Former world number one Andy Murray is through to his first tour-level final in 27 months. The wild card will face Top seed Aslan Karatsev on Saturday.
After the match, Murray commented: “It’s already been a great week for me, big progress from anything I’ve done in the last year or so, to string four matches together like this and against top players in Basilashvili and Opelka.”
Adding: “I’ll go for 47 tomorrow. It’s been a good week, I’ve played better with each match, so hopefully, I’ll step it up again tomorrow.”
En route to the final, the World No. 135 met Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili in the round of 16 at the Ken Rosewall Arena on Wednesday.
It took over three hours for the resilient British player to overcome the World No. 23 in a brutal encounter decided in a three-setter thriller 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-3.
On Thursday, eighth seed David Goffin retired due to injury, giving Murray a walkover, setting a semifinal clash with fourth seed Opelka, Friday.
In their first meeting on tour, Murray and Opelka raised to the occasion, battling hard to secure a spot in the ATP 250 event’s final.
The American made good use of his powerful serve, hitting 20 aces during the match, though it was not enough to halt the Scot, whose return ensured his game to prevail, coming back from a set down.
A tight first set unfolded into a fierce tie break with the 24-year-old American setting up a 4-0 gap, which the Brit was able to narrow to level up 5-5. But it was the 6ft 11” Miami native who would seal it 8-6, edging the three-time grand slam champion.
The 34-year-old produced the first break over his adversary’s serve in the third game of the second set, taking the lead over an erratic Opelka, whose double faults cost him too much, losing crucial points against an opponent who never rests.
In 41 minutes, Murray managed to level up the tie 1-1, forcing a decider, which he won despite his rival best efforts.
Next, the two-time singles gold medalist faces Aslan Karatsev in the final Saturday.
On Friday evening, the first player in the Open Era to reach the semifinals on his grand slam main draw debut (Australian Open 2021) fended off Dan Evans with a 6-3, 6-7(13), 6-3 victory in three hours and six minutes.
“It was a tough match against Evans. He’s a guy who doesn’t give you any free points at all,” the Russian stated.
Speaking about the final, he outlined: “I will be prepared. I have to rest a bit, prepare mentally and physically, and we will see tomorrow.”
Murray and the 28-year-old, ranked world No. 20, have never faced one another before.
If Murray emerges victorious on Saturday, he will return to the Top 100 in the ATP Rankings ahead of the Australian Open, set to clash with No. 21 seed, Basilashvili in the first round.