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Page last updated at 13:52 GMT, Friday, 27 January 2012

Djokovic v Murray as it happened


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By Ben Dirs

1349: Right everyone, sorry about the result, but you have to say that was magnificent, whether you were rooting for Andy Murray or not. Djokovic has a day off before tackling Rafa Nadal on Sunday, Murray retreats into the shadows to lick his wounds and mull over just what he has to do. Don't forget Sharapova-Azarenka in the women's singles final on Saturday, thanks for sticking with it, I'll see you all soon.

Text in your views on 81111
Anon via text on 81111: "What a match! Murray just showed he's got the game to win. His mental attitude just wasn't there in the middle of the match BUT so much better and shows what he could achieve. Another shot later this year? I hope so."

Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 7-5 Murray
Murray chops a backhand into the tramlines but follows up with a ripper and a snorter of a forehand that Djokovic can only edge to deep point. Murray puts a forehand long, although that looked like it might have clipped the line, but the upshot one point later is we have our first match point - Murray finds the net with a backhand, 15-40... GAME, SET AND MATCH DJOKOVIC! Too many angles for Murray and the Scot is unable to handle Djokovic's match-clinching volley. Flash, bang, wallop, what a match that was.

ZK on Twitter: "Can we just give the title to Nadal already? He must be loving this seeing his eventual opponent getting tired out…"

Former Australian Open finalist John Lloyd on BBC Two:"This is one of the best matches I've ever seen. It's been quite extraordinary."

Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 6-5 Murray*
Djokovic takes a risk down the line and misses, Djoko has lost five straight points on serve... WHAT A LOB! Surely? No? I think that skimmed the line but Murray is all out of challenges. But what a shot that is, a rasping forehand pass to make it 15-30, before Novak finds the net with a backhand. Murray finds the net with a forehand return before the defending champion, clinging to his crown like a baby primate to its mother, razzle-dazzles the crowd with a forehand down the line. But Murray has another break point - unforced error from Djoko... Djokovic, however, nicks the advantage, only to bunt a backhand wide. Djokovic grazes the line with a colossal second serve that oozes courage and holds courtesy of a drive-volley. Three break points saved and now the Scot has to serve to save the match... have to win by two games, remember, this ain't no Mickey Mouse tennis...
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 5-5 Murray
Do not go gentle into that good night, Andy, that's all we ask from you at this point... Djokovic hooks a forehand return long before Murray makes it two game points behind another well-directed second serve. Murray hammers a forehand down the middle and Djokovic is unable to deal with it. Bowls on the red button, that's all I'm saying on the subject...
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 5-4 Murray*
Murray needs to show colossal guts, not to mention more balls than a Christmas tree, to save it from here and he does so on that point, Djokovic eventually going long with a forehand. Djokovic nets with a forehand to make it 0-30 and we have three break points as Novak is left for dead by a wicked forehand pass. BREAK! Djokovic lured into the court and Murray slams his fingers in the door courtesy of a humdinger of a forehand pass. It's all going off on Rod Laver, and the man himself is happy to applaud that point, an absolutle crackerjack. Murray serving to stay in the set...
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 5-3 Murray
Suck it up, son, suck it up... Djokovic and Murray go tit-for-tat at the net, the defending champion eventually dinking a forehand wide to make it 30-0. Djokovic opens the wingspan again and leaves Murray for dead with a forehand winner but Murray hits back with a fiery first serve. Plenty of heft on that forehand from Djokovic, Murray clawing at the floor with his racquet behind the baseline, and Djokovic goes long with a backhand for Murray to hold. It's Novak to serve for the match...
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Former Australian Open finalist John Lloyd on BBC Two:"Novak Djokovic's defence sums up to me why he's world number one."

Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 5-2 Murray*
There was always that sense that Djokovic had another gear to slip into and that once he did so, Murray wouldn't be able to cope. Hold to love, a few complaints from Murray, Murray serving to save the match.
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 4-2 Murray
Djokovic finds the line with a backhand to make it 30-30 and Murray has no challenges remaining, which might or might not prove costly. Djokovic with an inside-out backhand return and there's a strangled roar of anguish from the Scot, the first of the match, perhaps a sign the wheels are beginning to rattle on the axles. A couple of bites at the cherry for Djokovic but he gobbles up the third - magnificent defence and he crowns things with a vicious top-spin forehand down the line. A super slow-mo of Novak's protracted roar, in close-up, lovely stuff...
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 3-2 Murray*
Murray looks to pass down the line, misses and appears to have jolted something in his leg. He's alright though. Djokovic's serve is booming so far in this set and that's an outrageous backhand pass to hold to love - the Serb looked wrong-footed but suddenly reset himself before poking a winner down the line. I say 'poking', it would have flattened the doors of Heaven.
* Heaven is not the only afterlife, others religious afterlifes do exist. Or don't, whatever your viewpoint is...
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 2-2 Murray
We've hit the four hour mark. Djokovic blows a second challenge, he's only got one left. Djokovic goes long with a backhand on the stretch before finding the baseline with a backhand volley. Murray leans back and tugs a forehand long and here's a break point for Djokovic... that's the way to save them, booming ace down the middle, shaped like a Jimmy Anderson away-swinger. Djokovic blows another break point with a forehand into the middle of the net before letting Murray off the hook again, plonking a top-spin forehand long. Djokovic opens up his wingspan and slaps a forehand winner cross court before opening up again on a return and nicking the advantage. Murray saves a break point with another curling first serve and holds when Djokovic sticks a forehand return long.
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 2-1 Murray*
Murray has changed his shirt from orange to ice white, which might be just about the dullest thing I've ever written... Murray knifes a backhand into the middle of the net before Djokovic balloons a forehand wide at the end of a marathon exchange. The Serb falls to his knees, cross swinging from his neck, like a monk praying for divine intervention. Djokovic really struggling to suck it up, as if the air around him is made of leek and potato soup, but that's a hold.
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 1-1 Murray
Murray fluffs a forehand before Djokovic finds the net with a forehand. Big first serve from Murray that Djokovic is unable to deal with and the Serb makes it 40-15 with another unforced forehand error into the net. Ace from Murray down the T, that's better from the Scot - we wanted to see signs of life and I can report he's alive...
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 1-0 Murray*
I have to admit, I didn't think I'd still be sat here writing about this at 1234. Not that I'm complaining. Eleven points in a row for Djokovic, Murray is being pulled this way and that like a tattered windsock. The defending champion sweeps into a 40-0 lead before blowing a challenge on second serve - not very clever, that - and finishes things off with a forehand into the open court. Murray has to hold here, he's being backed towards the precipice.
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 Murray
... break to love, backhand return winner, that set took just 25 minutes - no doubt who's got the momentum coming into the final straight: Djokovic looking as smooth and silky as Sebastian Coe, Murray rocking and rolling like Tom McKean.
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 5-1 Murray*
Murray not, as you might have expected, chucking this set away - he attacks the net and tucks away the volley before Djokovic hits back with a drop-shot winner. Djokovic hooks a backhand wide before bunting a backhand long, as we see a replay of the Serb covering his head between games with a towel and surreptitiously sticking something in his gob. Pretty sure it wasn't an Ortolan Bunting, those birds posh French people are too guilty to be seen eating. Then again, it might have been, it's been a long day... Djokovic holds, Murray will serve to save the set...
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 4-1 Murray
Gossamer hands from Djoko at the net to make it 30-15, killing that backhand volley stone-dead. Djokovic misses with an attempted forehand pass but Murray does enough to hold for the first time in the set.
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 4-0 Murray*
The games getting shorter - two aces from Djokovic, another service game to love...
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 3-0 Murray
... another break point to Djokovic as Murray pushes a double-fister long... and that's a break, another backhand long and Murray broken for the second time in the set. We're going all the way by the looks of things... Murray sticking a banana down his Gregory between games, at this rate don't be surprised to see them both sit down for a three-course meal halfway through the fifth set, this is getting loooooooooong...
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 2-0 Murray*
Murray making too many mistakes all of a sudden - got to make Djokovic putt everything out, can't be giving him too many gimmes. Ace down the T makes it 40-0 Djokovic and a drive-volley seals the game - first love service game of the match. The match is switching from BBC Two to BBC One, which means no Bargain Hunt today, which must be a massive blow for anyone interested in cheap, 1950s furniture and worthless piggy banks.
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Former Australian Open finalist John Lloyd on BBC Two: "These guys' athleticism is beyond belief. They both look like they're made of rubber. You can't get the ball away, it's almost impossible. That set was ridiculous. Murray has stepped up to the plate with the winners. His forehand really was awesome in that set."

BBC Radio 5 Live
Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 live: "Murray has taken me by surprise with how he's played, he's attacked and played well under pressure, but there's still a long way to go when you are playing Djokovic. You just don't know what's going to happen, it's a strange old match, but it's gripping."

*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 1-0 Murray
Djokovic moves into a 0-30 lead on the Murray serve and Murray hands him two break points after ballooning a drive-volley type thing three feet long. Murray saves the first but fires a forehand long to hand Djokovic the break.
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) Murray
... whip-crack away! Murray with an ace down the T before Djokovic slices a backhand long after a fine return from Murray. Forehand winner from Murray after Djokovic is wrong-footed, that's three set points, two of them on his own serve... Djokovic saves one, a net cord popping up nicely for him... MURRAY'S SET! Beefy first serve, Djoko tugs a the return wide - that set lasted 88 minutes, the game has been going three hours 20 minutes, a towering tour de force of a tennis match. So far.
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-6 Murray
... Murray goes well long with a forehand to make it 3-2 before Djokovic outlasts him in an exchange full of knockout blows, Djokovic eventually doing just enough with a volley to win the point and make it 3-3...
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-6 Murray
Murray with the mini-break... some more close-quarter fighting - Murray knifing a backhand, Djokovic sliding a backhand back, Murray flailing a forehand long. Double from Djokovic, it's 3-1 Murray...
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-6 Murray
Not sure what these insects are that are buzzing the players but they look like Pterodactyls. What a shot that is from Djokovic - Murray at the net and the Serb shows the touch of a miniature portrait painter, skimming the baseline wih a lob. Murray carves a forehand long to hand Djoko two set points... Murray saves one behind a second serve as Djoko goes long, before Djoko peppers the baseline and makes Murray sneeze, the Scot hoicking a backhand wide. We've got ourselves a breaker...
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 5-6 Murray*
Whoever wins this set wins the match. That's not a fact, that's just what I think might happen. Very few easy service games I can remember on either delivery and now it's Djokovic being taken to the brink - 15-40, Murray hitting with all the crispness of a boot breaking through virgin snow. Murray muffs the first break point but snaffles the second - magnificent defence from Murray, all over the baseline like a tramp on chips, and Djokovic eventually goes long. Murray to serve for the set...
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 5-5 Murray
Wonder where Nadal is now? Wherever he is, he's not out in 30C heat having the stuffing torn out of him. Murray to stay in the set... Djokovic runs round one and sends a forehand down the line and all of a sudden Djokovic is buzzing - I repeat buzzing - again. Murray, however, wins the next two points before Djokovic pulls out the forehand down the line again. Murray balloons a forehand long after a rugged return but that's about as ballsy as it gets from Murray, an ace out wide to save. Djokovic with a rather feeble smash - he hasn't so much looked a fish out of water at the net today, more a fish up a tree - but Murray fluffs backhand wide... what a shot that is from the Scot, though, a forehand that came with some serious sizzle. Murray nets with a backhand smash and it's set point once again... tit-for-tat at the net, bayonets drawn at close quarters, and Murray eventually does enough with a backhand to make it three set points saved. Djokovic sprays a backhand wide, and another, and Murray holds.
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 5-4 Murray*
Strange point that, started off with a pitter-patter overhead from Murray from the back of the court and finished off with a net cord that leapfrogs Djokovic's racquet. Murray sends a backhand long before missing the sideline with an attempted forehand pass but Djokovic throws in two unforced errors to make it deuce. Murray misses wth a backhand pass - that even brings a grin to the face, where once it might have led to some industrial cursing - and Djokovic aces down the T to hold.
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 4-4 Murray
Lots of ebbs and flows in this match, it's war in miniature. Murray fluffs an easy forehand to go 0-30 down before we get a shot of Lendl topping up Murray's water bottle with what appear to be eye-drops. Gimme from Djokovic, who hooks a backhand return wide from a second serve, and Murray makes it 40-30 with a snarling backhand pass. Tremendous from Murray, dominating from the back of the court before holding courtesy of a whipped forehand winner.
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 4-3 Murray*
Murray with a roister-doister of a forehand down the line, full stretch, full scamper, that had sparks coming off it (it didn't, I'm being metaphorical). Djokovic with an easier hold than has been the case of late, seems to have more heft on that second serve all of a sudden.
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 3-3 Murray
Djokovic still scrapping for everything that moves - nothing is a lost cause for the Serb, one suspects, even Liverpool's forward line, midfield and defence - but that's still a Murray hold...
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 3-2 Murray*
That's dinky from Murray, a pick-up off his toes, before Djokovic makes a rather desperate looking challenge on a ball that missed by a foot. In all honesty, Djokovic looks like he'd rather be anywhere else in the world than on Rod Laver, but Murray's making it easier than it might be, spraying a forehand long to make it 40-30. But that's a superbly-crafted point from the Scot, finished off with a forehand down the middle. Backhand long from Djokovic but Murray can't take advantage of a fine return, blasting the net with a forehand. Djoko comes to life after a booming first serve - a short, sharp fist pump and "come on" - and goes on to hold. Lendl impassive up in the stands, then again Ivan would look impassive standing on the deck of a burning ship while being strafed by fighter jets.
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 2-2 Murray
A double fault from Murray makes it 15-30 and a wild forehand hands Djokovic two break points. Murray goes long with a backhand, Djokovic didn't really have to work for that break, it was rather served up on toast (whatever that means).
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 1-2 Murray*
The bugs descending now as it passes 10pm in Melbourne, more like small mammals than insects. Djokovic really tottering now - he goes long with a forehand to hand Murray three break points, only for Murray to blow the first... and the second... but he converts the third - Djokovic bing pulled all over the place behind the baseline and Murray eventually puts him away with a smash. Murray a break up and he leads for the first time in the match...
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 1-1 Murray
This is looking for all the world like an old-fashioned 15-rounder and Djokovic fans will be hoping their man is simply having a mid-bout dip before coming on strong in the championship rounds. Djokovic moves into a 15-30 lead before Murray steps in behind a big first serve and puts away the backhand winner. Well-crafted point and Murray finishes it off with a whipped forehand down the middle. That's what Murray needs, easy holds.
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Djokovic 6-3 3-6 1-0 Murray*
Djokovic to serve first in the third set... he's got form for exaggerating injury or fatigue, so Murray fans don't want to be getting ahead of themselves. That said, Murray outmuscles Djokovic to move 0-30 up before the Serb slaps a cross-court backhand to make it 15-30. Strange point, though, Djokovic looked like he wanted to quit it at one point. Another break point for Murray... a very strange passage of play this, Djokovic looks pale and empty but that's a pretty decent challenge on the baseline, ballsy as well... but Djokovic nets with an attempted forehand down the line before piling into another forehand that leaves Murray standing. However, Djokovic nets with a backhand on the next point before Murray eventually buckles under a couple of rather half-hearted overheads... Murray pushes a forehand long - by the width of a fag paper - but Djokovic muffs a backhand volley wide, rather stabbing at that. But there's another forehand pass from the Serb to save and he finds a big first serve to hold after 1n 18-minute game. Don't worry, your puter isn't broken...
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BBC Radio 5 Live
Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 live: "Djokovic has another two hours to play and if you're not feeling well it's difficult. I think something is wrong but that's not to say he can't manage. We've seen him mope around and pretend he's sick but he's got nothing left."

*Djokovic 6-3 3-6 Murray
Djokovic has now lost his last three service games and from looking like a Rolls-Royce he momentarily looks like a clown's car with square wheels and pieces falling off it... two unforced errors from Murray, two break points Djokovic... Murray saves the first with a 213kmh ace down the T and the second when Djokovic rather buckles under a forehand. Djokovic sprays a forehand long before crumpling forwards - not sure whether this is rope-a-dope or not, but it's set point Murray, and he only needs one of them. Never mind Murray, Djokovic looks like he's been two hours in a room with a swarm of giant bees.
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BBC Radio 5 live's Jonathan Overend on Twitter: "Fascinating. Novak's legs look heavy. Almost as though Murray camp aware of an issue and the plan is to just outlast him."

Djokovic 6-3 3-5 Murray*
Murray feasts on a short approach, whipping a forehand winner, before Novak sends down a double. Forty-one shots in this rally and it ends with Murray doinking a forehand into the net to make it 15-30. Murray vents his anger, as used to be his wont, and there follows another marathon exchange that Murray prevails at the end of - fine sliced backhand from Murray to set it all up but some odd behaviour from Djoko, who ambled over to a moon ball from his opponent as if walking with a stick before eschewing the smash and opting for a rather tame forehand instead. Murray has broken again, Djoko looks like he might be struggling... then again, he hasn't called for a trainer...
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*Djokovic 6-3 3-4 Murray
Cute from Djokovic, a knifed backhand drop-shot, but Murray out-cutes him, dabbing a forehand winner as if he's atempting to net a butterfly. Magnificent backhand winner from Djoko, stepping into a too-short forehand, before Murray yanks a forehand wide to hand Djokovic a break-back point... tremendous defence from both players before Djoko blinks first, leaning back and hoicking a forehand miles long. Double-fault from Murray and he follows up with a forehand into the net. Murray had Djokovic curled into a ball in the corner, allowed him to get to his feet and was repaid with a punch in the jaffers. Djokovic will do that to you.
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Djokovic 6-3 2-4 Murray*
All of a sudden Murray brimming with aggro - first he rips a cross-court forehand past Djokovic before repeating the dose, and the second one was a doozy of the highest order. But that's better from Djokovic, pulling Murray hither and tither before administering the coup de grace, a fizzer of a forehand down the line. What a point that is - booming groundstrokes from both players, both men trying to drag the other off court, before Djokovic pulls the trigger and misses, finding the middle of the net with a forehand. Djokovic goes long, four games in a row, Murray giving the number one seed a kicking at the moment.
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*Djokovic 6-3 2-3 Murray
Djokovic now seems to have gone off the boil, as if somebody switched off his gas. Two unforced errors make it 30-0 Murray and Murray makes it 40-15 with a brute of a first serve down the T. Murray with another zinger of a first serve and finishes off the point with a smash that is full of intent. Murray doing what Canute couldn't do and turning back the tide...
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BBC Radio 5 Live
Former British number one Jeremy Bates on BBC Radio 5 live: "Djokovic was getting a bit passive in the rallies whereas Murray has been putting Djokovic under intense pressure, especially on his serve. There's been a bit of a shift in momentum in this set. All of a sudden Murray has come alive."

Djokovic 6-3 2-2 Murray*
Murray with a slam-dunk and he follows up with an early snarling backhand that has his opponent clawing at the ground. What a shot that is from the top seed, opening up and flaying a forehand past a rooted Murray, before Djokovic finishes off a lengthy exchange with a threaded backhand that skims the line. Murray loses patience and yanks a backhand wide but follows up with a double-fault to make it deuce, despite a rather forlorn challenge. Djokovic with a drive-volley and what a rally to follow, eventually brought to a close when the Serb puts in a rather tame overhead which Murray manages to chase down and return with interest. Monster backhand from the Scot, Djokovic completely wrong-footed, and that's break-point. Fine first serve, Murray attempts an acute backhand pass but misses, but Djoko hands Murray the advantage with an iffy backhand into the net. Djoko misses with his first serve... BREAK BACK! Tremendous tenacity from Murray and Djokovic eventually goes long.
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BBC Radio 5 Live
Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 live: "It's unfortunate for Murray that he's not been tested in his earlier matches. It's a big jump up to playing Djokovic."

*Djokovic 6-3 2-1 Murray
Djokovic moves into a 0-30 lead on Murray's serve and the Scot is suddenly incontinent with unforced errors. Djokovic goes long with a forehand before Murray serves up a booming first serve for a rare cheap point. And another, a sizzling ace down the middle, only for the number four seed to waver again and serve up a double. Murray just not aggressive enough at the moment and he's paying the price - surely time to storm the barricades or die wondering what might have happened? Djoko forces a break point but yanks a forehand wide before missing with an attempted drop-shot.
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Djokovic 6-3 2-0 Murray*
Murray outlasts his rival after a 24-shot rally but these exchanges look to be taking more toll on Murray, mentally and physically, than the Serb. The first mention of the word "passive" from John Lloyd on the box, in relation to Murray, and that's a hold from Djokovic...
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*Djokovic 6-3 1-0 Murray
Djokovic leads Murray on first serves 70%-61% and unforced errors 15-20, but other than that one gaping lapse from Murray, he played some pretty good tennis. Alas, pretty good tennis isn't really enough against Djokovic, you need to be playing tennis with sparklers on it and hundreds and thousands sprinkled on top. That's a ripper from Murray, fizzing a forehand down the line to make it 30-30. Unbelievable defence from Djokovic, Murray had to win that point three times - and depressingly, still doesn't win it. In common with Lleyton Hewitt, Djoko is wasted on tennis, he should have been with Che Guevara and Castro, invading Cuba on Granma. That's a break...
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Former Australian Open finalist John Lloyd on BBC Two: ""Murray played a good set but he's got to dig in, keep playing like this and keep forcing Djokovic. Last year he didn't do that. There's a lot more tennis to be played. It's all about Murray's attitude now. Djokovic just played a little bit better but can he keep that up? Murray's got to stay tight in the first three of four games of the second set, he can't afford to go down an early break."

Text in your views on 81111
Joel, via text on 81111: "Re: 4-2 I think it was the Aussie Open 2005 with Safin against Hewitt. With Murray playing and England in the cricket I can give up on getting any work done this morning!"

Djokovic 6-3 Murray*
Murray with a sniff on a Djoko forehand but he declines the opening and eventually tugs a forehand wide. Deep, penetrating groundstrokes from the defending champion, Murray finds himself pinned behind the baseline and eventually nets. Two break points and he only needs one, first set Djokovic in 47 minutes.
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*Djokovic 5-3 Murray
Murray with some solid deliveries - he could do with an easy hold - and Djokovic hands him the game with an errant backhand that misses the sideline. New racquet for Murray, and there's Rocket Rod Laver up in the stands, a man who made tennis look like poetry in shorts.
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Djokovic 5-2 Murray*
Lots of unforced errors from both players at the moment, and here's Djokovic finding the net with a forehand. The Serb responds with a howitzer of a serve down the middle before leaving Murray rooted with a whip-cracked forehand pass, like the driver of a horse-drawn carriage geeing up his charges. Easy hold from Djokovic, sealed with an ace down the middle.
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*Djokovic 4-2 Murray
We were just musing in the office as to when the last Grand Slam final was that did not feature Nadal, Federer or Djokovic. Anyone? Kim Sears, Andy Murray's squeeze, looking on pensively as her man rather tamely hands his opponent three break points and that's a break, Murray plonking a forehand into the net. That's a shame.
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Djokovic 3-2 Murray*
The slightly scary part for Murray and his fans is that, while the Scot looks to be all hands to the pump at all times, Djoko, while not even out of first gear, is making the average octopus look under-tentacled, his suckers extending to all parts of the court. Murray gets him scrambling and Djoko puts a forehand long on the run and Murray takes it to deuce, moving in on a short second serve. Crackerjack cross-court forehand from Djoko brings the first complaint from Murray - something about a screen not being steady - but the Dunblaine man hunts down a Djoko drop-shot and puts away the forehand pass to make it deuce. Djoko comes into the net for the first time and finds the net with a jerky volley that would have embarrassed Metal Mickey. Murray breaks back! Well-crafted point signed off with a backhand pass that skims the line. Ignore everything I said at the start of this paragraph, it was patent nonsense I don't have time to delete.
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*Djokovic 3-1 Murray
Djoko displaying fine defence before bouncing off the ropes and overpowering Murray with a beefy forehand. Murray hits back with an ace that grazes the line before jabbing a backhand volley into the net. Murray makes it 30-30 courtesy of another away-swinger down the middle that his rival can only tug into the net but here's break point... double fault, first blood Djokovic. And when Djokovic sees a few specks of blood he has a tendency to twist the knife and turn it into a torrent.
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Times tennis correspondent Neil Harman on Twitter: "It's still 27C out there as well. Sun has gone down but stiflingly warm."

Djokovic 2-1 Murray*
Djokovic showing signs of impatience, spraying a backhand wide, and Murray has won six of the last seven points. Murray steps into a second serve from Djoko, climbing into a forehand, but clobbers it well long. Djokovic looks a bit out of sorts here, framing a forehand after a looping backswing, and here's a break point for Murray... what a second serve that is, a boomer down the middle, and he follows up with an absolute ripsnorter, his first ace. Murray goes long with a backhand, that's impressive clutch tennis from Djokovic - things aren't going right, he pops the bonnet, has a twiddle, and everything's right again...
*Denotes next server

*Djokovic 1-1 Murray
Murray falls to a 0-30 deficit as Djokovic pulls down the garage door from the back of the court and Murray blinks first on both occasions. Marathon rally which Murray finishes off with a stinging double-fister down the line but Murray hands Djoko two break-points after a drop-shot that the Serb hunts down before dinking over a forehand so acute it almost goes backwards. Strong second serve from Murray to save one break point and Djoko follows up with a wild and windy forehand to take it to deuce. Djoko then goes long with a backhand - prompting the first Murray fist-pump of the match - before Djokovic finally finds the net after another drawn-out exchange. Emotion from Murray, if he wins this, I'm predicting he'll spontaneously combust.
*Denotes next server

Djokovic 1-0 Murray*
Defending champion Djokovic to serve first and the first point is his as Murray bunts a backhand return long. Murray goes long after the first lengthy exchange of the match before the Scot knifes a backhand wide. Murray wins his first point of the match as Djoko plonks a backhand into the net before Murray hooks a forehand wide to hand his rival the game. Straightforward hold...
*Denotes next server

Times tennis correspondent Neil Harman on Twitter: "Nole's coach Marian Vajda and physical trainer Milan Amanovic are high-fived all the way to their seats by the Serbian fanatics."

0840: Players are knocking up, we'll have some play in a few minutes...

BBC Radio 5 Live
Former British number one Jeremy Bates on BBC Radio 5 live: "Murray walked on court with a real steely-eyed look. That must be the influence of Ivan Lendl. It's a psychological thing. The other players will see Lendl sitting in Murray's corner and that has been noticed by all the big players."

James Ward on Twitter: "I really do think this is Andy's time. He has the game for multiple slams and I believe it starts here."

Former Australian Open finalist John Lloyd on BBC Two: "I had a feeling the last two years that Murray was going to win and I was totally wrong. I don't have a feeling this year, so he will probably win. It's another great chance for him. There is a barrier for players going up against world number ones and Murray has got to overcome that. Djokovic has stepped up mentally and Murray needs to do the same if he want to get to that level."

0835: Djoko just shades it noise-wise - lots of fellow Serbs in Melbourne of course, and they make a serious racket. We've got John Lloyd on the box, The Laconic One was a finalist at the Aussie Open 32 years ago...

0832: Good to see some proper perspective from your man Cash - trying to get an honest prediction out of most British pundits on a fellow Brit's chances in a major event in any sport is much like trying to get an honest appraisal of the merits of France from Winston Churchill. Players making their way to the court, Murray winding his way through the bowels of Rod Laver, and here he is...

BBC Radio 5 Live
Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 live: "It's going to be a huge surprise to me to see Andy holding this trophy in a few days' time. He fills me with no belief that he can do it. He notoriously collapses under pressure. I hate to say that as I want Murray to win as much as anybody. Even if he gets through, Nadal will have had an extra day to prepare."

0823: Pat Cash, on 5 live, says it will be a "huge surprise" if Murray wins, which is just about the most realistic assessment of the game I've heard this morning. For all you younguns out there - basically anyone under the age of 90 - the last British man to win a Grand Slam singles title was Fred Perry at the US Championships in 1936. He was from Stockport and wore trousers on court.

0814:British pair Liam Broady and Joshua Ward-Hibbert take the first set 6-3 in their Australian Open junior boys' doubles final against Adam Pavlasek of the Czech Republic and Croatia's Filip Verger. Nicky Campbell on 5 live "has a feeling" Murray is going to win, although I strongly suspect that feeling is based on nothing other than their shared Scottishness.

0806: Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva of Russia have beaten Italian 11th seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci 5-7 6-4 6-3 to win the Australian Open women's doubles title. Djokovic, by the way, is bidding to become only the fourth man in the Open Era to win three or more Australian Open titles. Only Andre Agassi (four), Roger Federer (four) and Mats Wilander (three) have done it before. Murray, meanwhile, is bidding to reach his third consecutive Aussie Open semi. Only two men in the Open Era have reached three consecutive Australian Open finals: Wilander (1983-85) and Murray's coach Ivan Lendl (1989-91).

Text in your views on 81111
Dan Hedge via text on 81111: "The Winston Churchill in me says Murray can do it! The eternal pessimism ingrained in me from the Henman era says he can't..."

0756: Not sure about this playing the semi-finals on separate days. What if this one goes to four or five sets and they're on court for four or five hours? That can't be right can it? Nadal will probably be watching this from under his duvet with a retinue of masseurs attending to his every whim. This is Djokovic's seventh consecutive Grand Slam semi-final and every time he has reached the last four at Melbourne Park he has gone on to win the title...

Matthew Traynor on Twitter: "I fancy a five set thriller with Murray to go through to the final in a typically British way. The hard way!"

0746: Other than reading my nonsense you can follow the match on 5 live, BBC Two and the HD Channel. What I generally find is, watching or listening to tennis happening tends to be better than reading about it. Then again, there will be lots of you with terrible bosses who will no doubt get awfully upset if they catch you watching or listening to tennis when you're supposed to be feeding yourself into the capitalist mincing machine, which is basically where I come in.

0739: This is the 11th time Murray and Djokovic have played on the ATP World Tour, the Serb leads 6-4 so far. The Scot won their last meeting in Cincinnati, although the world number one and winner of the last two Grand Slams retired in the second set. Talking of Kasabian, will Djokovic be Vlad the Impaler? Or will Underdog Murray seize the day? Ladies and Gentlemen, Roll the Dice...

BBC Radio 5 live's Jonathan Overend on Twitter: "Kasabian in the house backing Murray tonight. Noel Gallagher on a race from the airport may not make it but wants to"

0730: Good day. Hang on to your cornflakes, it's all about to go off in your living room/bedroom/office/motor - British number one Andy Murray up against top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic, should be a barnburner*. As ever, we'd love to know what you think about tennis and stuff via a variety of means. Tweet me @bendirs1 using the hashtag #BBCTennis , lob over an SMS on 81111 (UK)
*Ben Dirs accepts no liability if Murray gets blown away in three sets (or for having a stupid name)

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see also
Tennis on the BBC
20 Dec 12 |  Tennis
Djokovic beats Murray in thriller
09 Feb 12 |  Tennis
Murray plots route past Djokovic
26 Jan 12 |  Tennis
Murray can go all the way - Edberg
27 Jan 12 |  Tennis
Murray needs to be tough - Lloyd
26 Jan 12 |  Tennis
Djokovic sees off Spain's Ferrer
25 Jan 12 |  Tennis
Murray to face Djokovic in semis
26 Jan 12 |  Tennis
Djokovic beats determined Hewitt
23 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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