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SPORTS
25 Jan 2012
LIVE - ANDY MURRAY V KEI NISHIKORI AT AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2012

*Murray 6-3 3-2 Nishikori
Murray pings a running forehand against the grain to pull up 30-30 before a swooshing inside-out shot off the same flank gives him a break point. Nishikori defends stoutly though and Murray is less accurate as he tries to find a way through this time. A serve up around the ears of Murray seals the game.
* denotes NEXT to serve

From Pete in London: "These Aussie open times are really playing havoc with my body clock...trying desperately to stay awake listening to 5live but drifting in and out of sleep during this match. Hopefully Andy remains more focused!"

Murray 6-3 3-1 Nishikori*
No wobbles this time from Murray as he holds to love. Plenty of vim and vigour from the Scot who scampers forward to pick up a Nishikori drop-shot before patting away a winning volley. Nicely done.
* denotes NEXT to serve

*Murray 6-3 2-1 Nishikori
Murray snaps back immediately with a break of his own as his forehand winner survives Nishikori's Hawk Eye challenge with ease. A quick manual refresh should drag some 5 live commentary kicking and screaming to the top right of this page for UK users after some technical problems this morning. Sorry about that.
* denotes NEXT to serve

Murray 6-3 1-1 Nishikori*
Nishikori shows the sort of dogged determination that got him through two five-set matches en route to this stage as he battles to 15-40 with some whippy returns. Murray bounces back to see them both off but is back in trouble as Nishikori drills past him on the backhand wing. It is third time lucky for the Japanese as his forehand gasps over the net cord and drops meekly on Murray's side of the court. Even stevens.
* denotes NEXT to serve

*Murray 6-3 1-0 Nishikori
Murray off to a perfect start. Nishikori takes the first two points but Murray is buzzing about with purpose and matches him with a pair of his own. Nishikori nets a backhand slice to give Murray an early chance to break in the second set, no cigar this time for Murray, but a forehand dumped into the net means there is another opportunity just round the corner. Murray hungrily gobbles up the second serve and forces a fatal mistake from the Nishikori racket.
* denotes NEXT to serve

Richard Singapore on Twitter: ""Project 45" to fade, @andy_murray to get stronger and get a decent workout, over in 3 sets. Hopefully... ."

Murray 6-3 Nishikori*
A quickfire hold to love and Murray takes his seat after a job well done in this first set. Plenty of aggression in his groundstrokes and Nishikori, who has clung to his coattails manfully, might struggle to stay the pace.
* denotes NEXT to serve

*Murray 5-3 Nishikori
We'll have to wait. Two break and set points for Murray, but Nishikori claws back both before getting the benefit of a hefty net cord. A deserved bit of fortune for the Japenese there and he takes the game as Murray can't get enough on a fierce first serve and sends a flimsy forehand return into the net.
* denotes NEXT to serve

Murray 5-2 Nishikori*
Where did that come from? Nishikori climbs into a backhand return to send the scoreboard ticking over to 0-40. Three break points then. First saved with a big serve, second back in the bag with a forehand winner, and the third recovered as he presses into the court and forces Nishikori to blaze long. A steely bit of focus from the Scot and he batters his way through the next two points as well. Nishikori sends his racket spinning skywards in disgust at the missed chance. Former British number one Jeremy Bates points out on BBC 5 live that Murray's serve stats are looking fairly tidy. 85% of first serves in, with 75% of points won off it.
* denotes NEXT to serve

*Murray 4-2 Nishikori
More energy-sapping stuff for Nishikori. A backhand kicks out of his reach to bring up 0-30 but we move back to all square as Murray attempts a front-facing, on-the-run hot-dog shot from the baseline and swipes only thin air. Could have been painful that. Nishikori pushes long, and decides against a Hawk Eye challenge, to give Murray break point. Some cracking forehand angles salvage that one but a dismal drop-shot dies in the netting to offer up another. He is blowing hot and cold Nishikori, and a nice backhand volley repels Murray's attempted pass to save the second break. A backhand slice floats long to give Murray a third chance to break, and this time it is the serve that digs Nishikori out of trouble. Another big tee-off and he has finally seen off the danger to win his second game of the set. It was hard work though.
* denotes NEXT to serve

Murray 4-1 Nishikori*
Cheeky stuff from Nishikori as a between-the-legs lob has Murray back-pedalling fast and he wins the rally with a fierce forehand. A Murray backhand drifts long to give Nishikori 0-30. The Japanese misses a second overhead though and a Murray ace takes the game to deuce. The Scot gets over the line via a drop-volley that rolls daintily along the tape before dropping over Nishikori's side of the net.
* denotes NEXT to serve

*Murray 3-1 Nishikori
Nishikori is still struggling to get himself into this match and slips and slides to 15-40 to give Murray two break points. But the Japanese rouses himself to smash away the first and then Murray gets a little over-eager as he pushes a forehand long to waste the second. That gives the Japanese fans in the crowd something to cheer about and the decibel levels rise again as Murray nets to give their man the game and get him on the scoreboard after 23 minutes.

Murray 3-0 Nishikori*
After that commanding break, Murray commits a couple of basic errors en route to 15-40 and two break-back points for Nishikori. But all Nishikori's points have come from mistakes from the Scot and the world number 26 doesn't look like he has the shots to punish Murray any further. In fact his body language suggest he is still feeling the effects of his marathon five-set win over Tsonga in the heat of the day in the last round. Murray quickly sorts himself out and sorts himself out to take the game and a three-game lead. A quick manual refresh should remove the scoreboard error in the previous game, apologies.

*Murray 2-0 Nishikori
If there are any nerves for Nishikori in the biggest match of his career so far, he is hiding it well. A big ace out wide moves him swiftly through to 40-0. Murray gets his teeth into some meaty groundstrokes though, getting his toes up to the baseline and pounding his way to deuce and then forcing a break point. Nishikori saves that one but flops a flabby forehand long to offer up another. Murray has Nishikori on the run off his second serve, but the Japanese is giving Murray a taste of his own medicine with some classic counter-punching. To and fro they go for 42 shots, with Nishikori racking up some serious mileage as he shuttles back and forth on the baseline, before Murray's slice backhand finally evades Nishikori to take the break. That will hurt for Nishikori who has spent far longer out on court than Murray has so far in Melbourne.

Murray 1-0 Nishikori*
A mammoth rally, I'm guessing here, but about 25 shots-worth, ends with Murray slapping away a smash to move on to 40-15. The next point is decidedly shorter as Murray pings down his first ace to tie up the opening game.

0416: Quick fashion check: Murray rocking an orange shirt with blue flashes while Nishikori goes for patriotic red and white. Right, let's roll.


0413: The wise words of Jonathan Overend and Jeremy Bates have just started on BBC Radio 5 live. That audio should be available for UK users in the top right of this page. Lovely.

0411: The players are out on court knocking up. Keep them, and me, company by firing over your opinions, analysis and off-topic observations. Tweet me @mikehensonbbc using the hashtag #BBCTennis or pop out a text on 81111 (UK).

0409: My favourite fact though? He goes by the totally-uncatchy nickname of "Project 45". Apparently the aim to get him up to that number in the rankings, higher than any previous Japanese man, was behind it. The fact that you can't add "ie" or "y" to either or his names probably helped as well.

0405: So who is Kei Nishikori? Well, he is world number 26, ousted French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last round and, like Murray, has worked with uber-coach Brad Gilbert. Murray reckons his fast start to the year may be down to some extra sessions pumping iron down the gym as well.

0400: Welcome one and all. Andy Murray is warming up nicely down under with just one dropped set in his first four games at the Australian Open. With new coach Ivan Llendl in the wings to add a bit of oomph, he is aiming to go one better than the runners-up spots he achieved in 2010 and 2011. Next up is Kei Nishikori for a place in the last four.


Source: bbc.co.uk

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