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SPORTS
27 Jan 2012
ANDY MURRAY BANISHES MEMORIES OF NOVAK DJOKOVIC FINAL DEFEAT

Andy Murray insists Novak Djokovic's emphatic victory over him in last year's final will not be on his mind when they meet in the Australian Open semi-final on Friday.

Djokovic won 6-4 6-3 6-2 to condemn Murray to his third defeat in three Grand Slam final appearances.

"It won't be in my mind. You can't think about the past," said Murray.

"I obviously learned a lot from that match, but on the day I will just be thinking about the tactics."

Murray suffered a pronounced dip in form after defeat by Djokovic in Melbourne 12 months ago, losing his first matches in the next three tournaments in Rotterdam, Indian Wells and Miami.

But he claims Djokovic's superb form for the rest of 2011, a year in which the Serb also won Wimbledon and the US Open, helped him get the defeat in perspective.

"After the year that he had, the loss didn't look so bad six months later," stated Murray.

"It would be a good marker to see how I've improved since last year."

The Scot is determined to play sensibly and wait for his chances against Djokovic as he bids to reach a fourth Grand Slam final.

"You have to play a patient match and pick the right moments to be aggressive," said Murray.

"You can't rush points against him, so I need to play patient tennis and be smart and that is what I have done since I was a kid.

"I need to use my head on court to work out when to play the right shots, and if I do that I'll have a good chance."

Murray has dropped only one set in the tournament so far, in his opening match against Ryan Harrison.

Since then, he has beaten French pair Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Michael Llodra in straight sets and was leading his fourth-round match against Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1 6-1 1-0 when his Kazakhstan opponent retired.

In the quarter-final, Murray was again impressive in beating Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-3 6-1 to set up a last-four clash with Djokovic.

"I haven't played over two hours really for the last few matches so, yeah, I feel fresh," Murray said.

"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 left in the tournament, so I'll need my legs to be fresh for the next few matches."

Djokovic believes Murray will only get stronger once he is able to spend more time with new coach Ivan Lendl.

But he is not surprised to see Murray blocking his path at Melbourne Park once again.

Of Lendl, Djokovic said: "From my perspective it's good to see a legend - one of the greatest players ever to play the game - being around the tour again.

"I don't know how much it has affected Andy. They haven't had that much time to work on things but I guess him winning the title in Brisbane and reaching the semi-finals here says the match is good.

"He's always been successful in Australia. He has always been very fit and committed and he proves that over and over again. I guess the effect of Lendl being part of his team will be felt in time to come."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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