Magic Murray secures final spot
Jul 07 2012
Andy Murray became the first British player in 74 years to reach the men's singles final at Wimbledon with a dramatic four-set victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
For two sets it looked like the Scot would have no trouble assigning 1938 runner-up Bunny Austin's name to history, but Tsonga fought back and it was with relief and delight that Murray sealed a 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory.
The 25-year-old will face Roger Federer in Sunday's final, looking to win his first grand slam title at his fourth attempt and become the first home player to lift the men's singles trophy at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.
There was no doubt the Scot went into the match as the favourite having beaten Tsonga in five of their six previous meetings, including in the quarter-finals here two years ago. The Frenchman, though, has been a consistent improver and beat Federer in the last eight at Wimbledon 12 months ago from two sets down.
Murray began confidently and aggressively, and made the best possible start with a break in Tsonga's first service game, nailing a backhand down the line. The Frenchman had started slowly and although Murray had to save two break points, he held his advantage to take the set.
The fourth seed's serve, such a weapon all fortnight, was again proving a reliable ally, and he was also getting plenty of balls back in play off the Tsonga delivery.
The Frenchman's serve had only been broken four times in the tournament before this match, but Murray got his reward for more excellent play in the fifth game of the second set, moving 3-2 ahead when Tsonga drilled a forehand wide, and once again a single break was enough.
It was all too easy, this was a Wimbledon semi-final after all, and victory seemed a little further away when Murray's level dropped for the first time in the second game of the third set and Tsonga broke to love. Tsonga went on to take the set despite being momentarily felled by a shot from his opponent drilled right into a delicate area.
The start of the fourth set was huge for both players, and it was Murray who made the first move, breaking for a 3-1 lead and moving to within touching distance of the final. Tsonga was not done yet, though, playing some stunning points to break back immediately.
Murray piled on the pressure with Tsonga serving at 6-5 behind, moving to love-30, and soon he had two match points. Murray looked to have taken his chance with a brilliant forehand return. Dramatically, it was called out, but HawkEye showed it to be in and the Scot, almost overcome with emotion, looked up at the sky as he took in his achievement.
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