Andy Murray recovered from a set down to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 at the Aegon Championships today in a repeat of their Wimbledon semi-final from last year.
The top seed was having problems trying to deal with the Frenchman's power early on, struggling to make a dent in Tsonga's service games. But after an edgy game at 3-3 in the second set he turned it round; winning nine of the last 11 games to surge into his third Queen's Club final.
In the windy conditions it was Murray who provided the early pressure, taking Tsonga to deuce and then earning a break point in the following game. But the Frenchman’s serve came to the fore as he fended off the British number one, and after that Tsonga started to impose himself upon the match.
Murray was making a lot of use of the Hawk Eye system, and after his second unsuccessful challenge his focus seemed to waver. A wild double fault at 0-30 offered up three break points for Tsonga, but the world number two responded well – finding his first serve as he won the next five points in a row to hold.
The Brit was still struggling to get a racquet on the Frenchman’s serve, and after a couple of straighforwards holds Tsonga looked to attack again, taking the match to Murray. And this time he found the breakthrough; a rocket backhand return setting up the break points before Murray served up his second double fault of the game, gifting the fourth seed the vital break. Tsonga then served it out with aplomb, hitting three big serves to take the first set 6-4.Read more (442 words)
Tsonga continued to serve up bombs as Murray struggled to deal with the Frenchman’s power. And the Scot found himself in more trouble early on in the second set, quickly going down 0-30 after a couple of careless errors. But he was able to dig himself out of trouble again, aided once again by the re-appearance of his first serve.
The world number two found himself in yet another hole at 3-3, and it seemed only a matter of time before Tsonga would break through Murray’s resistance. But suddenly Murray came to life; fending off break points with a big serve and beautiful touch volley, he eventually held serve and then turned the tables on the world number seven. Some aggressive play saw him open up his first break points of the match since the third game, and despite missing the first Tsonga netted on the second as the Brit started to take control.
From the cusp of going a break down deep in the second set, Murray was serving to take it to a decider. Which he did, taking it on his first set point to level the match.
The momentum was now with the British number one, and in the third game of the decider he forged out three more break points with some clever play. But Tsonga responded in kind, battling back to deuce with some heavy hitting, including a second serve ace. Murray would not give it up however, and after half-a-dozen break points he finally seized the advantage with a brilliant volley winner.
Tsonga was trying to get back in the match but the 2011 champion would not relent, and after Murray consolidated the break the fight seemed to leave the Frenchman. Murray broke again in a much more straight-forward game – to love this time – as he raced into a 5-1 lead. And after an hour and 48 minutes he served it out with an ace down the tee - not dissimilar to the one that saw him seal the Olympic gold nearly a year ago.
In the final Murray will take on the defending champion Marin Cilic, who edged out Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the other semi-final. Murray is looking to retain his crown that he conceded to Cilic a year ago.
The Brit will turn out again afterwards for an exhibition match with Tim Henman, Ivan Lendl and Tomas Berdych for Rally Against Cancer. The event is in honour of his good friend and Davis Cup doubles player Ross Hutchins, who is looking to raise money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity to thank them for helping him as he battles Hodgkins lymphoma.