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Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Andy Murray v Marin Cilic as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times GMT)

To get involved text us your views & comments on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). (Not all contributions can be used)

By Caroline Cheese

1200: And I'm done. Thank you, as always, for your brilliant messages (even during what I'm now calling picometre-gate). I'll see you back here tomorrow I hope. Britain's Andy Murray is through to the Australian Open final. Just thought I'd type that again. Feels kinda nice. Bye for now.

1155: You'll also be able to watch a replay of Murray-Cilic later today Online and on the Red Button. Tomorrow, Roger Federer meets Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the right to meet Murray in the final. That's at 0830 GMT (coverage: Red Button, Online, 5 live Sports Extra).

1149: I imagine you might want to know when the final is? Yes? Right. Pens at the ready: it's on Sunday at 0830 GMT. It will be live on BBC One or Two, Online and on either 5 live or 5 live Sports Extra. I'd say don't miss it, but I know you wouldn't dare. I don't think I've ever seen a match in which it completely turned on one, spectacular, lights-out rally such as the one Murray played to break at 2-2 in the second set. You will be seeing replays of that in the days to come. Many of them.

Murray on playing Tsonga or Federer: "It'll be important to play a solid match. Both of them can go through phases when they play incredible tennis. I'm going to need to not leave the ball short because they can both dictate play."

Murray on that shot in the second set: "I had a break point and I just managed to chase it down... Honestly? I actually practice that shot quite a lot in training! [On seeing the replay] I never realised my mouth was so big!"

Andy Murray: "He showed incredible guts. He played three five set matches coming into this, and he made it so tough for me. He was clearly tired in the end but we're going to have some more great matches in the future."

It's good news for a Briton
1143: ANDY MURRAY THROUGH TO AUSTRALIAN OPEN FINAL

Murray 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-2 Cilic
Ha! What a way to do it. Cilic finds a vicious angled return, but Murray sprints to his right and whips a forehand round the post and down the line. His second piece of genius in the match, and he stands briefly to listen to the roar of the crowd ringing in his ears. I don't blame him. He quickly moves on to two match points, but he only needs one. He is Britain's first Australian Open finalist since 1977.

Murray *3-6 6-4 6-4 5-2 Cilic
Well done, Marin Cilic, holding to 30 to force Murray to serve it out. And apparently you can't move in Dubai for pigeons.

Murray 3-6 6-4 6-4 5-1* Cilic
You can tell this match is almost done, we've sparked up a discussion about the merits (or not) of the iPad or whatever it's called. Just an unwieldy iPhone is the verdict. Murray holds comfortably and maybe he can start to think about that final...

Murray *3-6 6-4 6-4 4-1 Cilic
Well, that's just mean, Murray keeping the Croat on the end of a string as he sends him scrambling this way and that before finally deciding to pull the trigger. Cilic is trying to keep the points short and he gets to 40-15, but throws in another double - and that's a real dagger to the heart, Murray's running forehand clipping the net and bouncing over Cilic's outstretched racquet. Deuce... and now a break point and he takes it with a sweeping forehand into the corner. Another massive "come oooooonnnnn" towards his coaching team and he's now so, so close to a place in Sunday's final now. Lots of people called 'Andrew Murray' texting in now, very pleased with themselves. Don't think you can all have that job in Park Royal. And yeah, good question, Rob in London. Do they have pigeons in Dubai?

Murray 3-6 6-4 6-4 3-1* Cilic
Booing at the changeover. No idea why. Wags in the crowd, I suspect. Tut. Anyway, Murray looking to press home the advantage, and when Cilic goes for too much on the first point, he yells a "come on". Cilic into the net now, but Murray comes up with a spectacular pass. A hold to love, and this is a crucial game coming up for Cilic if this isn't going to run away from him.

From Ben in Park Royal, via text: "I just interviewed a guy called Andrew Murray. Looks like he's getting the job too. Omens are flying around today."

Murray *3-6 6-4 6-4 2-1 Cilic
Brilliant second serve from Cilic, landing wide and kicking up, leaving Murray no chance on the return. He leads 40-15, but a trademark bit of slicing and dicing around the net from Murray pegs him back. Cilic flops a tired forehand into the net and it's deuce. Poor footwork from the Croat. Murray gets to break point and Cilic blasts a second serve very, very long to hand Murray the initiative.

From Dave, Dubai, via text: "Just had a pigeon land on my window ledge with an Andy Murray hairstyle - this has to be a good omen! Bit freaked out though. Off to get my camera."

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From Rob, Newbury, via text: "Are they all picoing on you, Ms Cheese? That should be an absolute nano."

Murray 3-6 6-4 6-4 1-1* Cilic
If you're looking for signs of tiredness, there's one: Cilic gets to a drop shot, but he doesn't bend those knees quite low enough, sticking his response in the net. He's got a long way to bend, to be fair to the big man. Murray pegged back from 40-0 to 40-30 before unleashing on a couple of huge forehands, one to each corner. If you were listening to radio commentary, never fear, I've got my best person on it. Well, a person anyway.

Murray *3-6 6-4 6-4 0-1 Cilic
Another fresh shirt for Murray at the changeover. White - for those of you interested in these things. Cilic holds to 15 to open the fourth set. YOU CAN STOP TEXTING ABOUT PICOMETRES NOW. I get the message.

Tim Henman on BBC Two: "I think this is where fatigue will play a part. It's not a quick match. They've already been on court for two and a half hours and Cilic is having to cover a lot of court. It's looking much better for Andy right now."

It's good news for a Briton
Murray 3-6 6-4 6-4 0-0* Cilic
Cagey baseline rally and Cilic blinks first, going long to give Murray two set points. Easy. Murray puts the serve out wide before threading the forehand down the line. I know who my money's on but I won't say...

From anon via text: "A 'nano millimetre' is a picometre to be correct!"

John Lloyd
John Lloyd on BBC Two: "Forget about that last game. One point at a time. The old cliche. Get up up that first serve and dictate the points, as he has been doing."

Murray *3-6 6-4 5-4 Cilic
Murray's backhand does the damage and he delivers the final blow with a delicate drop shot. Cilic in trouble again at 15-30 - and now he's in deep trouble as Murray's backhand again gets Cilic on the run, the Scot cutting the pass off at the net. Two set points. Sterling work from Cilic though and he makes Murray serve for it. Where's your money?

Murray 3-6 6-4 5-3* Cilic
Many apologies for the pause in updates. Technical problems. No such problems for Murray... although he has to dig out a magnificent volley to take the first point. Cilic starting to look a bit "leggy" again. The Croat turns to HawkEye at game point, but the ball was a nano-millimetre wide.

It's good news for a Briton
Murray *3-6 6-4 4-3 Cilic
Another miraculous shot from Murray to get the crowd involved, running the width of the court before sending a forehand pass crosscourt. It's 0-30 and now he has two break points. Just one he needs, Cilic putting a desperate drop shot into the net. Can he hang on this time?

Murray 3-6 6-4 3-3* Cilic
Murray rattles into a 40-0 lead, but is briefly pegged back by a super forehand winner down the line. Murray comes through though.

Murray *3-6 6-4 2-3 Cilic
Murray's level has dropped a bit, Cilic appears to have rediscovered some of the form he showed in the first two and a half sets. I think that means this match in the balance. Cilic holds to 30.

It's bad news for a Briton
Murray 3-6 6-4 2-2* Cilic
Ah. Sloppy game. Murray's first serve deserts him and Cilic engineers two break-back points. Saves one with a good, deep volley and the second with a big serve down the middle. Cilic pounces on a second serve to force a third and now the Croat is bouncing on his toes, sensing blood. This time, he rifles a pass crosscourt and Murray will have to start all over again.

It's good news for a Briton
Murray *3-6 6-4 2-1 Cilic
Is Cilic starting to feel the effects of approaching 20 hours on court? He opens the game with a double fault, and now he's 0-30 down and in a spot of bother. Forehand over the baseline leaves him facing two break points and Murray fires a return right at Cilic's feet to force the error. "Come oooooooooon," roars the Scot. It's on his racquet now.

Murray 3-6 6-4 1-1* Cilic
With Murray's groundstrokes finding their length more often than not, Cilic is not hitting those lights-out winners nearly as often as he was. Murray holds to love. He's only lost one point on serve since breaking in the second set.

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From Bex at work in Cardiff, via text: "Come on Andy! My boss has turned the radio off so i'm stuck looking at the live feed secretly as i pretend to do my work! This is a nice distraction to the saga of my new boiler!"

Murray *3-6 6-4 0-1 Cilic
Murray's smiling when Cilic's serve is called in by a millimetre... but he's not smiling for long, because the umpire calls it an ace when Murray seemed to have a play on it. Good start by Cilic, the serve firing again, and he holds to 15.

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From Patrick from Belfast, via text: "A co-worker saw the Jacob's Creek sponsor around Rod Laver and asked what it was. I convinced her it was the Australian version of Dawson's Creek. Yes, it's mean. But yes, I'm proud."

It's good news for a Briton
Murray 3-6 6-4 0-0* Cilic
Cheeky. Murray moves to 40-0 with a delicious drop half-volley. He ruins his chances of a third love service game in a row with a backhand slice into the net. "Focus," he tells himself. And he does, a big serve and a forehand winner wrapping up the set. I'm putting the panic button away... for now.

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From Chris via text: "Andy, shoutin at u from my office in glasgow. COME ON U CAN DO IT."

Murray *3-6 5-4 Cilic
Murray gives the crowd a chuckle as he sprints the width of the court in a vain attempt to reach a Cilic smash... and runs out of the stadium and down the tunnel. He does return, although it's not long before he's heading back to the chair. He'll have to serve this out.

Murray 3-6 5-3* Cilic
First serve firing and Murray holds to love for the second time in a row. Pressure right back on Cilic.

Murray *3-6 4-3 Cilic
Could that be crucial? Murray makes it seven points in a row with a forehand pass crosscourt and he looks set to run away the set. The run is broken and after he earns four more break points, Cilic holds on.

Murray 3-6 4-2* Cilic
Murray with his first break of the match, but that piece of magic won't mean anything if he can't hold here... But Murray is starting to fire now, picking up a low backhand and whizzing it down the line. Stunning. Leading 40-0, he plays quite a poor drop shot, and Cilic forces a defensive lob - but belts a volley long. All suddenly going the Scot's way.

It's good news for a Briton
Murray *3-6 3-2 Cilic
Murray is trying to find some inspiration from somewhere. After winning the first point, he jogs to the other side of the court shouting: "Come on, come on now..." Cilic responds with a couple of sizzling forehands. Murray now constantly grumbling to his coaching team. Two wonderfully-timed backhand half-volleys off the baseline make it 30-30, and now a beefy backhand return forces Cilic to net. A break point. UNBELIEVABLE!!! Murray is out of the point when Cilic's forehand clatters the net and dribbles over, but he gets there, stretches for a volley, runs back for a lob, spins around and sends a quite outstanding forehand pass down the line. Lordy goodness. The crowd are on their feet, and Murray is punching the air and bellowing...

Murray 3-6 2-2* Cilic
Murray winces and holds his lower back after a forehand hits the net, something he has been doing throughout the tournament. But Cilic has taken his finger off the trigger temporarily and Murray holds to 15.

John Lloyd
John Lloyd on BBC Two: "Cilic is dictating play, getting Murray on the run all the time. He's got to get better length on the ball, maybe even take the pace off, get some more height on the ball. At the moment, the pace is just overwhelming him. The serve is brutal and Murray is not reading it at all."

Murray *3-6 1-2 Cilic
Cilic is playing well up the court, feeding very happily off the short stuff that Murray is sending him. A perfect serve and volley takes him to 40-15 and an unreturnable serve seals it. Cilic looking very comfortable.


From Tom, Bournemouth, via text: "Murray will always start slowly but get better with the game as the opponent wears himself out. Hang in there Murray!"

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From Simon via text: "Looks like Andy's throwing in another of those anti-climatic performances. Hope I'm wrong."

Murray 3-6 1-1* Cilic
Exasperated groans from the crowd as Murray plants a desperate drop shot into the bottom of the net. It's 0-30 and I'm starting to look for that panic button... Well-constructed point now, putting away a volley and trying to rev himself up with a "come on". Mum Judy looks on encouragingly. Another good point, this time dominating from the baseline. A brutal backhand down the line makes it game point, but now one in the net and it's deuce. Cilic should earn a break point but slams a routine forehand into the net. Murray survives, just.

Murray *3-6 0-1 Cilic
"We shouldn't hit the panic button," says Tim Henman on BBC Two. OK... Perhaps a change of shirt will do the trick. Murray's switched to a white shirt now, the one he ended his match against Nadal wearing. But Cilic's serve is enormous, and Murray can't get anything going here. He flops a backhand into the net, and looks very disconsolate as he walks to the chair.

Murray 3-6 0-0* Cilic
More trouble as Murray loops a backhand into the trams to go 0-30 down. Tries a cheeky serve-volley now, but it's a difficult volley and he nets it. Three set points for Cilic, who only needs one, firing a forehand into the corner. Eek. That's the first set Murray has dropped in the tournament.

Murray *3-5 Cilic
"Red Hot Cilic Peppers" says a banner in the crowd. See what they've done there. Ace out wide and it's a comfortable hold for the Croat. Murray, who seems a bit flat to me, will serve to stay in the set.

Twitter
Greg Rusedski on Twitter: "Stay calm everyone. That's why I said four sets. Cilic playing well. Murray can't let him dictate like that."

Murray 3-4* Cilic
Better. Murray swings an ace out wide - his second of the game - to come through the game for the loss of just one point.

Murray *2-4 Cilic
Crikey, this is a gruelling match already. Cilic's serve takes him into a 30-0 lead, but Murray pegs him back and then earns a break-back point with some sterling defensive work followed by a superb forehand. He has a second serve to look at... but goes long with the return. Forehand into the net from Cilic and Murray has a second chance but again he drops a forehand too short, and Cilic takes control of the point. Mis-hit forehand from Cilic... Surely this time? No. Massive netcord for the Croat, and the ball just dribbles over, leaving Murray no chance. Against Nadal, Murray went down a break early and broke straight back. Not this time.

John Lloyd
John Lloyd on BBC Two: "Cilic is taking the change of pace very well. He's the one with the bigger weapons, he's getting Murray out of position often, which I didn't expect. Cilic looks sharp, aggressive."

Murray 2-3* Cilic
A real struggle for Murray. Two careless forehands into the net and Cilic has 0-30. Murray has control of the point, gliding into the net to put away the volley - but it's far too careful, Cilic passing crosscourt to earn three break points. Cilic nets the return on the first, Murray comes up with a perfect volley on the second, before Cilic puts a loose forehand over the baseline. Murray gets to game point with a gorgeous lob over the 6ft 6ins Croat, but he still can't close it out. Cilic uses his forehand to set up an easy volley and has another break point. Good time to bring out your first ace of the night. More great net play and Cilic has a fifth break point and this time, Murray wallops a forehand very, very long. Murray needs to find his first serve, and stopping hitting his forehand so short. So says an armchair observer (not literally).

Murray *2-2 Cilic
Still people filing in to Rod Laver Arena, and that causes a slight delay to the opening point. Cilic then balloons a mis-hit backhand miles wide. Return error from Murray though and we're back to 15-15, but Cilic now sprays a routine forehand into the trams. Looks like a good serve down the middle from Cilic, but Murray goes to HawkEye and he's right - but Cilic wins the point with a rasping, inside-out forehand. He holds to 30.

Murray 2-1* Cilic
Cilic will look to attack Murray's second serve, and it brings him two points in the game, but the Brit holds to 30. Couple of warning signs there though.

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From Dr Nailsbittentowick, via text: "On the bus to work. Considering getting off and pulling a sickie. Patients can treat themselves for a day!"

Murray *1-1 Cilic
And it's Cilic who seems the most nervous, volleying too short to allow Murray to make the pass. Two break points. Murray almost snatches the second. His forehand hits the net, but Cilic comes up with a stunning reaction volley, before plonking the response into the open court. Cilic survives.

Murray 1-0* Cilic
Bizarre opening point, the pair exchanging cagey groundstrokes before Cilic steps on a forehand. Murray sends up the defensive lob, but Cilic's smash is soooo tentative, Murray slapping the pass crosscourt. Murray beats Cilic at the net to move to 40-15 before closing out with an unreturnable serve. Few nerves out there I reckon.
* denotes next to serve

0839: Off we go then. Murray, in his blue shirt and white shorts, to serve first.

Twitter
From mokkatutu on Twitter: "Who has the guts to face Jim Courier for interview? This may affect the outcome of the match... Go Muzza don't worry about it."

From Bernard in Hong Kong, sharing the British nation's inability to work, via text: "To Paul in Edinburgh: I can assure you, from a non-British person's point of view, that Andy will be fine today, so that he can proceed to being beaten by Federer in four sets in the final."

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From Pip Gee via text: "I am in a Brisbane city office on a sultry evening. In a neighbouring park, a pipe band has just started. Even the Aussies are with us!"

0834: Oh here we go, BBC Two saves the day by replaying those pre-match interviews. And thank goodness, because they are explosive, I can tell you. "So far I'm feeling good," roars Cilic. "Hopefully it's going to be good on court as well." Murray fires back: "It's going to be a tough one. He's a really good player and he's had some big wins this week, but I'm feeling confident."

0831: Out come the players and a decent reception from a nearly-full Rod Laver Arena for both of them. Sheesh, I feel nervous.


0827: I can see the pre-match interviews in the tunnel, but I can't hear them. Frustrating. I can tell you that Murray looked very relaxed and smiley. Yes, smiley. OK, time for you to give this page a manual refresh for the live video streaming and 5 live commentary (UK only). If you're not in the UK, you're stuck with me. Deal with it. At least the weather's probably better.


Andy Murray: "I want to win the tournament - and potentially I'm six sets away from doing that. I want to win more than one Grand Slam title, but the first one will be the toughest. Marin's come through a couple of tough ones and will go for it. But it's important for me to stay focused. Then, maybe, his head will go down a little bit. But he might be good for three or four sets and if he plays his best then the first few sets will be really tough."

0825: No, Paul, I don't think you are alone. Thing is, it's just been going a bit too well, hasn't it? I don't think British tennis fans will ever shake the fear that something is sure to go wrong. I blame Goran Ivanisevic.

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From Paul, trying to work but failing in Edinburgh, via text: "Am I the only one who has a feeling that Andy might come unstuck today? I really hope I'm wrong."

Twitter
From Glimiril on Twitter: "A part of me wants a stress free morning, another wants a great match, so I'll settle for 6-0 x 3 with great shots instead;)"

0817: And let's not forget that John Lloyd was the last British man to reach the Australian Open final. The Essex-born serve-volleyer went down in five sets against Vitas Gerulatis in 1977, which was of course a vintage year for British tennis. In fact, it was the last vintage year for British tennis.

More from Lloyd: "I was chatting to Marin Cilic just now and he was so relaxed. It was like he was about to play a park match. It's amazing. They're just so used to playing these big matches."

John Lloyd on BBC 5 live: "I think Murray will come through. It will be tough. He may drop the first set perhaps but I think it'll be a reasonably comfortable match. The mistake he made in losing to Cilic at the US Open was being very passive. But he also has to be careful, because Cilic feeds off speed."

Twitter
From Pistol_Tweet on Twitter: "Will Andy Murray ever have a better chance to win a Grand Slam? I say no, although I said the same about City last night."

0808: What could work in Murray's favour - aside from the fact that he has been in the form of his life in Melbourne - is that while the Scot has spent about 10 hours on court getting to the semis, Cilic took 18 hours. Only one of his wins - over Fabrice Santoro - was in straight sets. He needed four to overcome Stan Wawrinka and went the distance against Aussie Bernard Tomic, fourth seed Juan Martin del Potro and seventh seed Andy Roddick.

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Josh, from his student lecture skiving home in High Wycombe: "This Australian Open has messed up my sleeping pattern like no other sporting event! I have a big double on Henin and Murray to win outright from the start of the tourney. I say Murray to win in four today."

0803: Murray's head-to-head record against Cilic is an confidence-boosting 3-1. But that 'one' came in their last Grand Slam meeting at last year's US Open in the fourth round. On that occasion, Murray was swept away 7-5 6-2 6-2.

0759: Still a neat square of sunshine over part of one stand on Rod Laver Arena, but that should have disappeared by the time Murray and Cilic arrive. A few super-keen people have taken their seats, watching... well, not a lot. A bit of court maintenance, looks like.

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From Ruairidh, Glasgow, via text: "Gutted. Exam in an hour. Pondering bribing an invigilator for updates! C'mon Murray!"

0754: Now, this is probably just a message for those of you that have been locked in a darkened room for the last few days... Andy Murray takes on Marin Cilic at 0830 GMT in the first men's semi-final in Melbourne. You can watch it on BBC Two or on BBC HD or Online. You can listen to it on BBC 5 live. Failing all that, you can wait for me to type as fast as my little fingers will carry me.

Twitter
BBC 5 live's Alastair Eykyn tweeting from Melbourne Park: "Murray chilled in gentle warm-up with Maclagan et al. Court 4 packed with fans straining to catch a glimpse."

0745: Hello. Welcome along. So... can he do it? Can he finally fulfil the promise? Can Marin Cilic reach his first Grand Slam final?

By Piers Newbery


It's good news for a Briton
0620: There will be no change to the schedule - Andy Murray v Marin Cilic will be live on BBC HD, BBC Two, the website and 5 live from 0830 GMT, while 5 live Breakfast will bring you all the build-up until then. I'm about to park this bus for a little while but we will be resurrecting the live text from 0745 GMT, so don't wander off too far, eh? And remember where we parked! I'm not hanging around for stragglers.

0615: "Will the Murray game now be moved forward due to this game finishing earlier then scheduled?"
From Thx MB via text

Twitter
B2SR2MV on Twitter: "For all people who don't believe in fairy tales, shud watch Henin's run at the #ausopen. I wait for a fairy tale end as well."

0604: The victorious Justine Henin: "I was curious about how I would feel, just play my game and go step by step, and I'm very happy to come this way. Today was perfect, I had enough tennis this last two weeks, so it was good to have a pretty easy match. I can't wait for the final, it's an amazing feeling to have the chance to play another final in Melbourne, it's fantastic for me. The final will be a very special occasion, the dream continues, as I'm going to play the number one in the world. She's a fighter as she's proved here, and I'll do my best and try and get the title."

The match is over
Henin 6-1 6-0 Zheng
Henin strokes away a forehand for 0-40 and three match points... and she dominates the decisive rally, approaching the net only to see Zheng find the net. You can't argue with 12 games in a row.

JUSTINE HENIN BEATS ZHENG JIE 6-1 6-0 TO REACH THE FINAL

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0507: "Wife contracting regularly as baby's on d way and i'm keepin awake wt d Tennis.. Thanx Piers. By the way, i'm naming the baby Cesc after d mercurial Arsenal captain."
From An expectant father in london named Femi via text

Henin 6-1 5-0 Zheng *
Zheng has a bit of hope at 30-30 but Henin snuffs it out with two aces in a row. Easy.
* denotes Next server

* Henin 6-1 4-0 Zheng
Zheng just can't keep pace with Henin now and it's soon another two break points... Henin misses the first with an extravagant attempt at a drop shot, but Zheng nets a backhand on the second and that's 10 games in a row for the former world number one.
* denotes Next server

Henin 6-1 3-0 Zheng *
I think it's fair to say that Henin is not feeling under too much pressure here. She's using the match to practice her all-court game at the moment and sweeps into the net to punch away a smash for a love hold.
* denotes Next server

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0507: "Watching JuJu on belgian tv in Brussels. 'The perfect game plan, delivered to perfection'. I'm sensing a bit of bias here! More from belgian tv. 'It's looking like you will all get into work on time this morning!'"
From diarmuid in brussels via text
You would never get that here. Reminds me, Murray's on later.

* Henin 6-1 2-0 Zheng
Henin hits a forehand return down the line and Zheng nets for 15-40 and two more break points.. but Zheng saves the first with a fine cross-court winner before Henin finds the net. Henin then plays a beauty of a forehand that clips the line, confirmed by Hawkeye, for break point three... and that shot comes up trumps again to secure the break. It's the Henin forehand that's doing the damage.
* denotes Next server

Henin 6-1 1-0 Zheng *
Henin has hit 12 winners to Zheng's one so far. That must mean something, you would have thought. An ace takes her to 30-15 and a sharp backhand volley makes it game point, which doesn't last long as she thumps away a smash.
* denotes Next server

FIRST SET

* Henin 6-1 Zheng
Henin is finding her range from the baseline and Zheng is having to do a lot of running. The 16th seed nets at 30-30 and it's set point.... but Henin puts a forehand just wide. She hits the same shot on the next point and makes - set point number two... and the Belgian converts with a running forehand down the line! Best shot of the day/night/morning/whatever.
* denotes Next server

Henin 5-1 Zheng *
So much for struggling on serve, Henin serve-volleys for 40-15 and hits a service winner to seal the game.
* denotes Next server

Twitter
VJTaylor on Twitter: "Good stuff so far - and I know it's 2am - but Robson won 6-1 6-0, not 'tother way round. At least AO scoreboard says so."
You are correct on the Robson score but it's gone 5am - get up, you'll be late for work!

* Henin 4-1 Zheng
A couple of heavy Henin forehands earn two break points as the Zheng serve comes under attack.... and the Chinese player hooks a forehand wide on the second. Henin in command but neither player looking too solid on serve.
* denotes Next server

Henin 3-1 Zheng *
We could be in for a long one here. Henin double-faults twice to fall 15-40 down. Two break points for Zheng... but she cannot convert either. A third break point.... but Zheng misses the return again and Hein holds on, rather unconvincingly.
* denotes Next server

* Henin 2-1 Zheng
Dreamy. Henin hits her first beautiful backhand winner of the day on her way to 0-40 and three break points... and Zheng nets to give the Belgian an early lead.
* denotes Next server

Henin 1-1 Zheng *
Henin has vowed to attack more with heavier serves and more volleys in her 'second career', and the rustiness is evident with a double-fault followed by an ace, but the Belgian holds to 30.
* denotes Next server

* Henin 0-1 Zheng
Zheng gets us under way with a decent service game to 30, after Henin races into the net a sticks a high forehand volley into the net. Henin leads their head-to-head 1-0. Did you know, this is only the fourth time in the Open era that two unseeded players have met in a Grand Slam semi-final? Didn't think so.
* denotes Next server

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0507: "Currently in essay hell, just 1400 of a 5k'er to go. The challenge is on to finish before the murray match, bring it on!"
Gez, southampton, via text

0504: Justine Henin and Zheng Jie are out in the Rod Laver Arena sun and I haven't even had the chance to put the kettle on. Back in a sec...

It's good news for a Briton
0500: Britain's Laura Robson comes through a crisis at 0-30 to beat American Ester Goldfeld 6-1 6-0 and reach the girls' semi-finals, where she will face 17-year-old Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who knocked out top seed Timea Babos earlier. And I should confirm that Peter 'The Quadfather' Norfolk is through to the quad wheelchair final. Over to you, Andy...

0453: A rather nervous Todd Woodbridge speaks to Serena: "I had so many match points and I knew on my serve I had to do it, because she never gives up and she's really a fighter. Venus told me how to play her and what to do. It always helps."

USA
Serena 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-1) Li
Serena has spent much of the last 10 minutes almost out of shot at the bottom the screen as she scrambles breathlessly after Li's barrage of groundstrokes. As against Azarenka, the champion is doing everything to hold on to her title. A big serve takes her to 4-1, and when Li goes wide the American lets out a blood-curdling scream. Of relief. Serena leads 5-1 at the changeover. Li nets and it's five more match points to Serena.... Ace! And a scream that would wake the dead. Sheer guts got her through that.
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SERENA WILLIAMS BEATS LI NA 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-1) TO REACH THE FINAL

* Serena 7-6 (7-4) 6-6 Li
Li looks in control at 40-15 but Serena gets it back to deuce, and Li then falters with a backhand into the tramlines. Match point number four.... and Li saves it with some pummelling backhands. The pair are trading some heavy blows from the baseline now, with Li controlling the tempo, and Serena looks exhausted. She needs to win this tie-break.
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Text in your views on 81111
0442: "Toronto (and Montreal) are 5 hours behind gmt. Settled in for the night with an essay, tea and Piers' banter to keep me sane. No pressure..."
Jen in Montreal via text

0442: "I'm absolutely stuffed for the World Cup, but at least the Muzza match will be great teatime viewing."
Calum, a Scot in Sydney, via text

It's good news for a Briton
0436: Woah there! In all the excitement on Rod Laver Arena, I neglected to mention that Laura Robson has started her girls' quarter-final against American Ester Goldfeld - our Laura has already bagged the first set 6-1. And Peter Norfolk has battled to a 6-2 0-6 6-3 win over David Wanger in the quad wheelchair singles.

Serena 7-6 (7-4) 6-5 Li *
Serena puts the pressure straight back on Li with a love hold, sealed with a big ace.
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* Serena 7-6 (7-4) 5-5 Li
A Serena backhand lands smack on the baseline and she moves to 15-30. Li then makes an error and it's two match points.... Li saves the first with a thunderous backhand down the line, a heavyweight rally follows and it's Serena who cracks first. Deuce, but Li then plays another sloppy shot, match point three... but Serena sends her return long. Li gets to game point and takes it in another huge rally. We press on.
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Text in your views on 81111
0424: "Hi piers, with a bunch of town planning lads doing an all nighter, some good 'planter' flying around. your chat is keeping us all going!"
Joe stockton, sheffield, via text
This text raises so many questions, I only wish I had the time to ask them all.

0424: "Preparing to report on duty in 15 mins in Nyeri, Kenya. Come on Serena, I dont wanna be late. Finish Li off quick!"
From Michael via text

Serena 7-6 (7-4) 5-4 Li *
A very tight game that sees Serena on the back foot at deuce, but Li goes long with an approach shot and nets a forehand. Li has played a really strong set and earned the only break point so far, but she needs to show exactly why she's about to become a top-10 player as Serena is just a game away.
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Text in your views on 81111
0410: "Ok my geography being what it is how many hours is toronto above/behind? That's cool setting your alarm for three thirty when you go to bed at four!"
Claire from bristol via text

* Serena 7-6 (7-4) 4-4 Li
Li plays superbly to move 40-0 clear before Serena interrupts her progress with a sublime backhand lob and a backhand winner down the line, but the American tries to repeat the shot on the next point and sends it wide, accompanied by a squeal.
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Serena 7-6 (7-4) 4-3 Li *
Serena surprisingly nets a backhand with the court gaping and Li then hits a forehand winner for break point.... Ace! A great response from the champion as she hits another ace and a heavy forehand to edge ahead again.
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Text in your views on 81111
0410: "Ok off to bed. alarm set for 330 am for andys match go muzza!"
Scottish mark in toronto via text

* Serena 7-6 (7-4) 3-3 Li
Li looks understandably anxious when she double-faults for 30-30 but then plays a solid rally to earn game point, only for Serena to get a net-cord winner. Li holds with a fine serve down the middle.
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It's good news for a Briton
0404: Brit update - Peter Norfolk is into a final set against American David Wagner in the quad wheelchair singles. Top girls' seed Timea Babos has lost in three sets on Court 6, meaning Laura Robson is about to get under way against American Ester Goldfeld.

Serena 7-6 (7-4) 3-2 Li *
Serena hits her first ace of the set for 40-15 before Li pegs her back with a forehand down the line that the champion cannot deal with. A net cord then helps out the American, giving her time to swipe away a short backhand winner.
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* Serena 7-6 (7-4) 2-2 Li
Li holds with a quickfire love service game and she doesn't appear to be wilting under the pressure, quite the opposite.
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Text in your views on 81111
0355: "Hi Piers, seeing as your previous tip for the title got knocked out by Tsonga last night, who's your new pick for the winner?
From Paddy via text
Thanks Paddy, thanks a lot. I have no clue as all four men could win it, but I'm going Murray to beat Federer in five. Sorry Andy.

Serena 7-6 (7-4) 2-1 Li *
Serena looks to have made it 15-15 with a forehand down the line but the chair umpire calls it long. Serena approaches the chair.... but only to ask for Hawkeye, which confirms it was out. Li nets a backhand at 15-30 and a half-chance disappears with two big Serena serves.
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* Serena 7-6 (7-4) 1-1 Li
After an early double-fault, Li holds serve comfortably and Serena doesn't bother to run for a forehand on game point.
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Twitter
Victoria Azarenka on Twitter: "im out of melbourne,back to cold weather! im gonna miss australia! i love it here! and looking forward to be back "

Text in your views on 81111
0251: "I don't see any of these girls left in the draw beating Serena!!"
Moddy from New York via text

Serena 7-6 (7-4) 1-0 Li *
We're back to the start of the first set here, with a low-key Serena smacking down first serves and Li making no impression on the return.
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FIRST SET

Serena 7-6 (7-4) Li
Serena takes charge of the tie-break with some more first serves that keep Li under pressure, and the American heads to the changeover at 4-2. A double-fault brings Li back into it but the Chinese player then makes an error off the ground and puts a backhand volley wide. Serena leads 6-3 with three set points... Li saves the first with a rasping winner but Serena seals it with a superb second-serve ace out wide. Amazing.
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Serena 6-6 Li *
Serena has had her right thigh heavily strapped all tournament and was involved in a huge battle to beat Victoria Azarenka just 24 hours ago - it might all be taking its toll. A double-fault and a forehand error leave her 15-30 behind and, after an ace, Serena is fortunate that Li misses with a forehand chance. The champion hangs on and we're into a tie-break...
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* Serena 5-6 Li
Li is well and truly into this match now, haring around the baseline, and there's some great hitting from both women. Li holds and moves ahead for the first time. Of course the last time Serena was in a Grand Slam semi-final there was a bit of an, er, incident. Much more of this and her temperament will be tested again.
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Hawkeye
Serena 5-5 Li *
Li has a break-back point chance after an early Serena error and a failed Hawkeye challenge, but Serena wins a tense rally with a heavy forehand down the line. Deuce, and Li keeps attacking the Serena forehand until it breaks down. Break point number two... and Serena saves with a rather fortuitous half-volley drop shot that she can't have known much about. A faint net cord helps Li win the next point for break point three... and Serena looks to have hit an ace but Hawkeye says it's out. Serena then sends one long and Li has the break.
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It's good news for a Briton
0321: Brit update - Peter Norfolk is under way against American David Wagner in the quad wheelchair singles, and Laura Robson is still waiting for a tight third set to finish on Court 6. Robson is about to play in the quarter-finals of the girls' singles, of course, and not the semi-finals. But you knew that.

* Serena 5-4 Li
The pressure is on the Li serve, and it produces two winners and two double-faults for 30-30. Hang on, Serena's having to run for this one and she never looks like making a backhand on the move. Game point Li.... and Serena hammers a second-serve return. Some good scrambling from the American forces a missed smash by Li and it's set point... but a decent second serve and backhand follow-up get Li out of trouble, and she holds.
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Serena 5-3 Li *
All of which is academic at the moment as Serena wallops down several big first serves and holds to love.
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* Serena 4-3 Li
Hmmm. It's an easy hold for Li and Serena really does look.... morose. If she stops firing big serves you wonder if she's going to have the energy for a battle today.
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Twitter
5 live's Jonathan Overend on Twitter: "Interview with Ricky Hatton is now on the BBC Sport website, for all those who have been asking. Check out what Ricky calls Djokovic..."

Serena 4-2 Li *
Li fires a beautiful cross-court backhand winner on her way back to 30-30 but then misses with a return and Serena serves it out with an ace. I don't think Serena has even broken into a jog yet, one of the very few similarities in our games.
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Twitter
Glimiril on Twitter: "Morning Piers, woke up nice and early to catch the early worm Ladies Semis before sitting down for the main course later "

* Serena 3-2 Li
Li double-faults at 30-30 to give Serena a great chance for the double-break but she cannot control her forehand return and it sails wide. A couple more dodgy forehands give Li the game.
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0251: The first girls' semi has gone into a third so probably half an hour or so until Laura Robson.

A celeb has been spotted
Serena 3-1 Li *
Serena is under the tiniest bit of pressure after a forehand error leaves her at 30-30 but Li cannot put on any pressure and the American holds. As for today's 'celebrity watch', I can barely bring myself to check the email each morning after a poor 10 days, but it's semi-final day so surely some big names? Well, plenty of tennis names such as Billie-Jean King, Margaret Court, Ken Rosewall etc. Legends all, and rightly celebrated, but otherwise we've got rugby bad boy Wendell Sailor and some fella from Australia's Got Talent. Not even a cast member from Packed to the Rafters, they must have run out.
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Text in your views on 81111
0251: "With you Piers. Sushi and Piers online, it's the complete lunch hour."
Brit in Sydney via text

* Serena 2-1 Li
That's a bit more like it from Li - a smooth backhand down the line, an aggressive forehand into the corner and a big serve see the 16th seed hold to love.
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Serena 2-0 Li *
Serena is strolling around like it's the first five minutes of an early morning practice session. Two aces help her to a love hold.
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Text in your views on 81111
0251: "Morning Piers, staying up all night for the tennis and will be supporting Andy later on! Also, it's my birthday today, can't get much better on a Thursday!"
From Liam, Ireland, via text

* Serena 1-0 Li
Li wins the toss and elects to serve, which is a brave move having watched her last match against Venus. This Williams sister looks in a much sharper mood, walloping a return on the opening point and another for 15-40 and two break points... a pretty woeful Smash sees the first one slip away for Serena and a decent Li serve makes it deuce. Two errors follow from the Chinese player though and it's a break. The American leads their head-to-head 3-1 by the way.
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It's good news for a Briton
0244: Another day, another match for Britain's tireless Laura Robson. She's up against American Ester Goldfeld in the girls' singles semi-finals in the second match on Court 6, with the first semi-final towards the end of the second set. So not long.

0240: The stats say that thousands of you have already joined me, but I won't believe it until you get in touch via Twitter or with a text on 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide).

0237: Todd Woodbrige has the thankless task of grabbing the pre-match soundbites as the players make their way towards the arena. Li Na: "Against Serena, nothing to lose, just enjoy my tennis and enjoy to play." And Serena: "Nothing's easy so got to go out there and do what I can." I hear you.

The match is over
0235: In case you were wondering what on earth they've been up to on Rod Laver Arena for the last couple of hours, second seeds Daniel Nestor & Nenad Zimonjic beat Ivo Karlovic & Dusan Vemic 6-4 6-4 in the men's doubles semi-finals.

The sun is out
0232: It appears to be another sunny one in Melbourne, and it's already a historic day for China as they have two players in a Grand Slam semi for the first time. Henin is hoping to take a step closer to an incredible comeback title after ending her 18-month retirement spell earlier this month. As for Serena, a 12th Grand Slam singles title looms which would take her alongside Billie-Jean King in the all-time list.

It's good news for a Briton
0227: The all-important information for later regards the BBC coverage of Andy Murray v Marin Cilic. Well, it's live on BBC HD, BBC Two, the website and 5 live from 0830 GMT, while 5 live Breakfast will bring you all the build-up from 0600 GMT.

0224: First up we have defending champion and world number one Serena Williams against 16th seed Li Na, making her Grand Slam semi-final debut. Then it's the turn of former world number one and 2004 Aussie Open champion Justine Henin against the unseeded Zheng Jie.

0222: Ten minutes in and Obama's on his second standing ovation - I like to think the arrival of this live text is being greeted with similar scenes around the globe. Hang on, they're on their feet again. Time for some tennis...

0218: Morning all. There's nothing I like better than making an early start, you can really attack the day and gets things done. First on my list are the two women's semi-finals, second is a bit of Andy Murray v Marin Cilic, third is... well, that's it really. More than enough.



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see also
Murray powers into Aussie final
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Robson sweeps into girls' semis
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Henin win sets up Serena showdown
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Australian Open day 11 photos
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Women's singles latest
23 May 08 |  Tennis
Men's doubles latest
02 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis


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