Murray faces Raonic hurdle

 Andy Murray (AFP)
Andy Murray (AFP)

Melbourne - Andy Murray faces Milos Raonic in the Australian Open semis on Friday as he aims for his fifth final in Melbourne and another tilt at a title which has so far remained tantalisingly out of reach.

The Scot, seeded second, has lost all four finals he has played in Melbourne with the big-serving Canadian, now working under former world number one Carlos Moya, his last obstacle to reaching a fifth.

A pumped-up Murray, who was taken on an emotional rollercoaster after his father-in-law's collapse last week at Rod Laver Arena, and who has a heavily pregnant wife at home, said he had only one thought in mind.

"Obviously I want to win these events. That's why I'm still playing," he said. "After a tough year in 2014, I think I'm now sort of established again at the top of the game and giving myself chances.

"That's all I can keep doing. And working hard."

Murray is into his sixth Australian Open semi-final and 18th overall in the Grand Slams, while Raonic, seeded 13, is in only his second Slam semi, after Wimbledon 2014 where he lost in straight sets to Roger Federer.

They have a 3-3 head-to-head record and the big-serving Canadian is oozing confidence, with much better composure on court and a more rounded game after taking on former world number one Carlos Moya as his coach.

"It's a great opportunity for me," Raonic said. "I had a disappointing semi-final two years ago (at Wimbledon), and I just want to change that story around and give myself another go with more experience.

"I feel like I'm a better player than I was two years ago."

The women's title fight has already been decided with world number one Serena Williams facing German seventh seed Angelique Kerber on Saturday.

Also on Friday's bill is the women's doubles final, with Switzerland's Martina Hingis and India's Sania Mirza gunning for their third Slam title.

The pair are on a 35-match win streak, the third best in WTA history, claiming the Wimbledon and the US Open crowns last year.

It has been a hugely successful pairing since they teamed up last March at Indian Wells. They have gone on to reach 10 finals and opened their 2016 season by winning the Brisbane International.

Seeded top in Melbourne, seventh seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic stand in their way of another tournament victory.

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