Australian Open: Andy Murray to face 'confident' Tomas Berdych

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Murray: Berdych has edge with Vallverdu
Australian Open semi-final - Murray v Berdych
Date: Thursday, 29 January Time: 08:30 GMT Venue: Melbourne Park
Coverage: Live on BBC Two, text commentary on the website, audio commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Andy Murray will step into familiar territory when he faces Tomas Berdych in the Australian Open semi-finals.

The pair will meet for the 10th time at 08:30 GMT on Thursday, and the Czech will have Briton Murray's former coach Dani Vallverdu in his corner.

Berdych has won six of their 10 matches and beat Rafael Nadal for the first time in nine years in the last eight.

Murray said: "He's played extremely well this tournament so far; he'll be coming into the match with confidence."

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Murray: Win offers 'good opportunity'

The 27-year-old added: "He's a big guy. He strikes the ball very well. He serves well. He's fairly calm on the court. I think he manages his emotions fairly well."

Murray is a three-time finalist at Melbourne Park and, guided by coach and former champion Amelie Mauresmo, has won his first five matches for the loss of just one set.

There have been few alarms along the way, with the Scot raising his level when required against Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios in the last two rounds.

"The further down the road you get, the better players you play, there's going to be more times when you might get behind or you might get broken or they might play great tennis for a few games," Murray added.

"You need to be able to weather the storm and hopefully come through it. So far it's been a good sign."

Pat Cash on Murray's progress
"I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Murray holding the trophy on Sunday night. His body's in good shape; here he is in the semi-final and he's only lost a set. To be fresh at this time in the tournament is really, really important because the next couple of matches are going to be big. All the players are going to be hurting and being the fresher man could make the difference."

Mauresmo was brought into the Murray team last June following the departure of Ivan Lendl, and she worked with Vallverdu until the Venezuelan left the camp in November.

While Vallverdu has dismissed any talk of a rift, Murray said at the start of the tournament that "when things aren't working well, there's not a positive atmosphere, it's not good for anybody".

Berdych, 29, has been impressed with his new coach after ending a 17-match losing streak against Nadal, and believes Vallverdu's inside knowledge could help on Thursday.

"Definitely it might be an advantage for us, but that's how it is," said Berdych, who has yet to drop a set.

"What is more important is to be prepared for that match, to be ready, to set up the plan, and try to execute it on the court.

"Really the preparation is exactly the same like for all my past opponents so far here. I'm not going to change anything else with that."

Murray v Berdych

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