A highly intriguing semi-final match-up is scheduled to take place on Thursday night on Rod Laver Arena, as British No. 1 Andy Murray and Czech No. 1 Tomas Berdych meet for the eleventh time on the professional tour. After humdrum season on the tour last year, both men have looked fantastic this past week in Melbourne and will be motivated to reach the final of the tournament. While Murray holds the better record at the Australian Open, he trails Berdych 4-6 in series. Check out the Murray v Berdych Head to Head.
Tomas Berdych surprised the entire tennis community on Tuesday evening when he thrashed Rafael Nadal in straight sets to reach the semi-final stage of the tournament. Berdych dominated the encounter and survived a late comeback from Nadal to close out the match 6-2, 6-0, 7-6(5).
Berdych’s win sets up an encounter with Andy Murray, whom he last played in the 2013 Cincinnati Masters QF, prevailing in straight sets. The British No. 1 and former three-time finalist set up the encounter when he defeated rising star Nick Kyrgios in straight sets 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3.
In an interesting twist, Berdych will now possess the former coach and hitting partner of Murray, which he believes will be an advantage.
“Definitely it might be an advantage for us, but that’s how it is. And what is more important is, again, to be prepared for that match, to be ready, to set up the plan, and try to execute them on the court. Really the preparation is exactly the same like for all my past opponents so far here. I’m not going to change anything else with that. Just try to focus on my things and keep going for it.”
However, Murray is not bothered about that much. He is simply satisfied with his own performances and is motivated to complete his run this fortnight with a third Grand Slam title.
“I’m happy. It’s nice to be in the latter stages of a slam again,” said Murray. “I’m happy with that. Obviously we want to do the best possible, but all you can do is prepare as best you can, which I certainly did over the past few weeks and months, and have given myself an opportunity. Maybe I won’t play well in a couple of days; maybe I play great. I don’t know. But I’ve given myself a good opportunity again, and hopefully I can use it to my advantage.”
This marks the eleventh time that Murray and Berdych will cross paths on the professional tour, with Berdych leading the series 6-3. The Czech No. 1 has won their two most recent encounters back in 2013 and considering his current form, will likely be the favourite in this riveting affair. However, Murray is never one to count out from a match, particularly at an event where he is a former three-time finalist.
Prediction: Andy Murray in Five Sets