Britons shine Down Under

MELBOURNE. — World number two Andy Murray celebrated a day of rare British success yesterday after he outlasted Spain’s David Ferrer to join compatriot Johanna Konta in the Australian Open tennis semi-finals.

Milos Raonic also proved too good for Frenchman Gael Monfils as he became the first Canadian to reach the Australian Open semi-finals and set up a clash against Andy Murray.

The 13th seed with the powerful serve won 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours, 17 minutes to reach what will be his second Grand Slam semi-final after Wimbledon 2014.

Raonic also extended his unbeaten run this year to nine matches. He has not lost at tour level since going down to Rafael Nadal in the third round at Shanghai in October.

Murray, the four-time runner-up, saw off the tenacious Ferrer 6-3, 6-7 (5 /7), 6-2, 6-3 in three hours, 20 minutes to set up a clash with Milos Raonic on Friday.

It was Murray’s sixth Australian Open semi-final and 18th overall in the Grand Slams, as he attempts to go one better after finishing runner-up at four of the last six editions in Melbourne.

But for the first time, Murray has British company in the tournament’s final stages after Konta downed China’s Zhang Shuai to become the first British woman to a reach a Grand Slam semi-final since 1983.

It is the first time that two British singles players — man or woman — have featured in the last four at the same Grand Slam event since John Lloyd and Sue Barker at the 1977 Australian Open.

And adding further lustre to the British day to remember, Murray’s brother Jamie reached the men’s doubles semi-finals with his Brazilian partner Bruno Soares.

Murray said it was a special time for British tennis, after he also led his country to Davis Cup glory against Belgium in November — the first time they have won the tournament since 1936. — AFP.

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