Murray looking to lay down marker against Djokovic
Andy Murray feels fresh and confident as he heads into a semi-final showdown with Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic on Friday.
The British No. 1, through to his fifth consecutive grand slam semi-final, lost to the Serb in last year's championship match but has made his peace with that defeat given Djokovic's astonishing season in 2011. The Serb went on to claim three of the four slams and eclipse both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to install himself as world No. 1.
"Well, I've always liked playing against him," said Murray, who trails Djokovic 6-4 in their head-to-head record. "And, yeah, after the year that he had, the loss didn't look so bad six months later.
"But I'd like to get the chance to play him again. It would be a good marker to see how I've improved since last year."
Murray dispatched Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-3 6-1, winning in less than two hours for the fifth time in the tournament, a huge bonus given that each of his matches have taken place under the glare of the afternoon sun in Melbourne.
But the Scot sees room for improvement before he faces Djokovic, who had a tougher time in his quarter-final against David Ferrer.
"I could have served better, that's for sure," Murray admitted. "I'll need to serve better in the next match. I had a sore neck today when I woke up and I wasn't feeling my serve, I don't know if it had anything to do with that.
"But since the first set of my match with Ryan Harrison, I went nine sets without getting broken, so I've been serving well, getting a lot of free points with my serve."
Nadal faces Federer in the first semi-final on Thrusday morning, with the winner picking up an extra rest day ahead of Sunday's final. But Murray believes his efficient progress could yet be the difference as he bids for his first grand slam title.
"I haven't played over two hours really for the last few matches, so yeah, I feel fresh. Hopefully that will be to my advantage going into the weekend. I have to play a lot of long rallies against the guys that are still left in the tournament, so I'll need my legs to be fresh for the next few matches."