Tennis: Murray into semi-final

Andy Murray swept into the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals as the world No.3 defeated France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 7-6 (7-3). Photo / Getty Images.
Andy Murray swept into the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals as the world No.3 defeated France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 7-6 (7-3). Photo / Getty Images.

Andy Murray swept into the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals as the world No.3 defeated France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at London's O2 Arena today.

After Novak Djokovic's win over Tomas Berdych earlier today, Murray knew he only needed to take one set off seventh-seeded Tsonga to guarantee his third appearance in the last four of the season-ending event.

The 25-year-old took just 33 minutes to achieve his goal and he eventually sealed his second win of the tournament, advancing from Group A in second place behind Djokovic, despite a late flurry from Tsonga.

After a glorious year which has featured his first grand slam title at the US Open, a gold medal in the Olympic singles and a first appearance in the Wimbledon final, Murray would love to cap the campaign with a first Tour Finals crown.

To do that he is likely to have to get past defending champion Roger Federer, who will be the Scot's semi-final opponent on Sunday if, as expected, the Wimbledon champion finishes top of Group B.

Tsonga, beaten in his previous two group matches, required a straight sets victory to sneak through at Murray's expense, but his track record suggested the outcome wouldn't go his way.

Murray had won six of their previous seven clashes, including a semi-final success at Wimbledon earlier this year, while Tsonga had lost all 11 of his meetings with top-eight ranked players this year.

Cleverly mixing the pace and flight of his groundstrokes, Murray quickly took charge and tempted Tsonga into a series of rash shots from the baseline that gifted the Scot a break in the opening game.

Murray continued to baffle Tsonga with his astute shot selection and secured a second break for a 3-0 lead when the frazzled Frenchman drove a forehand into the net.

Tsonga, the Tour Finals runner-up 12 months ago, finally got on the scoreboard when he held serve in the fifth game, but Murray refused to relinquish his strangehold and easily closed out the set.

Murray kept his foot on the gas and broke in the first game of the second set thanks to a Tsonga double-fault.

Yet, with defeat looking certain, Tsonga underlined why he can be so frustrating as he suddenly started playing with real purpose and broke Murray to love to level at 4-4.

Tsonga saved two break points at 5-5 and kept the pressure on Murray, who had to save a set point to force a tie-break.

But the Scot refound his rhythm in the breaker and some searing groundstrokes ended Tsonga's resistance.

Earlier, Djokovic, who also needed just one set to secure his semi-finals berth, took just over half an hour to secure that goal against Berdych.

But he refused to take it easy after that and secured the victory which guaranteed first place in the group and potentially an easier route to the final.

In the process, Djokovic also secured his 73rd match win of 2012, moving him level with David Ferrer as the year's two most successful players on the Tour.


-AAP

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