Andy Murray is back in an ATP Tour-level final for the first time since October 2019 after beating Reilly Opelka in Sydney.
Murray had a sense of freshness after seeing his quarter-final end prematurely, with David Goffin having to retire injured after losing the first set 6-2.
And in what was his first semi-final at ATP Tour level in 822 days, Murray showed all his class in his return match against one of the Tour’s biggest servers in Opelka, winning it 6-7, 6-4, 6 -4.
Cheered on by many rowdy Scots at the Ken Rosewall Arena, the former world No. 1 showed that he remains a force despite his physical ailments and this was another stunning display that set him up for the Australian Open. “I like competitions,” he said.
“You want to finish matches quickly. I clearly lost a tight first set and it’s not easy to come back against someone who plays that style of play, but I kept fighting.”
When asked about handling the service, “You honestly can’t prepare for it. I chose to block quite a few which worked quite well and the second service is not easy. It’s hard, but coming back has always been one of the strongest parts of my game and I’ve used it well today.”
Speaking of the prospect of a 47th career title, he said: ‘It would be great to start the year with a win, really great progress to string together matches. I’m going for 47 tomorrow and it’s been a good week. I’ve played better every game.’