Andy Murray defeats Milos Raonic to go through to Australian Open finals
2nd seed Andy Murray defeated 13th seed Milos Raonic of Canada in a hard-fought five-set match – 4-6, 7-5, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 to make the finals of the Australian Open for the second year in a row. Murray lost out on last year’s title to Novak Djokovic, who is also in the finals this year and looks set to take his second consecutive title here, and 6th overall.
Murray and Djokovic also met at the finals here in 2011 and 2013, with the latter victorious each time.
Today saw 13th seed Raonic put up a tenacious fight against 2nd seed Andy Murray. Both players have been in good form, but Murray, with significantly more experience than his Canadian rival, was outplayed by him for a large part of the match today.
The pair came into today’s tie dead even in their head-to-head record, each with three wins. It was the Scot who emerged victorious the last time the two played, at the quarter-finals of the clay-court Mutua Madrid Masters – a title Murray would eventually win, beating King of Clay Rafael Nadal.
Murray began serving today, with Raonic immediately asserting himself as he broke the World No. 2 without conceding a single point. He then proceeded to build on that to lead him 3-1.
The Canadian, who is quickly becoming known as one of the best current servers in the game, took a 5-3 lead over Murray and building on his early break, won the first set 6-4, with Murray left reeling despite being in top form.
The second set saw significantly less excitement, with each player holding serve. It was eventually Murray who won that 7-5, with Raonic spraying the court with unforced errors – 19 in that set to Murray’s mere 5.
Unforced errors would repeatedly be a thorn in Raonic’s side at today’s tie – and a lower count may have even netted him a win against Murray. With a total of 36 by the end of the third set, twice as many as Murray’s, he still managed to pull off a win, with 28 winners to Murray’s 13 upto then.
The two engaged in a long, tenuous rally, repeatedly going to deuce before Raonic took the point. The third set would go to a tiebreak, with Raonic winning that 7-5 to go two sets up to Murray’s one.
He began the fourth set leading two games to Murray’s one, but at a little over 2 hours and 31 minutes into the match had serious trouble with his upper right quad. With a pull in his groin, he began faltering – and that would be the beginning of the end for the resilient Canadian, who did not give up despite the injury.
He led Murray 3-2 in the fourth at one point, but a break of serve and then a hold would give Murray a 5-3 lead. Despite some very precise shots off Raonic’s racquet, the 25-year-old was unable to overcome Murray’s lead, with the Scot serving for the set and winning it 6-4.
That meant the match would go to a mammoth five sets, but a flagging Raonic appeared to be low on energy and high on pain, as he faltered through the final set with some moments of strength nevertheless.
Down 4 games to love, Raonic won two of his service games, but Murray, leading him 5-2, managed to hold on and built on Raonic’s loss of energy to win the match.
After the match, the Scot acknowledged Raonic as one of the “best servers around right now,” and in a display of sportsmanship to his rival, said he “wished the last set had been more competitive.”
To watch the best moments from the brilliant five-set match, log onto SonyLIV.com or use their app.
Ahead of the final, Djokovic has thoroughly dominated Murray – leading the Scot 21-9 in their head-to-head record. Having lost to Djokovic every time the two have met at an Australian Open final, the Scot will need to play his best to defeat an absolutely dominant Djokovic at a tournament where he has reigned supreme.
You can watch the final clash live on SonyLIV.com.