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Page last updated at 03:59 GMT, Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Australian Open 2012 day 10 as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times GMT)

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By Aimee Lewis

1153: Time for me to call it a day. Thanks as always for your contributions and don't forget that Andy Murray's semi-final against Novak Djokovic will be live on BBC2 from about 0830 GMT. Exciting times ahead, huh?

1151: That's the semi-final line ups done and dusted. Mike Henson will take you through the women's semi-finals on Thursday, which kicks into action with Kim Clijsters versus Victoria Azarenka before Maria Sharapova takes on Petra Kvitova. The evening match (Melbourne time anyway) on the main show court will be Roger Federer's semi-final ding-dong against Rafael Nadal. Take a look at the order of play if you don't believe me.

Elliot Grunwell on Twitter: "Semi predictions: Federer in 4 and murray in 5 (more in hope) #BBCTennis."

Twitter
Tom Bray on Twitter: "Such a gulf of quality in men's tennis between the top four & the rest, the 2012 grand slams - and the Olympics - should all be won by one of these guys."

Text in your views on 81111
Vikas via text on 81111: "It's going to be really intriguing in the semi finals. Novak will want Rafa to win, Rafa will want Andy to win, Roger will not mind either provided he gets past Rafa, where does that leave Andy? NERVOUS. "

1140: Interviewer Jim Courier asked Djokovic why he was breathing through his nose and the Serb gave the only answer he could, or any of us could, by saying: "As far as I know humans are supposed to breathe in from the nose." He then goes on to reveal that he wants to replicate last year's straight-sets demolition of Andy Murray. "I'm going to try to repeat the same game as last year," he says. "[Although] I'm going to need more than that. Andy's playing great and you can feel he's physically fit and eager to win his first Grand Slam. Hopefully we can have a packed house and perform the best possible tennis."

1133: "Already after a couple of games I was feeling 'wow this is going to be a long night'," admits Djokovic in the post-match interview. "You have to hang in there against Ferrer. I wasn't feeling very fresh and I just figured out I needed to step in and be close to the line because that's the only way I can win. After I won that second set it was a big mental advantage, momentum was on my side and I was very aggressive and it paid off.

1128: "He's just dismantled Ferrer towards the end of that set," says Jeremy Bates. "A bit of a strange match. We had everything in there. Some blinding tennis and again towards the end complete domination from the world number one."

The match is over
NOVAK DJOKOVIC BEATS DAVID FERRER 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-1

*Djokovic 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 Ferrer
Djokovic sends down a venomous ace to Ferrer's forehand to inch ever closer to victory and another unreturnable serve down the middle takes him to match point. And the Serb stylishly ends the match with a fabulous ace.
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*Djokovic 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 5-1 Ferrer
Not sure what I make of Mitch's text (below). I think I like it. Djokovic generously raises his racquet in appreciation of a fabulous crosscourt winner from Ferrer, but the Serb soon has break point and clinches the game with a whopper of a forehand down the line.
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Text in your views on 81111
Mitch, Edinbrugh via text on 81111: "Would be a bit of a 'Djok' if Murray had to beat Nole then play one of the greats. Are we not all 'Fed' up of him losing to Roger and we would be having a 'Raf' if we think he could outlast Nadal!"

Djokovic 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 4-1 *Ferrer
Djokovic, I'm told, is bidding to reach a seventh consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals. I reached the semi-finals three times in a row during my 'golden' school years (never made it to the final, though). Yep, thought that would impress... Anyway, Djokovic completes an easy hold with a fabulous lob over the diminutive Spaniard.
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*Djokovic 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 3-1 Ferrer
"What a difference in momentum that makes," says 5 live's Jeremy Bates. "If Djokovic can keep this up then it might well be the end of it." Oh, how Ferrer is probably ruing letting those two mini-breaks in the tie-break slip. A rejuvenated Djokovic is hitting winners from every angle and although the fifth seed manages to hold, his rival is in the ascendancy.
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Djokovic 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 3-0 *Ferrer
Djokovic rapidly rattles through that game, winning to love, and the finishing line, you sense, is upon us.
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*Djokovic 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 2-0 Ferrer
The defending champion seems back on song, sort of, as he pings a volley and forces Ferrer to net for two break points. The Serb sends one forehand beyond the baseline, but eventually puts the game in his back pocket by dominating Ferrer from the baseline.
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Twitter
Curly on Twitter: "TBH, I want Djoko to get through - Oz Open win would be far sweeter for Muzza if he beats world No.1 to do it"

Djokovic 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 1-0 *Ferrer
Two hours and 17 minutes have elapsed since the start of this game but, such is the drama, it's whizzed by. Ferrer has changed his top so is now in navy blue, which I'm told is currently on trend. "He's really letting us know how tired he is between points," says 5 live's Russell Fuller of Djokovic who wraps the opening game of the third set to love.
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Twitter
Tom Carver on Twitter: "If Djokovic does win this game, all the pressure will be on Andy Murray next round and not the defending champion!"

*Djokovic 6-4 7-6 (7-4) Ferrer
Ferrer earns a mini-break when Djokovic carelessly hits long, but we're back on serve after the Spaniard errors. Another wayward shot from Djokovic, though, restores Ferrer's mini-break before the changeover. Breathless, unpredictable stuff. Djokovic, in full flow, sends Ferrer hither and tither, the scampering Spaniard holds on until patience deserts him and his forehand sails long, ending a fabulous 22-shot rally. Edge of the seat stuff is this and Djokovic breaks free with four consecutive points to earn two set points. The first serve is long...second serve is good enough, though, and Ferrer's forehand sails long.
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Twitter
Samuel Jones on Twitter: "Let me on the website cause it's my 600 tweet? Can see Murray getting to the final again this year if he carries on his good form."

Djokovic 6-4 6-6 *Ferrer
Djokovic has only found the target with 48% of his serves, while Ferrer's stats, in the 70s, are far more impressive. Lady luck shines on the Spaniard as a fortunate net cord gifts him break point and the Serb overhits! We're in a tie-break! This set has more twists and turns than a double episode of Coronation Street.
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*Djokovic 6-4 6-5 Ferrer
Can I say 'oh la la' twice in live text commentary? I'm going to give it a go. Here we go - Oh la la! Djokovic opens up and produces an unstoppable winner down the line for 0-30 and another backhand winner, which finds the line by a whisker, earns the Serb break point and the apparently wounded world number one can now serve for the set when a whimper of a Ferrer forehand finds the net.
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Djokovic 6-4 5-5 *Ferrer
Djokovic is taking his time before launching down his bullets and he finishes the game with a stylish backhand winner down the line. Ferrer, like the rest of us, could only watch on and admire that one.
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Twitter
David McMillan on Twitter: "Djokovic will end this match on one leg but victorious, like a Serbian Karate Kid."

*Djokovic 6-4 4-5 Ferrer
Ferrer moves through the gears like a high-end sports car (insert car of choice, I am a girl after all) and closes the game to 15 with an ace down the middle. Djokovic now has to serve to stay in this topsy-turvy set.
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Djokovic 6-4 4-4 *Ferrer
The Serb aims a serve out wide to get him out of trouble at 30-30 and the world number one struggles through when Ferrer nets.
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Twitter
Andrew Williams on Twitter: "Nole is having to work ridiculously hard against Ferrer. If Ferrer wins, Murray has gone from the hardest draw to the easiest draw."

Twitter
Lee Smith on Twitter: "For Nadal & Nole to get where they are they've pushed their bodies too far, to me just shows Fed is more talented & the greatest."

*Djokovic 6-4 3-4 Ferrer
Ferrer wins that game to love. A roar of delight from the Spaniard, while an unhappy Djokovic trudges to his chair.
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Djokovic 6-4 3-3 *Ferrer
Ferrer reached the semi-finals of this tournament last year when he beat Rafael Nadal before losing to Andy Murray. Could he make it to the last four again? Don't forget to send me your thoughts. Tweet me @aimee_lou_lewis using the hashtag #BBCTennis or text in on 81111 (UK). Djokovic gingerly emerges from his chair, shoulders slightly hunched, and a lazy forehand gives Ferrer break point. Djokovic, at full stretch and seemingly unhampered by the dodgy hamstring, defends brilliantly to stay in the game and two spectacular crosscourt winners sees him over the line. Is he injured or isn't he?
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*Djokovic 6-4 2-3 Ferrer
Calm down, Murray fans, just calm down. Djokovic hasn't thrown the towel in yet as a pin-point lob from Djokovic draws gasps of admiration. Djokovic isn't looking comfortable, though, and a wild forehand from the Serb allows Ferrer to sneak ahead.
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Djokovic 6-4 2-2 *Ferrer
The merciless Ferrer isn't giving his opponent any respite, though, coming to the net to put away a shoulder-high volley for 30-30 and he then has break point when a careless Djokovic forehand sails long. And Ferrer breaks back! Djokovic looks in pain, dropping to his knees, grabbing his left hamstring, as he scampers in vain to retrieve a Ferrer winner.
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*Djokovic 6-4 2-1 Ferrer
Whistles and whoops from the crowd as Ferrer illuminates the floodlit court by scurrying to the net to pounce on a poor Djokovic drop shot. "The body language of the world number one isn't exuding confidence at the moment," so they say in the 5 live team. (I know you probably know but you can listen to the commentary online.) Ferrer is more successful with the drop volley, which earns him a comfortable hold against a limping Djokovic.
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Text in your views on 81111
Matt, Canterbury, via text on 81111: "Saw Ferrer at the World Tour Finals. He was aggressive, served well and his groundstrokes were powerful. Only seeing that man in spits and spurts so far, if he can raise his level he has a chance - Djok was rattled by Hewitt could be rattled today."

Djokovic 6-4 2-0 *Ferrer
Djokovic opens proceedings with the first ace of the match but Ferrer, sweating like a teenage boy at a disco, takes the game to deuce. His resistance ends when his forehand drops long and Djokovic pounces on a net cord to swat the ball down the line.
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*Djokovic 6-4 1-0 Ferrer
No sign of the onset of fatigue from the gambolling Djokovic at the start of this second set as he troubles the Spaniard's service game, sending Ferrer scurrying to and fro to take the game to deuce. It's exhausting just watching the pair jostling from the baseline and it's Djokovic who comes out on top, grabbing break point when the Spaniard brings a marathon rally to an end by finding the net.
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Twitter
Joseph Murphy on Twitter: "Why does everyone want a fatigued Djokovic to face Murray? Are you saying he is not good enough to beat a fresh one?"

Djokovic 6-4 *Ferrer
Djokovic, dressed in his Wimbledon whites (apart from a few artistic red and blue swirls down the side of his t-shirt), is sticking to his ploy of playing from the baseline and it's Ferrer who advances to the net to put away a risk-free smash for 15-30. Djokovic overpowers the stubborn Ferrer with some brutal groundstrokes before an uncharacteristic sloppy forehand gives Ferrer a sniff at deuce. "We're about 90% full at the Rod Laver arena now," say the gang in the 5 live commentary box and those lucky spectators witness a break-back point for Ferrer. Cripes. A backhand winner down the line from the Serb and danger is averted. And the stuttering Serb brings the set to a joyful conclusion with a trademark crosscourt winner.
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*Djokovic 5-4 Ferrer
The games are being completed a tad quicker now we're nearing the end of the first set. Ferrer must hold to stay in contention and the Spaniard's serve is looking solid, holding to love, although it has come a little too late for this set you would have thought.
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Djokovic 5-3 *Ferrer
In the time it takes me to read a couple of your tweets and texts, Djokovic wraps up that game to love. A few minutes is all I ask, Novak.
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Twitter
Thomas Rendle on Twitter: "Expecting a Federer-Djokovic final at Aus Open and that would be a tough one to call."

Twitter
Jack Emery on Twitter: "Rooting for Ferrer today, but I think Djokovic will probably have too much for him. At least try and tire him out ready for Murray."

*Djokovic 4-3 Ferrer
That was by far Ferrer's most comfortable service game as he holds to love, much to the delight of the spectators.
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Djokovic 4-2 *Ferrer
Ferrer, who is on an eight-match winning streak, worries the 24-year-old Serb a tad by edging 15-30 ahead with Djokovic's first serve faltering slightly, but the Spaniard's forehand bounces beyond the baseline and the world number one digs in to maintain his break advantage.
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*Djokovic 3-2 Ferrer
How long can Ferrer withstand the Djokovic onslaught? He goes 0-30 behind, but produces a fantastic winner on the turn to prevent the top seed from gaining three break points. Hang on, though. Oh la la is what I say as an exquisite lob from the Serb finds the corner for his seventh break point of the match and this time he's clinical, taking his chance with another stunning crosscourt winner.
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Djokovic 2-2 *Ferrer
Changeover completed and Djokovic explodes from the blocks like an Olympic sprinter, holding serve to love to quickly put the pressure back on his obdurate opponent.
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*Djokovic 1-2 Ferrer
A first Ferrer volley from the net leaves Djokovic almost statuesque on the baseline, but Djokovic takes a swing to hit a beautiful winner down the line for 30-30. It's tit-for-tat out there as Djokovic drags the game to deuce. The Serb, though, squanders three break points and lifts his arms in frustration. Once again Ferrer slogs it out to avert the danger and we're still on serve after nearly 20 minutes of play. Djokovic has already squandered six break points, by the way.
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Djokovic 1-1 *Ferrer
Ferrer hasn't a bad record against the Serb, with the 29-year-old trailing 6-5, although Djokovic has been the master on the hard courts and a solid service game sees him restore parity.
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*Djokovic 0-1 Ferrer
Empty seats to be seen out there as David Ferrer starts the match. First point to Djokovic, who ends a lengthy rally with a wonderful forehand into the corner. Plenty of baseline action, plenty of slicing, with the world number one coming out on top, earning three break points after a 34-shot rally. The Spaniard saves all three, though, and manages to hold.
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0839: You can listen to this match live (web only) by clicking the link at the right of this page. Jonathan Overend and co will expertly guide you through proceedings. And while the players are knocking up on a shaded Rod Laver Arena it gives me time to ask you to get in touch, just for fun. Tweet me @aimee_lou_lewis using the hashtag #BBCTennis or send me a text on 81111 (UK).

0834: As I limber up my fingers for several hours' of live text commentary, Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer are making their way from the locker room for the start of their much-anticipated quarter-final. Ferrer out there more in hope than expectation, you would have thought, with top seed Djokovic the overwhelming favourite. But Ferrer is ranked fifth in the world and beat the Serb at the ATP World Finals towards the end of last year so write him off at your peril. If you were writing him off that is.

Twitter
The ArmchairPundit on Twitter: "Can't see the semis being anything other than another top 4 showdown. Congrats Andy Murray for 3rd semi in a row at the AO."

0825: That's Andy Murray through to the semi-finals without hiccup. Who will join him, I hear you ask. Patience, my friends, patience. If you could manually refresh, though, just so you know who is typing this gobbledygook and has the gumption to call you a friend.

By Mike Henson

0652: That is all from me for this morning, but Aimee Lewis will back in the hotseat in around 90 minutes time to give you the skinny on Novak Djokovic v David Ferrer. The winner will be Murray's foe for Friday's semi-final. Bye for now.

Twitter
Phil McAllister on Twitter: "All Murray needs now is a 5 setter in the Djoko v Ferrer match to cap a perfect day."

Twitter
Daily Mail tennis correspondent Mike Dickson on Twitter: "Murray through to 7th Slam semi-final out of 9, 5th straight. 63 63 61 but has to serve better v big boys (if you're being picky)."

0642: That makes it five successive Grand Slam semi-finals for the British number one. He's getting closer, but does that performance give you confidence he can take the final step? Certainly the three men above him in the seedings won't offer the comfortable platform that a fatigued Nishikori did for Murray to slam away winners.

Andy Murray: "Most of the fun points he was winning so I was try to keep them as short and boring as possible. I need to serve better, but the returning was good so that is a positive."

It's good news for a Briton
Murray 6-3 6-3 6-1 Nishikori
Nishikori's mind is willing but the hammys are kicking up some complaints. He struggles to get round a forehand and the resultant shot into the net gives Murray match point at 40-30. Murray gets a little bit too clever for his own good as he attempts to finish with a flourish and Nishikori punishes a lax drop shot with a precise lob. Murray finally pins his man with a rocket serve which Nishikori can't scrape back.
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The match is over
Andy Murray
ANDY MURRAY BEATS KEI NISHIKORI 6-3 6-3 6-1 TO MAKE AUSTRALIAN OPEN SEMI-FINALS

It's good news for a Briton
*Murray 6-3 6-3 5-1 Nishikori
Still plenty left in Murray's tanks as he tears about the court and he is a whisker away from whipping a Nishikori drop-shot into the open court for 15-40. No matter though as the Scot dinks over a cute drop-volley and absolutely flattens a forehand return past Nishikori to take the game with a break. Murray to serve for the game, set and match next.
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Murray 6-3 6-3 4-1 Nishikori*
A solid hold from Murray and this win is almost in the bank with Nishikori tiring fast.
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It's good news for a Briton
*Murray 6-3 6-3 3-1 Nishikori
No reverse gear for Murray who bounces back onto the front foot and responds to the break against him with one of his own. And for added points this one was to love and sealed with a loving forehand out wide.
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It's bad news for a Briton
Murray 6-3 6-3 2-1 Nishikori*
Scratch that for the time being. The Murray serve falters as it delivers two double faults, he recovers one break point but perhaps with his concentration wavering, Nishikori ties up the second.
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It's good news for a Briton
*Murray 6-3 6-3 2-0 Nishikori
This might be a slightly swifter affair than the previous two sets. Murray racks up a break as Nishikori charges to the net behind a nothing sort of shot and is left groping in vain at a bullet down the line.
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Murray 6-3 6-3 1-0 Nishikori*
Murray crashes down a trio of big first serves and clinches the game with a dreamy angled forehand on the half-volley that floats from his baseline, inches over the net and taps down well out of Nishikori's reach.
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It's good news for a Briton
*Murray 6-3 6-3 Nishikori
Murray is inching in and unloading with big groundstrokes every time that Nishikori comes up short. It is working more often than not, but there are few errors in there as he weaves his way to deuce. After escaping from a first break point with a slightly sketchy volleyed winner, Nishikori coughs up another as he attempts to change the direction and pace of an exchange of forehands. No way out this time and Murray has the second set in his holdall.
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Murray 6-3 5-3 Nishikori*
A straightforward hold for Murray as Nishikori's forehand strays well over the baseline in the game's final points.
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Twitter
Hair of Fellaini on Twitter: "Murray needs to stay solid now. Nishikori will start going all out for everything and we want Andy to win in 3."

*Murray 6-3 4-3 Nishikori
Nishikori holds for the loss of just one point. He is still lurking with intent in this set and any wobble in Murray's concentration, and it wouldn't be the first time, may be seized upon.
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Murray 6-3 4-2 Nishikori*
A lasso of a forehand from Nishikori and Murray's misguided backhand give the Japanese a sniff at 30-30. A pounding backhand moves Murray to game point, but Nishikori is let off the hook with a basic error from Murray before he closes out from deuce. Murray is still a little short of the heights hit by the likes of Federer and Djokovic this week for my money. Plenty of good attacking instinct, but the execution still awry at times.
* denotes NEXT to serve

*Murray 6-3 3-2 Nishikori
Murray pings a running forehand against the grain to pull up 30-30 before a swooshing inside-out shot off the same flank gives him a break point. Nishikori defends stoutly though and Murray is less accurate as he tries to find a way through this time. A serve up around the ears of Murray seals the game.
* denotes NEXT to serve

Text in your views on 81111
From Pete in London: "These Aussie open times are really playing havoc with my body clock...trying desperately to stay awake listening to 5live but drifting in and out of sleep during this match. Hopefully Andy remains more focused!"

Murray 6-3 3-1 Nishikori*
No wobbles this time from Murray as he holds to love. Plenty of vim and vigour from the Scot who scampers forward to pick up a Nishikori drop-shot before patting away a winning volley. Nicely done.
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It's good news for a Briton
BBC Radio 5 Live
*Murray 6-3 2-1 Nishikori
Murray snaps back immediately with a break of his own as his forehand winner survives Nishikori's Hawk Eye challenge with ease. A quick manual refresh should drag some 5 live commentary kicking and screaming to the top right of this page for UK users after some technical problems this morning. Sorry about that.
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It's bad news for a Briton
Murray 6-3 1-1 Nishikori*
Nishikori shows the sort of dogged determination that got him through two five-set matches en route to this stage as he battles to 15-40 with some whippy returns. Murray bounces back to see them both off but is back in trouble as Nishikori drills past him on the backhand wing. It is third time lucky for the Japanese as his forehand gasps over the net cord and drops meekly on Murray's side of the court. Even stevens.
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It's good news for a Briton
*Murray 6-3 1-0 Nishikori
Murray off to a perfect start. Nishikori takes the first two points but Murray is buzzing about with purpose and matches him with a pair of his own. Nishikori nets a backhand slice to give Murray an early chance to break in the second set, no cigar this time for Murray, but a forehand dumped into the net means there is another opportunity just round the corner. Murray hungrily gobbles up the second serve and forces a fatal mistake from the Nishikori racket.
* denotes NEXT to serve

Twitter
Richard Singapore on Twitter: ""Project 45" to fade, @andy_murray to get stronger and get a decent workout, over in 3 sets. Hopefully... ."

It's good news for a Briton
Andy Murray
Murray 6-3 Nishikori*
A quickfire hold to love and Murray takes his seat after a job well done in this first set. Plenty of aggression in his groundstrokes and Nishikori, who has clung to his coattails manfully, might struggle to stay the pace.
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*Murray 5-3 Nishikori
We'll have to wait. Two break and set points for Murray, but Nishikori claws back both before getting the benefit of a hefty net cord. A deserved bit of fortune for the Japenese there and he takes the game as Murray can't get enough on a fierce first serve and sends a flimsy forehand return into the net.
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Murray 5-2 Nishikori*
Where did that come from? Nishikori climbs into a backhand return to send the scoreboard ticking over to 0-40. Three break points then. First saved with a big serve, second back in the bag with a forehand winner, and the third recovered as he presses into the court and forces Nishikori to blaze long. A steely bit of focus from the Scot and he batters his way through the next two points as well. Nishikori sends his racket spinning skywards in disgust at the missed chance. Former British number one Jeremy Bates points out on BBC 5 live that Murray's serve stats are looking fairly tidy. 85% of first serves in, with 75% of points won off it.
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*Murray 4-2 Nishikori
More energy-sapping stuff for Nishikori. A backhand kicks out of his reach to bring up 0-30 but we move back to all square as Murray attempts a front-facing, on-the-run hot-dog shot from the baseline and swipes only thin air. Could have been painful that. Nishikori pushes long, and decides against a Hawk Eye challenge, to give Murray break point. Some cracking forehand angles salvage that one but a dismal drop-shot dies in the netting to offer up another. He is blowing hot and cold Nishikori, and a nice backhand volley repels Murray's attempted pass to save the second break. A backhand slice floats long to give Murray a third chance to break, and this time it is the serve that digs Nishikori out of trouble. Another big tee-off and he has finally seen off the danger to win his second game of the set. It was hard work though.
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Murray 4-1 Nishikori*
Cheeky stuff from Nishikori as a between-the-legs lob has Murray back-pedalling fast and he wins the rally with a fierce forehand. A Murray backhand drifts long to give Nishikori 0-30. The Japanese misses a second overhead though and a Murray ace takes the game to deuce. The Scot gets over the line via a drop-volley that rolls daintily along the tape before dropping over Nishikori's side of the net.
* denotes NEXT to serve

*Murray 3-1 Nishikori
Nishikori is still struggling to get himself into this match and slips and slides to 15-40 to give Murray two break points. But the Japanese rouses himself to smash away the first and then Murray gets a little over-eager as he pushes a forehand long to waste the second. That gives the Japanese fans in the crowd something to cheer about and the decibel levels rise again as Murray nets to give their man the game and get him on the scoreboard after 23 minutes.

Murray 3-0 Nishikori*
After that commanding break, Murray commits a couple of basic errors en route to 15-40 and two break-back points for Nishikori. But all Nishikori's points have come from mistakes from the Scot and the world number 26 doesn't look like he has the shots to punish Murray any further. In fact his body language suggest he is still feeling the effects of his marathon five-set win over Tsonga in the heat of the day in the last round. Murray quickly sorts himself out and sorts himself out to take the game and a three-game lead. A quick manual refresh should remove the scoreboard error in the previous game, apologies.

It's good news for a Briton
*Murray 2-0 Nishikori
If there are any nerves for Nishikori in the biggest match of his career so far, he is hiding it well. A big ace out wide moves him swiftly through to 40-0. Murray gets his teeth into some meaty groundstrokes though, getting his toes up to the baseline and pounding his way to deuce and then forcing a break point. Nishikori saves that one but flops a flabby forehand long to offer up another. Murray has Nishikori on the run off his second serve, but the Japanese is giving Murray a taste of his own medicine with some classic counter-punching. To and fro they go for 42 shots, with Nishikori racking up some serious mileage as he shuttles back and forth on the baseline, before Murray's slice backhand finally evades Nishikori to take the break. That will hurt for Nishikori who has spent far longer out on court than Murray has so far in Melbourne.

Murray 1-0 Nishikori*
A mammoth rally, I'm guessing here, but about 25 shots-worth, ends with Murray slapping away a smash to move on to 40-15. The next point is decidedly shorter as Murray pings down his first ace to tie up the opening game.

0416: Quick fashion check: Murray rocking an orange shirt with blue flashes while Nishikori goes for patriotic red and white. Right, let's roll.

BBC Radio 5 Live
0413: The wise words of Jonathan Overend and Jeremy Bates have just started on BBC Radio 5 live. That audio should be available for UK users in the top right of this page. Lovely.

0411: The players are out on court knocking up. Keep them, and me, company by firing over your opinions, analysis and off-topic observations. Tweet me @mikehensonbbc using the hashtag #BBCTennis or pop out a text on 81111 (UK).

0409: My favourite fact though? He goes by the totally-uncatchy nickname of "Project 45". Apparently the aim to get him up to that number in the rankings, higher than any previous Japanese man, was behind it. The fact that you can't add "ie" or "y" to either or his names probably helped as well.

Kei Nishikori
0405: So who is Kei Nishikori? Well, he is world number 26, ousted French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last round and, like Murray, has worked with uber-coach Brad Gilbert. Murray reckons his fast start to the year may be down to some extra sessions pumping iron down the gym as well.

0400: Welcome one and all. Andy Murray is warming up nicely down under with just one dropped set in his first four games at the Australian Open. With new coach Ivan Llendl in the wings to add a bit of oomph, he is aiming to go one better than the runners-up spots he achieved in 2010 and 2011. Next up is Kei Nishikori for a place in the last four.




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see also
Tennis on the BBC
20 Dec 12 |  Tennis
Murray to face Djokovic in semis
26 Jan 12 |  Tennis
Nadal sets up Federer semi-final
25 Jan 12 |  Tennis
Djokovic beats determined Hewitt
23 Jan 12 |  Tennis
Murray through as opponent quits
29 Jan 12 |  Tennis
Men's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Tennis
WTA Tour latest
21 May 10 |  Live scores
Order of play
15 Jan 12 |  Tennis
Men's draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Australian Open coverage
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis


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