Murray and Djokovic advance to star studded semi finals of the Australian Open

The semi final line-up for both draws in the Australian Open were confirmed last night with Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray joining fellow leading seeds, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, in the final four of the men’s competition.

In the ladies draw Maria Sharapova progressed to her firstMelbourneParksemi final since winning the 2008 crown and will face second seed Petra Kvitova. Both players were straight set winners against Sara Errani and Ekaterina Makarova respectively to join Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka in a star studded semi final line-up that has brought arguably the best players from the opening ten days of the Open together for Thursday afternoon’s afternoon session.

Kvitova’s two hour victory against Errani once more showed the power of the Czech but also showcased just how much she still tries to force the issue. Her count of 44 unforced errors is too high for this stage of a major but her ability to outhit an opponent always makes her difficult to defeat. A matchup against Sharapova will see two of the most powerful players in the world on court against one another and should provide an intriguing match.

Clijsters had bounded through her match against top seed, Caroline Wozniacki, still feeling the after glow of her incredible comeback against Li Na. The Belgian is clearly playing terrific tennis right now but will face a tremendous challenge against Victoria Azarenka after the Belarusian came from one set behind to defeat Agnes Rodwanska. Azarenka, a two time Australian doubles runner up, has been in tremendous form thus far this tournament and looks as confident as ever of clinching her first Grand Slam title.

Novak Djokovic overcame a hamstring strain in the second set to see off David Ferrar in straight sets. The top seed was pushed all the way in the opening two sets before finding a comfort level that allowed him to clinch the match 6-1 in the third set.

The Serbian will faceMurrayin the semi-final after the Scot also won in straight sets againstJapan’s Kei Nishikori.Murraystruggled badly with his first serve throughout but made it through. The fourth seed will need to improve on serving 44% of his first serves if he is to have a chance against Djokovic on Friday but the two time finalist has played well throughout the tournament and while he will not be favoured to win he will still feel confident of an upset.

Nadal and Federer will face off once again for the right to play in a Grand Slam final and both players have shown once again that they are ready for the new season having played good tennis thus far. For Federer it was imperative to come through comfortably against Juan Martin del Potro and the former world number one came through in two hours against the Argentine having hit almost double his opponent’s winner.

Nadal had a marathon four hour, four set quarter final against Tomas Berdych. The Spaniard was out played by his opponent for much of the match but whereas Berdych always seemed liable to making a mistake Nadal always looked in control of his shots. It was a grind for the formerMelbournechampion but his play will have given him a boost ahead of facing Federer.

Day 11 will see both ladies semi-finals and Federer and Nadal’s matches on the Rod Laver Arena. The men’s semi will obviously garner most of the headlines but all three matches should be very interesting!

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