Last year’s finalist Andy Murray needed to fight off a mirror image of himself on Wednesday as the fifth seed successfully dealt with the slicing and dicing game of Alexandr Dolgopolov 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3 to earn a place in the Australian Open semifinals.

Murray got a taste of what it’s like for others to face his own attack as he played the 22-year-old, who has made a breakthrough in his Melbourne Park debut.

“It’s very tough to face him,” the Scot said. “Every point is different. ...I struggled with my rhythm early, but I thought I did well.” Murray lost his first set of the fortnight as Dolgopolov prevented another straight-set sweep for the seed. But Murray staged a recovery as he won the first dozen points of the fourth set.

“I had to go for my shots more,” he said. “I was tentative in the tiebreaker and missed a few easy forehands, but I got off to a good start, and it settled me down.”

Zvonareva, Clijsters advance

In the women’s quarters, Vera Zvonareva and Kim Clijsters set up a rerun of a 2010 Grand Slam final as the pair each survived loud off-court distractions to post straight-set wins into the semifinals.

The Australia Day holiday provided its share of off-putting moments in both quarterfinals with second seed Zvonareva dealing with the shock of a nearby 21-gun salute and Clijsters startled in her match by a loud and low fighter jet flyover.

Zvonareva beat Czech Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-4 while third seed Clijsters stopped Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).

The Belgian admitted she ducked a bit as jets roared overhead. “They seemed to be flying pretty low over the stadium,” she said. “I was happy to see them go.” Clijsters led a set and 4-2 when she began to lose focus, allowing Radwanska the match lead for a first time as the Pole broke for 5-4 only to drop her own serve a game later, 5-5.

Clijsters regained her momentum to win in a tiebreaker. “I didn’t feel that great out there,” the treble Grand Slam champion said. “I was a little heavy in the legs and tired overall, but I hung in.

She’s a tricky player.” The 2004 Melbourne finalist, playing in her sixth semi at the event, said she was looking forward to facing Zvonareva. “I hope my experience can help a bit,” she said. “We still have the number one, two and three players in the world here.”

The booming celebration also rattled Zvonareva in a game in which Kvitova secured a break for 3-2 in their second set. There was also a lapse as play was halted so medics could attend to an ill spectator.

“The cannon noise was a difficult moment,” Zvonareva admitted. I tried to keep my concentration and focus on my game. I think I did that really well.”

Keywords: Australian Open

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