Andy Murray survives five-set encounter with Milos Raonic

Andy Murray battled through a five-set marathon against Milos Raonic to reach his fifth Australian Open final.

Murray recovered from two sets to one down to win 4-6 7-5 (4)6-7 6-4 6-2 and was helped over the line by an injured Raonic.

The number two seed will now face Novak Djokovic in a repeat of the 2011, 2013 and 2015 finals and will be searching for his first Australian Open victory over the Serbian #1 seed.

The big-serving Canadian called a medical time-out early in the fourth set for a groin injury and looked in anguish in patches afterwards. Raonic’s injury aside, it was a high-quality affair with both players competing at their best throughout the encounter.

 

Murray was caught cold in the opening game as Raonic broke him to love. Murray had the chance to repay the favour in the next game but blew three break points and saw the set fall away from him as he lost it 6-4.

The second set was nip-and-tuck throughout, as Murray dug away at the Raonic serve. Despite a host of unforced errors, Raonic’s serve kept him in it throughout the set until the last game when Murray broke for the first time, taking the second set 7-5.

The third set was a story of exquisite serving as neither player gave an inch on their first serve. Solid holds by both saw it go to a tie-break. Some big-hitting from the Canadian saw him squeeze out the third set 7-4.

It was the early in the fourth set where the match really turned in favour of Murray. At 2-1 on serve, Raonic disappeared inside for a medical time-out, presumably on his back. When he reappeared he was in noticeable discomfort as the moment shifted the way of the Brit.

At 3-3 in the fourth set Murray broke the Raonic serve for only the second time in the match. Raonic then failed to convert three break points during the rest of the set and the usually calm Raonic began to show uncharacteristic signs of frustration.

Distressed by the injury he was suffering and his failure to break Murray back, the #13 seed slammed his racket against his foot before receiving a code-violation for smashing his racket as Murray served out the fourth set 6-4.

There was a sense of inevitability as the fifth set started and Murray quickly raced to a 4-0 lead, breaking the Raonic serve twice. Raonic refused to be whitewashed though, battling through a nearly ten minute service game to get a point on the board.

Murray proved too much though and he eventually took the final set 6-2 to move into his ninth Grand Slam final.

Raonic will take plenty away from his Australian Open run through to the semi-finals and will hope that the injury he has suffered is not long-lasting after an injury-plagued 2015.

After proving he can go toe-to-toe with the very best his attention will now turn to returning to the top ten in the World.

Andy Murray will now face Djokovic in Sunday’s final, seeking to beat him in a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2013 Wimbledon final.

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