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  • Australian Open, Day 12

Grand slam dunk for Murray

ESPN staff
January 27, 2012
Novak Djokovic defied fatigue to beat Andy Murray in five sets © Getty Images
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Djokovic denies determined Murray

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What They Said

Anything they can do...
Few thought Friday's semi-final could possibly live up to the spectacle that Roger Federer and Rafael produced on Thursday. But Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic served up a treat, with their incredible athleticism and refusal to accept defeat thrilling the crowds on Rod Laver Arena. When Murray broke back to keep himself in the match, the crowds were delighted - it may have been past 1am local time, but nobody wanted the match to end.

Slam dunk
A set down and trailing 2-1, easy points were hard to come by, but Murray was not going to hang around when he was presented with a point on a plate. When Djokovic could only manage to get his racket on a return, the Scot rushed to the net, leaping early and seemed to hang in the air before burying the smash.

Beeb bumps off Bargain Hunt
Having roared back from a set down, Murray was one set away from final after winning the third set on a tiebreak. Sensing a glorious victory, the BBC moved the match from BBC2 to BBC1 at the expense of Bargain Hunt. Perhaps feeling the pressure of playing in front of bigger audience, Murray lost four games on the swing, and despite fighting valiantly, eventually succumbing to a 3-6 6-3 7-6(4) 1-6 5-7 defeat.

Little drops of energy
With Murray struggling to keep himself in the match, his coach Ivan Lendl was spotted topping up Murray's water bottle with what looked like eye drops. Murray later revealed it was an energy drink, but despite displaying superhuman tendencies to battle fatigue, it could not help the Scot clinch victory as he surrendered to defeat in a shade under five hours.

Eyes like a Hawk
Murray may have lost the match, but there was nothing wrong with his eyesight as he made two successful challenges in quick succession. When his first serve was called out, Murray signalled to the umpire he wanted to consult Hawk Eye. The replay showed the serve was in, and the Scot was awarded an ace before successfully challenging the call when a forehand was deemed to have bounced out. However, as the match progressed, his eyesight appeared to deteriorated with fatigue, and three failed contests in the final set left him with unable to challenge later in the match.

Ivan Lendl was courtside to see Adam Pavlasek and Luke Saville in action © Getty Images
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Serious Scouting
It is not uncommon for a coach to do some reconnaissance work on their player's next opponent during an important tournament, but Andy Murray's new mentor, Ivan Lendl, evidently takes that part of the role very seriously. Lendl was spotted watching the boys' semi-final between Adam Pavlasek of the Czech Republic and Luke Saville of Australia before Murray's crucial semi against Novak Djokovic. Okay, perhaps he was simply taking an interest in the Czech's new breed of tennis stars, but Murray fans will no doubt hope he was storing the info away should the Brit ever take on one of the teenagers in the coming years.

Hitting a purple patch
Bethanie Mattek-Sands showed her usual colour during her mixed doubles semi-final win with partner Horia Tecau. The American is surely the first player to ever grace Rod Laver Arena sporting faded purple hair, a black cap, white singlet, knee-high black socks and eye black. In a look reminiscent of a wild badger, Mattek-Sands' fashion statement is certainly a long way from the Wimbledon whites one generally associates with the game.

Vik still a chocoholic
Victoria Azarenka moved to dispell nasty rumours her coach has banned her from eating chocolate ahead of the women's final in Melbourne. Azarenka was asked about her new diet in a pre-match press conference on Friday, and swiftly put an end to the idea that she no longer eats sweets, saying: "Oh, my God. My coach has such a serious face, and he likes to say some crazy stuff. Of course I eat chocolate. I mean, what girl doesn't eat chocolate?"

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