Andy Murray believes he is finally making significant progress on the court after he reached his first ATP final in 27 months in Sydney.
The former world number one faced Reilly Opelka in the semi-finals on Friday and, despite losing the first set, was able to book himself a place in the final with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 win.
It came three years to the day that he tearfully announced he was likely to retire due to the hip injury that decimated his career while world number one, and he will now have the chance to win what would be a 47th career title.
“It’s already been a great week for me, big progress from anything I’ve done in the last year or so, to string four matches together like this and against top players in [Nikoloz] Basilashvili and Opelka,” Murray said after the match.
“I’ll go for 47 tomorrow. It’s been a good week, I’ve played better with each match, so hopefully I’ll step it up again tomorrow.”
Murray faced the unenviable task of dealing with Opelka’s huge serving, with the American delivering 20 aces during their match.
He, though, believes one tactic in particular worked well on the day, although he has always been known for being one of the best returners in tennis.
“You can’t really prepare for it, to be honest, you just have to try and adjust while you’re out there. I chose to block quite a few returns, to get lots in play today, which worked pretty well,” Murray said.
“It’s tough but returning has always been one of the strongest parts of my game, and I used it well today.”
Murray will play top seed Aslan Karatsev in the final on Saturday as both players look to head into the Australian Open on a high.
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