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Australian Open: Murray, Raonic thunder into last four

MELBOURNE: Andy Murray set up an Australian Open semi-final against the much-improved Milos Raonic on Wednesday when he weathered a fierce attack by David Ferrer on a day of rare success for Britain.

A thunderstorm proved an unlikely ally for Murray when it forced the Rod Laver Arena roof to be closed mid-match, helping him accelerate to a 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-3 win in the indoor conditions he enjoys.

Later Raonic, now working under former world number one Carlos Moya, continued his ascent with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Gael Monfils to reach the Australian semi-finals for the first time.

Murray is into sixth Australian Open semi-final and 18th overall in the Grand Slams, as he attempts to go one better after finishing runner-up at four of the last six editions in Melbourne.

But this time, the world number three has British company in the final stages after Johanna Konta downed China’s Zhang Shuai to become the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam semi since 1983.

It is the first time that two British singles players — man or woman — have featured in the last four at the same Grand Slam event since John Lloyd and Sue Barker at the 1977 Australian Open.

Adding further lustre to the British day to remember, Murray’s brother Jamie reached the men’s doubles semi-finals with his Brazilian partner Bruno Soares.

Murray said it was a special time for British tennis, after he also led his country to Davis Cup glory against Belgium in November — the first time they have won the teams tournament since 1936.

Andy Murray

“It’s pretty good for us to have people competing in almost all of the competitions. So, yeah, it’s been a good Australian Open so far. Hopefully we can keep it going,” Murray said.

“It’s unlikely that everyone is going to win the events, but to be in this position is great.

“It’s really, really good for tennis on the back end of last year with the Davis Cup as well. Extremely positive. Just got to try and capitalise on it.”

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