Andy Murray wins through to Wimbledon semi-final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

 

Andy Murray reached the
Wimbledon semi-finals for the fourth year in a row with a hugely
impressive victory over in-form Spaniard David Ferrer.

The fourth seed looked in big trouble at a set and a break down but he dug deep, saved a set point in an epic second-set tie-break and eventually came through 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (8/6) 6-4 7-6 (7/4).

On Friday he will play Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as he bids to become the first British man since Bunny Austin in 1938 to reach the Wimbledon singles final.

Murray faced an uphill task if he was to reach a fourth consecutive Wimbledon semi-final after dropping the first set on a tie-break to David Ferrer.

The 30-year-old Spaniard is having the season of his life.

He has already won four titles, a career high, and last month he reached the semi-finals at the French Open for the first time by beating Murray.

That was no surprise, clay is Ferrer's favourite surface, but he has taken that form onto grass, winning the warm-up event in 's-Hertogenbosch and now making the last eight here for the first time.

Murray played very well to beat Marin Cilic yesterday, but at the same time Ferrer was defeating Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets.

And Ferrer began brilliantly today, winning the first five points and then forcing Murray to save two break points.

The Scot had two chances to break in the next game but Ferrer held firm, and it was the underdog who drew first blood to move 3-1 ahead when Murray netted a forehand.

With two of the best returners facing one another, it was not surprising the games were close, and Ferrer kept his nose in front until he served for the set at 5-3.

Murray stepped up a gear on his return and saved one set point before breaking back courtesy of a great backhand pass.

Into the tie-break they went, and from 2-0 behind, Ferrer won the next four points to take control.

Murray retrieved the mini-break but then netted a forehand to go set point down at 6-5, and this time the Spaniard took his opportunity when the home hope again found the net.

Ferrer is renowned for his relentless hitting and great movement but he was showing how much else he has in his game, including decent touch at the net.

Murray had a chance to break in the second game of the second set but could not take it.

It was high-class tennis but the fourth seed certainly had another level to go up, particularly on his forehand.

That was his undoing again in the seventh game as he netted a shot he should have made to hand Ferrer two break points.

He saved both, and then a third that followed in one of the longest and most tense rallies of the match.

It felt like a big moment but instead Ferrer redoubled his efforts in the next Murray service game and this time he did break through when the Scot hit a drop shot wide.

That left the 30-year-old serving for the set but for the first time he wobbled, a series of errors allowing Murray to level at 5-5.

A second tie-break soon followed and again it was Ferrer who took control, winning the first three points and then opening up a 5-2 lead.

Murray fought back to draw level, though, and then saved the first set point, this time his forehand holding firm.

A big serve gave the fourth seed a set point and he took it 8-6 when Ferrer finally buckled after another brutal rally.

Murray's shot selection had been poor at times on big points but he showed admirable nerve and skill to see out the tie-break.

However, there was still plenty of work to do, and Ferrer had the first chance of the third set when he forced two break points in the fourth game, but Murray managed to stave off the threat.

Murray was struggling to make any headway on his opponent's serve, and both players had fallen below the very high standard of the first two sets.

Another tie-break looked on the cards, but a super forehand return from Murray earned him his first break point of the set in the ninth game and a chance to serve for it at 5-4.

He took it, a backhand proving too good even for Ferrer's remarkable defences, and did not allow his opponent a sniff of a break back as he clinched the set 6-4 with an ace.

It was a huge set for Murray - but with Ferrer on the other side of the net there was plenty of hard work still to come, and the Scot was starting to look a little weary.

Once again it was Ferrer who had the first sight of a break in the fourth set when he created two chances in the eighth game, but again Murray saved them, as he had on 10 of the 12 occasions he had faced break point.

The Scot's serve had not been quite as effective as it was against Cilic but it was still a reliable ally when he needed it, and Ferrer could do nothing with his chances.

As often happens, saving break points in one game led to chances in the next, and Murray was within spitting distance of the semi-finals at 15-40.

However, it was Ferrer's turn to dig deep, and the Spaniard celebrated when he finally came through the game.

There was just time for Murray to hold serve for 5-5 before the rain came and the match was suspended for the first time.

The players were not off for long, though, and when they returned both held serve easily to set up a third tie-break.

Murray was close again when he moved a mini-break ahead at 5-3, and he brought up his first match point with a forehand powered down the line.

An ace clinched one of his finest grand slam wins and set up a semi-final on Friday against fifth seed Tsonga, who he has beaten in five of their six previous meetings.

PA

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
News
news
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
propertyfilmReview: It's the sheer nastiness of the Riot Club that takes you aback, says Geoffrey Macnab

Sport
Twelve of the winning bidders will each host three group matches
football
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
football
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

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.

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week