Murray to raise his game in last four

ANDY MURRAY is confident he will have little problem in stepping up his performance level for tomorrow’s Australian Open semi-final against Roger Federer, despite his low-key passage to the last four.

Murray has barely broken sweat in advancing to his fourth successive Melbourne semi, although he turned in a much-improved display against big-hitting Jeremy Chardy yesterday.

He accepts, though, that he will need to play better still against the 17-time major winner, who came through a tough five-setter against Jo- Wilfried Tsonga, with a place in Sunday’s final at stake.

“I think you have to trust yourself that when you are tested you’re going to play better tennis,” he said.

“You never know for sure but in the build-up to the tournament I played very well.

“I haven’t lost a set here yet so maybe I am expecting to play too well. But I’ve done a good job so far in this tournament.

“I can’t be disappointed with where my game’s at and I hope in the next round I play better again.”

Having come through a lifeless contest again a fatigued Gilles Simon on Monday, the encounter with Chardy was, at least, competitive.

But US Open champion Murray was never seriously threatened by the world number 36 and came through 6-4 6-1 6-2 in one hour 51 minutes.

He capitalised on Chardy’s early nerves – the Frenchman was making his first appearance in the last eight of a major – to race into a 4-0 firstset lead.

Chardy dragged one of the breaks back but could not prevent the Scot from claiming the opener.

And with Chardy’s main strengths, his booming serve and crushing forehand, failing to fire, it was no surprise when two more breaks put Murray two sets up and in total control.

Murray has not lost from that position since going down to David Nalbandian at Wimbledon in 2005 – and a comeback never looked likely here as Chardy’s game started to disintegrate.

Murray surged 5-1 ahead and although there was a minor blip when he failed to serve it out at the first attempt, he promptly won the next game to secure the win and gain revenge for a defeat in their last meeting, at the Cincinnati Masters last year.

‘‘I thought I started pretty well,’’ said Murray, who is bidding to become the first man in the Open era to follow up his first grand slam triumph by winning the next major.

‘‘There were a couple of games I could have done a bit better in, but for the most part it was good.”

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