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Wimbledon 2010: Andy Murray to face Nadal in semi-final

Wimbledon Championships
Venue: All England Club, London Date: 21 June - 4 July
Coverage:
Live on BBC One and Two, HD, Red Button, BBC Sport website (UK only), Radio 5 live, 5 live sports extra; live text commentary online and on mobile phones; watch again on BBC iPlayer Full details of BBC coverage

Andy Murray at Wimbledon

Highlights - Murray too strong for Tsonga (UK only)

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Andy Murray reached the Wimbledon semi-finals for the second time with a battling four-set win over France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Centre Court.

The British number one came through a tense encounter 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 6-2 in two hours and 48 minutes.

Tsonga was close to a two-set lead in the second set tie-break but a poor misjudgement let Murray back in and the fourth seed never looked back.

The Scot will play world number one Rafael Nadal in Friday's semi-finals.

"It was really tough," Murray told BBC Sport. "The first couple of sets, we both had chances and neither of us could take them so we had the tie-breaks. I was having to do a lot of defending, but I played very well the last couple of sets."

Murray elated to progress to semis

Murray's first Wimbledon semi-final 12 months ago ended in defeat by Andy Roddick, and things will not get any easier this year against Nadal, but he is in good enough form to feel optimistic of becoming the first British man to reach the final since Bunny Austin in 1938.

He entered a sunbathed Centre Court with his hopes of winning the title arguably boosted already by the demise of six-time champion Roger Federer against Tomas Berdych in the preceding match, and Centre Court was still buzzing in the aftermath.

The Briton, 23, had beaten 10th seed Tsonga in two of their three previous meetings and had not dropped a set in the opening four rounds at Wimbledon 2010.

Tsonga, on the other hand, arrived at the All England Club having retired from his French Open quarter-final with a hip injury earlier this month.

The quarter-final looked set to be a battle between the classic counter-puncher in Murray and the all out attack of Tsonga.

I can beat Nadal - Murray

After the opening 26 minutes were dominated by serve, Murray got a look at a second serve at 4-4, 30-30, and sent a dipping return that Tsonga could not control, but the Briton then failed to make a return on the break point and the fleeting chance was gone.

Tsonga earned himself an opportunity with a couple of huge forehands in the following game and when Murray blazed a forehand drive over the baseline, the fourth seed found himself set point down.

It took him two volleys, but the Briton saw off the danger from the net and fired down his fifth ace to make it 5-5.

With neither man able to make the breakthrough in the opening skirmishes it came down to a tie-break and, after the pair shared an early break apiece, Murray went long with a forehand to fall 4-2 down and could not claw the deficit back.

Tsonga converted his third set point, and first on serve, with a delicate drop volley and the Frenchman had taken the first set of the Championships off Murray.

It will be a great match, it's always fun. I think we've played four times in Grand Slams and won two each. I'm looking forward to it

Murray on facing Nadal

The British number one had done little wrong in losing the first set but he needed a lift and got exactly that at the start of the second when a floated forehand return forced Tsonga to volley into the net.

Murray was in charge at 3-0 but it did not last, a couple of backhand errors giving Tsonga the chance to break back and the Frenchman gratefully powered away a smash.

A second tie-break was required and Tsonga took the initiative with a move to the net to break for 5-4 but Murray responded immediately with a backhand pass, and the Frenchman then made a catastrophic error by leaving a gentle, floating return to drop inside the baseline.

With that mistake surely still in his mind, Tsonga blasted a forehand long on set point and Murray was level.

When a tiring Tsonga volleyed wide on the sixth break point of an epic game at 1-1 in the third set, it felt like the momentum had shifted once and for all, and after recovering from 15-40 in the next game Murray broke once again for an impregnable 4-1 lead.

The Scot saved a break point in game eight with a whipped cross-court forehand before wrapping up the set, and a backhand arrowed down the line moments later saw him break at the start of the fourth.

606: DEBATE

Tsonga could now do nothing against a rampant opponent, dropping serve again to trail 4-0, and Murray clinically served out the match to seal a Grand Slam semi-final place for the fourth time.

The Frenchman said afterwards that Murray had simply "played better", and asked about the ball he let go in the second tie-break he refused to say it was the key moment.

"There is this one but there are others," he said. "This is tennis and sometimes you let a ball go and you lose the point."

Murray admitted that it was "surprising" to see Federer go out in the quarter-finals, but he was positive about the challenge of facing Nadal in the last four.

"It will be a great match, it's always fun," he said. "I think we've played four times in Grand Slams and won two each. I'm looking forward to it."



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see also
Andy Murray column
01 Jul 10 |  Tennis
Henman on men's quarter-finals
30 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Tsonga v Murray as it happened
30 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Wimbledon 2010 - day nine photos
30 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Federer stunned by super Berdych
30 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Nadal hits back to beat Soderling
30 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Djokovic beats Lu to reach semis
30 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis


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