Murray v Tsonga: Set-by-set updates

Andy Murray dropped his first set of this year's Wimbledon on a tie-break to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to leave himself with plenty of work to do to reach the semi-finals.

Tsonga is one of the most unpredictable players on the men's tour and that was demonstrated in the opening game, with the Frenchman getting himself into trouble with a poor volley and double fault, then blasting his way out of it.

The pair had met three times before, with Murray winning two of those but losing their only previous grand slam meeting in the first round of the Australian Open two years ago.

The 23-year-old had cruised through the opening four rounds while Tsonga struggled, but the 10th seed looked in good touch in the opening stages on Centre Court.

Both players were racing through their service games, with Tsonga frequently rushing the net, but the Frenchman had to dig himself out of a hole in the ninth game.

Murray forced the error on the volley from his opponent but then netted the return on break point and Tsonga survived.

In the next game it was Murray's turn to escape after a wild drive volley had set up set point for Tsonga. He saved that with some decent net play and then powered down two aces to win the game.

Tsonga clearly represented a step up in quality compared with Murray's previous opponents so it was not surprising the Scot found himself in his first tie-break of the tournament.

After the first four points went against serve, it was Tsonga who made the decisive move to lead 6-3. And, although Murray held firm on his service points, the Frenchman clinched it 7-5 with a superb drop volley.

That outcome took Murray's tie-break record for the year to three wins and seven losses, but he had the chance to gain an immediate break at the start of the second set when Tsonga slipped to 15-40.

He could not take either of those chances but a third arrived when the Scot turned defence into attack in brilliant fashion to force the error from Tsonga at the net, and this time he did capitalise thanks to another mistake on the volley.

But all that hard work was squandered with a sloppy game at 3-1, allowing Tsonga to break back. Murray was not playing badly but errors at key times were costing him dearly, and too often his opponent was getting the first strike in.

The Scot was at least serving better than in his victory over Sam Querrey on Monday, and he had a sniff of a second break when a lovely dinked backhand took him to 15-30 at 5-4. Tsonga, though, held his nerve impeccably.

The Frenchman's next service game followed the same pattern, although this time Murray forced deuce. But Tsonga pulled out a second serve at 118mph, leaving the fourth seed waving his arms in frustration, and another tie-break was the inevitable result.

An early mini-break for Murray was quickly retrieved, and he was in trouble when a crunching Tsonga backhand helped him move 5-4 ahead with two serves to come.

The Scot levelled straight away though, with the Frenchman again found wanting at the net, and a bad misjudgement on a Murray return left the Scot serving for the set.

And he took it 7-5, letting out a huge roar after Tsonga went for too much on the return.

Keen to keep the momentum, Murray pressed for a break at the start of the third set, and he forced deuce with a terrific defensive lob. But this time Tsonga held firm.

The Scot's defensive abilities are second only to Rafael Nadal, who was waiting in the last four, and an amazing scrambled forehand took him to 0-30 in the 10th seed's next service game, which quickly developed into a crucial moment in the match.

Five break points came and went, with Tsonga's power - and a little help from the net in one case - keeping his opponent at bay. But on the sixth Murray kept his passing shot low enough to force the Frenchman to volley wide.

Having finally got the break, the 23-year-old seemed set to give it straight back when he slipped to 15-40 but he used his favourite drop shot to pull it back to deuce and held on.

The tide was slowly turning in the home favourite's favour, and the second set was almost in the bag when some resigned shots from Tsonga helped Murray break again.

That took him to 4-1, but the Frenchman recovered from his mental lapse to ensure it would not be a stroll for the British number one, forcing him to save a break point before serving out to win the set 6-2.

Tsonga persisted with his tactic of coming to the net as often as possible, despite frequently being outwitted by Murray, and he paid for it again at the start of the fourth set as a backhand pass took the Scot to 30-30.

This time he did not need to come up with any heroics to break as the 10th seed threw in two poor errors.

Indeed, Tsonga seemed to have stopped believing in an upset that looked very likely for the first two sets and it was no surprise to see Murray break again.

The Le Mans-born 25-year-old also looked to be stuggling physically after a testing passage through the first four rounds and, although he avoided a whitewash, the end was swift in coming.

Tsonga saved one match point with a crunching forehand, forcing the world number four to serve it out. And Murray sealed the 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 6-2 victory in style with a searing forehand winner.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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