Nadal next as Murray reaches last four

Andy Murray survived his first scare of this year's Wimbledon as he found a way past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Centre Court this evening to set up a blockbuster semi-final against Rafael Nadal.

The fourth seed looked in danger throughout the first two sets as he fought to withstand a barrage of power.

But coming through a tense tie-break to level the match, with some help from a huge Tsonga misjudgement, ultimately proved the turning point.

Murray then broke serve after an epic game early in the third set before running away with the match as Tsonga battled body and mind, the Scot eventually winning 6-7 (5/7) 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 6-2.

Murray said: "It was a really tough first couple of sets. He was going for huge shots on both sides, but I played very well in the last couple of sets."

The Frenchman was clearly on a level above any of Murray's previous opponents, so it was not surprising the British number one found himself in his first tie-break of the tournament.

After the first four points in the tie-break 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 the set with a superb drop volley.

That 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 Murray 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.

He pressed hard for a second break but it would not come so into another tie-break they went.

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 woeful mistake by Tsonga, choosing to leave a return which bounced inside the court, left Murray serving for the set.

And he took the chance, letting out a huge roar after Tsonga went for too much on the return.

The Scot's defensive abilities are second only to those of Nadal and an amazing scrambled forehand took him to 0-30 in Tsonga's second service game of the third set, 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 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 the set.

Tsonga, though, seemed to have stopped believing in an upset that looked very likely for the first two sets and the writing was firmly on the wall as Murray moved 4-0 ahead in the fourth set.

The Le Mans-born 25-year-old also looked to be struggling 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 his opponent to serve it out, and Murray sealed victory in style with a searing forehand winner.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border