Johanna Konta’s winning scoreline of 6-4 6-1 perhaps doesn’t reflect the battle for the first set which took place between the two players, while Murray will be happy with his 6-3 6-7(5) 6-2 6-3 overt a typical resilient Ferrer, who definitely made the Brit work hard for his win.
Konta was only behind in the match after the very first game, and from then on she led. Zhang served out her first service game for a 1-0 lead, but Konta held, broke and consolidated for an early 3-1 lead in the opener. This evolved to 4-2, before Konta broke again and served for the first set at 5-2.
Three set points came and went for the Brit, with the Chinese eventually breaking back for 5-3. There was a fear that the chance had gone, especially after Zheng held serve to maintain the momentum swing in her direction, but Konta had another chance to serve for the set at 5-4.
A fourth set point went by. Zhang had a break point, which Konta saved. A fifth set point disappeared. Finally, at the sixth time of asking, Konta swung a huge serve down the middle and it was irretrievable. First set Konta.
The second set started well too, with Konta breaking serve immediately. Zhang, however, broke straight back for 1-1, but it was to be the last game the Chinese girl would win. Konta upped her level of tennis while Zhang fell to pieces, and Konta roared through to the semis with 5 games on the spin.Andy Murray was made to work a little bit harder than his British compatriot, producing 8 double faults and an uncharacteristic 64 unforced errors throughout, but still managing to make his sixth Australian Open semi-final in seven attempts.
Each of the sets Murray won lasted 45 minutes or less, with the only exception being the marathon second set that the Spaniard won in a tiebreak. In the first set, both players had two break point chances but it was crucially Murray who took the only break of the set, holding his nerve to gain the upper hand in the match.
The pair exchanged breaks in the second set and it trickled inevitably towards a tiebreak, in which Ferrer inched ahead and stood his ground to level the match. Murray was right back on the front foot with two breaks in the third set, and then came the fourth.
Murray took an early 2-0 lead after breaking the Ferrer serve in the second game of the fourth set, but was instantly pegged back and again, as we’ve seen several times this tournament so far, began to loudly berate himself. Serving at 2-2, the Brit even audibly screamed “Fire Up!”, presumably to himself, as he tried to stand firm throughout a slight dip in his performance level.
It seemed to work, as Murray proceeded to hold, break and consolidate and go within one game of the semi-finals at 5-2. Ferrer made the Brit serve it out, but Murray made no mistake, surging through to the semi-final with a roar and a pump of the fist.
So, with two Brits in the semi-finals, an incredible achievement has been reached. Now, Murray must defeat Gael Monfils or Milos Raonic, while Konta faces German Angelique Kerber for a place in the final. We believe they can both make it. Do you?