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Murray Down Under

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The question on all our lips is could this be the year Andy Murray wins his maiden Australian Open title...? 

A five-time losing finalist, a semi-finalist and a quarter-finalist in the past six years - an outstanding record, but the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup is still missing from Sir Andy's trophy cabinet.

Melbourne is generally a successful hunting ground for the British No 1 in recent times, but the frustration of having failed to collect his third Grand Slam title is growing - surely it's just a matter of time!

Here, we delve into the archives and take a look back at how Murray has fared down under since his debut as skinny, shy teenager in 2006.

2006-08

Murray's opening round opponent was Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela. 'El Flaco' was a clay-court specialist, but he had all the experience and expertise to brush the 18-year-old's challenge aside, inflicting a 6-1 6-3 6-3 loss.

In 2007, Murray showed just how much he had matured on court as he gained revenge over Chela in the round of 32, winning comfortably, 6-3 6-2 6-4. In the next round he faced the second-ranked Rafa Nadal and gave the Spaniard an almighty fright before going down, 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-4 3-6 1-6.

Murray was still at a stage of his career where he was growing into a fine physical specimen of an athlete and by the following year he was an established star - ranked 11th in the world - and headed to Australia having won the Qatar Open.

He was seeded ninth with high hopes of reaching his first major quarter-final until he was handed the toughest of first-round draws when he was pitted against big-hitting Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who was ranked 38th in the world. Murray ended up slumping to a 7-5 6-4 0-6 7-6 (7-5) defeat.

2009

Murray arrived in Melbourne having suffered from a bout of illness which saw him confined to bed and medicated. Wins against Andrei Pavel, Marcel Granollers and Jurgen Melzer perked him up before his Melbourne dreams faded following a five-set thriller against the dangerous left-hander Fernando Verdasco, 2-6 6-1 1-6 6-3 6-4.

2010

In the quarter-finals, he was 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 3-0 up against second-ranked Rafa Nadal when the Spaniard retired hurt due to a right knee injury on Rod Laver Arena.

That win by default set up a clash against Marin Cilic, the player who knocked him out of the US Open just a couple of months earlier. He showed great resilience and mental fortitude to win in four sets, 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-2 and reach the showpiece event.

Once again he came up against Federer and it was the great man who showed his opponent just why he was world No 1 with a ruthless 6-3 6-4 7-6 (13-11) success.

Murray had been hoping to become the first British male to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry's 1936 US Open victory, but it was Federer who was at his brilliant best to claim his first major title since the previous summer's Wimbledon. On the podium, an emotional Murray stepped back to the microphone and said: "I can cry like Roger. It's just a shame I can't play like him."

2011

Twelve months later, it was the same old story for Murray, but this time against one of his closest friends on the tennis circuit - Serbia's Novak Djokovic.

They first met as juniors when they were 13 and Murray went into their latest encounter having prevailed on the last three occasions, all on hard courts, so the omens were good.

Sadly, on the day, Djokovic condemned Murray to a third defeat in a major final with a straightforward 6-4 6-2 6-3 win.

2012

Djokovic was proving to be both the immovable object and irresistible force as Murray came up against 'The Serbinator' once more, but this time in the semi-finals. The 24 year-old Scot fell agonisingly short on a place in the final, losing to Djokovic in a five-set epic on Rod Laver Arena, 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 7-5.

The world No 1's extraordinary survival instincts kicked in just when he needed it in an astonishing match that lasted a gruelling four hours and 50 minutes.

2013

Victory in New York put him in good stead heading into the new season and seemingly even more determined to prove a point at Melbourne Park. He faced the ultimate semi-final test against Federer - the man who prevented Murray from claiming the Wimbledon title just six months earlier.

He reached his sixth Grand Slam final and third consecutive in Australia thanks to a 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-2 victory over a hot-tempered Swiss. It was the first time that Murray had beaten his old rival at a major.

In the final, it was familiar foe Djokovic waiting and once again it was the Serb who prevailed in four sets for his third consecutive Australian Open title and fourth overall.

2014

Despite his heroics at the All England Club, Murray's search for a major Melbourne crown continued as he went into the first major of the year having just recovered from minor back surgery in September. The effort of reaching the last eight and then battling for three hours and 20 minutes appeared to be taking a toll on the Brit and he was sent crashing out by Federer at the quarter-final stage 6-3 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3.

2015

Murray blamed himself for falling for Djokovic's rope-a-dope tactics after losing his fourth final in Melbourne. At the start of both the second and third sets the world No 1 looked to be a spent force physically as he stumbled and struggled to chase balls but he roared back to blitz the Scot in four sets - winning 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-0.

Djokovic won 36 of the last 49 points and it was the first time in Australian Open history that the last set in a men's final had ended in a 'bagel' set.

2016

Murray took on Djokovic for a fourth time in the final, but had only beaten the Serb once in their previous 11 meetings. It was no surprise to see that familiar look of resignation at the trophy presentation following a heavy 6-1 7-5 7-6 (7-3) defeat as he walked away as the runner-up for the fifth time in seven years.

Murray's overall record at Melbourne Park is 45 wins and 11 defeats. Since 2010, he has won 39 matches and lost seven.

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