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Murray: I'll need to be at my best to conquer Wawrinka

By Eleanor Crooks

Andy Murray is reaping the benefits of being healthy, according to coach Ivan Lendl.

From hugely unpromising beginnings, the World No.1 has progressed through the French Open draw to another Grand Slam semi-final. He will face Stan Wawrinka today looking to repeat last year's victory, which earned him a first final appearance at Roland Garros.

Lendl has reunited with Murray for the first tournament since the Australian Open having watched his charge's struggles from afar. But he insisted he was not too concerned because he knew illness and injury had badly affected Murray's training.

Lendl said: "Winning is better, but I knew the reasons why he was struggling. It was just a bit of bad luck.

"With the shingles and the elbow and then flu and then another flu and so on, you just need to put in consistent work before you can expect consistent results.

"He's won five matches and I'm hoping he can win more."

Murray and Lendl got back to basics in the week before the tournament - once Murray had got over his latest illness.

The Scot admitted the drills were "pretty boring" but they have had the desired effect, with Murray now resembling the player who dominated the second half of last season.

He said: "When I'm getting into longer rallies now, I feel like I'm sort of in autopilot, I know what I should be doing and I'm hitting the ball in the right place.

"Whereas in Madrid (where he lost his second match to Borna Coric), I didn't know which shots to play. I was rushing a little bit. I was making poor decisions.

"So I'm thinking less on the court. I think when things aren't going well, it's very easy to over-think things. You can be worrying about technique, which is never good when you're playing.

"And I was still feeling a little bit like that at the beginning of the tournament. But I got through that and that made a huge, huge difference to me."

That first win was against Andrey Kuznetsov, and further victories have followed against Martin Klizan, Juan Martin del Potro, Karen Khachanov and Kei Nishikori.

Murray will almost certainly have to play better if he is to repeat last year's victory over Wawrinka, who is yet to drop a set and crushed in-form Marin Cilic on Wednesday.

The top seed said: "When we played last year, it was a similar situation coming in. I think Stan had played really well.

"I had struggled in some of my matches during the event last year, but I played one of my best clay-court matches that day to get the win. I need to do the same again.

"He's obviously played extremely well the last few years at the French, and he's confident. It's going to be very tough."

Meanwhile, Dominic Thiem is under no illusions about the size of the task ahead of him as he chases his first Grand Slam title.

Having pulled off the greatest win of his career to knock out defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarters, the young Austrian now finds himself facing nine-time champion Rafael Nadal.

No man has ever beaten Djokovic and Nadal back-to-back and won a Grand Slam, and even if Thiem were to get past the Spaniard, he would still have to defeat either Wawrinka or Murray.

"It's a joke how tough it is to win a Slam," said Thiem.

He is looking to join Cilic and Del Potro as the only players other than Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Wawrinka and Roger Federer to win Grand Slam titles in the last 12 years. Thiem can at least take confidence from knowing he won his last match against Nadal, in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open three weeks ago.

"It's going to be the fourth match against him in six weeks," said Thiem. "It's going to be the toughest match."

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