|Andy Murray plays a shot during his semifinal match against David Ferrer at the Australian Open on Friday. (REUTERS/David Crosling/Pool)
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Andy Murray notched a four-set win over David Ferrer to earn a second straight trip to the Australian Open title match.
Murray dropped the first set before coming back to post a 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-1, 7-6 (7-2) semifinal win on Friday. He lost to Roger Federer in last year's final and on Sunday will face Novak Djokovic in an attempt to claim his first Grand Slam championship.
Djokovic advanced Thursday with a straight-set semifinal victory over Federer and on Sunday will try to earn his second Grand Slam title. The Serb's first came three years ago with an Australian Open final victory against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Murray will not only try for his first major title, but the fifth-seeded native of Scotland will also try to end 75 years of British frustration. The last Brit to win a men's Grand Slam singles crown was Fred Perry at Wimbledon in 1936.
It will be Murray's third crack at ending the drought. In addition to last year's straight-set loss to Federer in Melbourne, Murray also lost in straight sets to the Swiss superstar in the 2008 U.S. Open finale.
"The first Slam final I played against Federer I didn't know what was going on, it went by really, really quick," said Murray. "Last year was better, and I hope this one is going to be better than last year's."
Ferrer, who halted a hobbling top-seeded Rafael Nadal's quest for a fourth straight Grand Slam title with a victory over his fellow Spaniard in the quarterfinals, was bidding for his first major final appearance. His best previous result in one of the big four tournaments was a semifinal loss to Djokovic at the 2007 U.S. Open.
The seventh-seeded Ferrer took the first set on Friday thanks to a break of serve in the 10th game and had a set point to win the second. Murray, though, saved it to even the set at 5-5, and a trade of breaks followed to set up a tiebreaker, which Murray won easily after claiming the first six points.
"The second set I started to go for my shots a bit more and it paid off," said Murray. "Grand Slam semifinal, there's always going to be some nerves, and that was the case today."
Murray rolled through the third set with a pair of breaks, though he had to save seven break-point chances against his own serve during the set. Each player came up with a break in the fourth set to force another tiebreaker and Murray again dominated.
This time he won just the first two points before Ferrer registered one, but Murray won the next two points on the Spaniard's serve and the next two on his own for a 6-1 cushion. Ferrer kept it alive for a moment, then had to track down a Murray drop shot to leave the court wide open for an easy volley to finish the match.
"In the tiebreak, [both] times, I started really bad," said Ferrer. "Andy, in important moments, served better than me. So I can't do nothing more."
Murray evened his record against Ferrer to 3-3 and will enter Sunday's final with a mark of 3-4 against Djokovic, but he has won the last three meetings. The two have never met in a Grand Slam tournament, but the last two matchups have come in finals on hardcourts. Murray won a pair of tiebreaks in the 2008 Cincinnati Masters and posted a 6-2, 7-5 win in the Miami Masters final in 2009.
"Novak's had a great tournament. It's going to be a tough match," Murray added. "We're good friends. We practiced a lot in Perth, and here. It's going to be a brutal match I think."
Murray will try for a 17th career singles title in his 25th final. He was 2-2 in title matches last year. Djokovic will take the court Sunday with a mark of 18-13 in title matches.