Australian Open Day 9 Round-up: Murray looking very good as Sharapova sends Bouchard packing
Britain’s Andy Murray ended the run of home favourite Nick Kyrgios with a brilliant display to reach the Australian Open semi-finals. Murray, 27, outsmarted the 19-year-old to win 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 and set up a clash with Tomas Berdych on Thursday. Kyrgios had threatened a comeback in the second set tiebreak but two superb lobs helped the Scot to a crucial lead. The sixth seed is now through to his fifth Australian Open and 15th Grand Slam semi-final. It was a tactically perfect match from Andy Murray and he is looking very good indeed. He spooked Kyrgios with his slice and careful shot making, he served expertly and he came up with the goods when he needed to. Kyrgios gave it his best shot and he has a big future, but this was a step too far for him. He’ll learn from it and improve. But this day was Murray’s day.
In the last four he will take on seventh seed Berdych after his straight-sets win over Rafael Nadal. Berdych is now working with Murray’s former coach Dani Vallverdu after the latter left the Briton’s team in November. For two sets, Nadal played as if in a trance, winning just two games in two sets in the first hour, before fighting as hard as his obviously malfunctioning body enabled him to in extending the agony to a tiebreak in the third. He was sluggish, underpowered and thoroughly outclassed. After two hours and 33 minutes of absorbing theatre, Berdych wrapped it up 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 (7-5) to go through to the semi-finals. He was so clearly the better player on this day of days for him and might yet reach his second slam final. This is a repeat of the 2012 US Open semi-final, though, and you might remember that Murray won that match in four sets, so the best tipsters would feel inclined to favour him once again.
In the Women’s tournament, after nine days of rolling uncertainty, there is one given about the women’s final at the 2015 Australian Open on Saturday: it will feature a Russian and, in all likelihood, an American.
Ekaterina Makarova and Maria Sharapova won their quarterfinals convincingly on Tuesday to set up an all-Russian semi-final on Thursday, and both look in excellent form. The other semi-final will see two from either the, Serena Williams v Dominika Cibulkova or Madison Keys v Venus Williams quarterfinals. The best tennis predictions would indicate a family reunion for the American sisters as the best tip.