DUBAI (Reuters) - Andy Murray is relishing the chance to avenge his Australian Open semi-final defeat to world number one Novak Djokovic when the pair meet again in the last four of the Dubai Tennis Championships Friday.
Briton Murray, ranked fourth in the world, squandered six match points before he defeated Tomas Berdych 6-3 7-5 in Thursday’s quarter-finals while Djokovic beat fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-1 7-6.
Friday’s match will be the 12th time Murray has faced 24-year-old Djokovic. The Serb boasts a 7-4 winning record and he triumphed in their most recent meeting, a five-set epic in Melbourne in January that lasted just under five hours.
“I would like to get the chance to play him again,” Murray told reporters before Djokovic’s quarter-final match.
”I had a great match with him in Australia, and hopefully can reverse the result tomorrow.
“Any time you get a win against the number one player in the world it’s important, because you don’t get a chance to play them that often.”
Djokovic and Murray are part of a quartet of players who dominate the men’s game along with Swiss Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal. The 24-year-old Briton is, though, very much the junior partner in the group.
Murray has lost all three grand slam finals he has appeared in, while Federer has 16 grand slam titles and Nadal 10.
Djokovic has five and will go into May’s French Open attempting to become the first men’s player to hold all four grand slam titles concurrently since Australia’s Rod Laver in 1969, but the Serb is still not underestimating Murray’s threat Friday.
“Every time you play, especially top four, it’s a big challenge for both of us, especially after that Australian Open’s thrilling match,” Djokovic told reporters.
”He (Murray) is somebody established already at the top of the men’s game, somebody that is one of the biggest talents that I have seen.
”He has an all-round game. He can play equally well in the defence, in the offence. He has a great serve and is very solid from both strokes on the baseline.
”So there is not much weaknesses. I think we have kind of similar styles of the game.
“We’ve played many exciting matches over the last couple of years and the first time we played we were 11 years old so we go back a long time.”
Editing by John Mehaffey