The Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer semi-final had set the stage and people looked forward to another thrilling match when Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray faced off in the second semi-final. (All AFP and AP Images)
The start of the match gave no clue as to the drama to follow, with Djokovic breaking Murray twice to seal the first set and forcing an early break in the second as the Scot struggled to gain a foothold.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, bottom centre, was in the stands to watch the gripping semi-final.
The British number one stayed in charge in a gruelling third set lasting 88 minutes, nearly the same as a football match, as he saved three set points on his serve and then dominated the tie-break to move ahead.
But just when Djokovic looked in real trouble, there was a momentum shift, with the top seed racing into a 4-0 lead in the fourth set with two breaks, taking it 6-1 to set up the dramatic decider.
The match lasted 4hr 50min, not far short of the longest ever played at the Australian Open, the 2009 semi-final between Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco, which lasted 5hr 14min.
Earlier, the Russian pair of Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva won the Australian Open women's doubles crown, coming from behind to beat the Italian pair of Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani in three sets.