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Murray advances to Aussie semis

By John Pye
Associated Press / January 27, 2011

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MELBOURNE — Andy Murray had a struggle on his hands yesterday, constantly trying to find his rhythm against Alexandr Dolgopolov before advancing, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, to the Australian Open semifinals.

Dolgopolov already had beaten 2008 runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and French Open finalist Robin Soderling and has the kind of unorthodox game that can unsettle higher-ranked players.

Apart from the second set, when 2010 finalist Murray didn’t lose a point on serve until he had triple set point, momentum swung frequently.

Fifth-ranked Murray moves on to face No. 7 David Ferrer, a straight-set winner over top-ranked Rafael Nadal.

“It was very tough. Every point is different. He hits the ball different from everyone else — it’s tough to explain,’’ Murray said. “It was a very tough match and tough to get my rhythm.

“I’m going to need a little bit more in the next match.’’

The 22-year-old Dolgopolov was able to mix his slice and spin with deep flat shots, sometimes at the net, sometimes at the baseline, and rarely giving Murray a look at the same ball twice in a row.

Dolgopolov had 77 unforced errors, mainly because he was trying to push Murray to the extremes. In the first set, it took Murray more than 10 minutes and four set points to finally win the 12th game.

He got the better of Murray in a 36-ball rally in the third set, saving three break points and then going on to force a tiebreaker.

Dolgopolov’s coach, Jack Reader, left the court after the third set and returned asking “What’s going on?’’ when Murray had opened up a 3-0 lead in the fourth. From then, although he dropped a serve, Murray was able to remain consistent enough to win it.

Former world No. 1 Justine Henin retired from tennis for a second time yesterday, citing a lingering right elbow injury that cut short her comeback from a glittering career that included seven Grand Slam titles.

“I have undergone several tests the past few days, confirming that my elbow has sustained a lot more damage during my adventure in Australia,’’ the 28-year-old Belgian said on her website.

She made the announcement five days after losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8), in the third round of the Australian Open.

Raf Casert of the Associated Press contributed to this report from Brussels.