Andy Murray may not be back to his best yet but, with a place in the final of the Australian Open, has demonstrated that he is closer than he has been for some time.
With stealth like accuracy on his ground strokes and pin point precision on his slice serve he is in the showpiece in Melbourne for a fourth time, but it is world number one Novak Djokovic who stands in his way.
Murray is using his slice serve very effectively out wide on the deuce side and down the middle on the advantage side. He has beaten some very talented hard hitters on the way to the final and will be desperate to go all the way.
In the fourth round it was Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria who ran out of steam as Murray forced him to play one more ball on every point. Tactically Murray was spot on, making sure he tired Dimitrov out after his epic five set match against Marcos Baghdatis in the previous round.
In the quarter finals, Australia’s wait for a home grown champion was prolonged as Nick Kyrgios threw everything at Murray who absorbed the youngsters best shots then returned them with interest and accuracy.
Article continues below
In the post-match interview with Jim Courier, Murray commended Kyrgios for his efforts at the tender age of 19 for reaching his second quarter-finals at a Grand Slam having reached the last eight at Wimbledon. He also urged the public not to put too much pressure on the youngster who has a bright future.
Too much to handle
During the semi-final, Tomas Berdych seemed stunned at times as Murray kept slice serving the ball into his favoured forehand side, with the spin imparted on the ball ensuring it swerved away from the Czech's hitting zone and kept him off balance.
The match was buoyed by emotion due to Berdych appointing Murray's friend and former coach Dani Vallverdu onto his own team. After losing the first set in a tiebreaker Murray took control of the match and played some of the best tennis seen from him since his victory at Wimbledon in 2013.
Can he now overcome Djokovic?