All thrills, hardly any spills, as Murray storms into the final. How very un-British...

Charlie Cooper reports from SW19 on a semi that didn't end in tears

From the beginning it had the air of a portentous day. The clouds loomed overhead, and great tracts of British countryside were pounded by rain and drowned by floodwaters. There was even talk that lightning might strike London. But over a little corner of the city that has forever been the All England, the sun shone on a Scot who has often struggled to win the hearts of the nation – until now, perhaps.

On Murray Mount, the ground was a slippery sludge yesterday afternoon, bringing a touch of Glastonbury Festival thrills to proceedings. But fears it would turn into Murray Island proved unwarranted. Shortly after 3pm, the leaden clouds parted; blue sky was visible. The fans, whether waving Union Flags or Saltires, were feeling positive. Federer had won his semi-final, and the statistically minded told each other that our man has a better record against Roger than Novak Djokovic, having won eight of their 15 matches.

But first there was the small matter of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the man who stood between Andy Murray and the Wimbledon final. Fortunately for those on the Mount, he now has the unenviable statistic of being the first man to lose to a Briton in a Wimbledon semi-final for 74 years.

The fans up on the hill, and all around Centre Court, were with Murray for every heartbeat. At 5.45pm, a good omen came. The Brit, Marray, had won. Yes, that's "M-a" at the start. Jonathan Marray and his Danish doubles partner Frederick Nielsen had beaten the American Bryan brothers in their semi. Now all that history had to do was change a single letter.

And so it came to pass. After two hours and 47 minutes, Murray won, only dropping the one set and sparing the crowds the usual roller-coaster ride. No heartbreak today.

After all the heart-pounding action, it fell to the cold eye of technology to decide the match. The line judge called Murray's winner out. The computer said otherwise, but only after an agonising few seconds. In the final, not in the final, in the final… But even then the crowd showed few signs of nerves; they seemed to believe.

As terse as his interviews can be, the crowds love Murray. And so do the great and good of politics, who last night were effusive in their praise for the 25-year-old. "An amazing achievement after 74 years of hurt," wrote Labour leader Ed Miliband on Twitter. Not to be outdone, the Prime Minister tweeted: "It is great news that we have our first home-grown men's finalist for over 70 years."

Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister, reclaimed his man: "He has played brilliantly right through the tournament and given the whole country a lift with his performances," he posted on Twitter.

It was a day when the Scot was very much a Brit, though judging by previous years, he may still become a Scot again in the headlines if tomorrow doesn't go his way. In the final, Murray faces perhaps the finest player ever to grace the green grass of Wimbledon. Even though their head-to-head record tips in Murray's favour, Federer has six Wimbledon titles. He has been in more finals than any man in the championships' long history. He has beaten Murray in their two previous Grand Slam finals, at the US and Australian Opens. And he is the bookies' favourite. But he has never played a Brit in the Wimbledon final. Then again, neither has anyone since Bunny Austin's day.

"It's nice to be in the final," said Murray as he reflected on his afternoon. And what of the prospect of winning, he was asked afterwards. "It would be very nice." Even after a day like that, Murray's not one for hyperbole.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
PROMOTED VIDEO
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'