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Murray reaches Australian Open final, can end drought

MELBOURNE, Australia - There he was, mouth agape, roaring like a Highlands warrior in full battle cry in "Braveheart." The force from Andy Murray's lungs seemed to add heft to the forehand winner he hurled down the line.

The match turned there - in the fifth game of the second set - and it would not be long before the 22-year-old Scot was on his way to the Australian Open final.

After dropping serve to Croatia's Marin Cilic twice in the opening set, Murray recovered to win last night's semifinal, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, and reach his second Grand Slam final.

"It was really important because I don't want to say the match was slipping away from me, but the momentum was definitely with him," Murray said.

Now, with only top-ranked Roger Federer or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ahead, he is one win from breaking a drought for British men at the four majors that dates to Fred Perry in 1936.

That's a lot of pressure on Murray. It proved too much for the likes of Tim Henman, John Lloyd and others. But the pressure valve was released, at least for a few sets last night, in one riveting point.

Murray raced to the net to reach a ball that had caught the net and dropped on his side. He then made a lunging volley to extend the rally and sprinted back to the baseline to chase down Cilic's deep lob. Somehow, spinning as he swung the racket blindly right to left, he hit a forehand winner past Cilic.

Then he roared a prolonged roar. The challenge from Cilic, who had beaten Murray in straight sets in the fourth round of the U.S. Open, faded.

"He played some really aggressive tennis . . . was putting me under a lot of pressure," Murray said. "But, yeah, that shot made a big difference. I just managed to chase it down."

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