MELBOURNE // Andy Murray ended Alexandr Dolgopolov's brilliant debut at Melbourne Park, beating the giant-killing Ukrainian 7-5, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 with an impeccable defensive game to ease into the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
Up two sets and a break in the third, the spring-heeled Scot appeared to be cruising to victory, but was stunned when Dolgopolov broke back and prevailed in a tense battle of nerves to win the tiebreaker 7-3.
The resurgence was to prove fleeting as Dolgopolov self-destructed early in the fourth set, falling back 4-0 to allow Murray to calmly serve out the 186 minute match on a chilly summer's day at Rod Laver Arena.
Dolgopolov had already beaten Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2008 runner-up, and Robin Soderling, the French Open finalist.
"It was very tough," Murray said afterwards. "Every point against him is different, he hits the ball differently to everyone else, it's tough to explain.
"I struggled with my rhythm early on and he came back in the third set but I thought I did well enough."
The victory ensured the No 5 seed Murray entered his second successive semi-final at Melbourne Park as he seeks to end Britain's 75-year wait for a men's grand slam champion.
The Briton will play the winner of David Ferrer and Rafa Nadal for a place in the final.