frenchman gained revenge for his defeat in the 2008 final by beating Novak Djokovic 7-6, 6-7, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in yet another five-setter at this event.

Murray goes into Thursday's encounter wary that a player who once beat him in the semi-final of the French Open juniors will be dangerous.

'He has come through a couple of tough matches and I'm sure he will go for it. I've got to be focused at the start of the match and try to get ahead and then maybe his head will drop a bit,' said Murray.

Game, set and watch: Andy Murray plays fun football with his fitness coach Jez Green (left) as he warms up for Thursday's semi-final against Marin Cilic

'It's pretty amazing that I've got this far without dropping a set, it doesn't happen very often. I would love to get to the final without dropping one but I think it will be tough.'

While Murray has a relatively youthful coach here in Miles Maclagan, Cilic is with the veteran Australian Bob Brett, whose previous clients over a 31-year career include Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic. After a recommendation by the latter, Cilic was sent to Brett's tennis academy in San Remo, just over the French border in Italy, when he was 15, and has been under his wing ever since.

As a product of the old school, Brett does not believe that conditioning should have much to do with the outcome, despite his charge's heavy workload over the last 10 days. 'I don't think anyone can have an excuse, once you step out on to the court that's it,' he said. 'That's why you do all the hard training, to prepare for these situations.

'Marin has already come through some tough situations and the difference in this tournament is that he has kept his level up. I think that he has got the opportunity to still improve over the next few years.'

Federer initially struggled against an opening onslaught from the Russian but came through to reach his 23rd consecutive Grand Slam semi-final - a monument to his amazing consistency.

Although Djokovic suffered a bout of nausea in the fourth set, Tsonga finally looks like he might be following up on his piledriver performances of two years ago, in which case Federer needs to pay due care and attention.

Djokovic, 22, said later: 'I had a little problem with my stomach even before the match. I started feeling it a lot after the third set when I just couldn't hold on.'

Tsonga had little sympathy for his opponent's plight, saying: 'It's good for me, bad for him.' But the Frenchman conceded he has his work cut out to beat Federer. 'I will have to play my best tennis,' he said. 'Roger played unbelievably today again because Nikolay was in good shape, so it's going to be tough. But like today, I will give everything and we will see.'

Murray mania: Tennis fans gather round the beaming Scot to get his autograph
Andy Murray faces huge test but here are three ways for the Briton to beat the booming boy Marin Cilic
By Mike Dickson

Britain's No 1 Andy Murray will be much fresher than his Australian Open semi-final opponent Marin Cilic on Thursday.

World No 4 Murray has breezed into the last four in Melbourne without dropping a set and has spent only only 10 hours, one minute on court.

Cilic, who beat Murray in last year's US Open, is renowned in the game for his booming first serves.
He has slugged it out for 18 hours and 40 minutes in the fierce Victorian heat to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final.

Tennis correspondent MIke Dickson identifies three ways that the British No 1 can triumph over the big Croatian and cruise into Sunday’s showpiece final ....

Booming serve: Cilic in action during his quarter-final clash with Andy Roddick

1) Run, Marin, run: With Cilic playing nearly 19 hours in the tournament to date, Murray will mercilessly try to run the finish out of him by making the Croatian change direction.
If Murray can secure the first set, the prospect of being kept out there for more hours will start to look like a mountainous task.

2) Keep him bending down: Murray brilliantly exploited the problems caused by being a tall man when he dismissed American giant John Isner in the fourth round.

At 6ft 6in Cilic is a good athlete and more flexible but still not the most agile, so there will be plenty of slicing to him to keep the ball low and balls hit to his feet when he is brought in to the net.

Celebration time: Cilic battled to beat Roddick in Melbourne

3) Don’t let him settle: Cilic is like a threshing machine from the back of the court, a formidable hitter who like Nadal can be lethal if he is allowed to get into his rhythm in the rallies.

As Murray has shown in previous matches, drop shots and surprise serve and volley expeditions will keep him off balance and deny him the baseline exchanges he thrives on.

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