Relentless Andy Murray moves surges to semi-finals after victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

One set would have sufficed, but the Scot completes victory over Tsonga to progress

The O2 Arena

The tournament that brings together the year’s most successful players will see the best of the best compete for the ultimate prize after Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic emulated Roger Federer in reaching tomorrow’s semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

The favourite to join the game’s three highest-ranked players after today’s concluding round-robin matches is David Ferrer, who in the absence of the injured Rafael Nadal is not only the best active Spaniard but also the next player in the world pecking order.

A day that began with 10 possible scenarios in terms of qualification from Group A and with all four men in contention for the two semi-final berths on offer ended in straight- forward fashion. Djokovic’s 6-2, 7-6 victory in the afternoon over Tomas Berdych left Murray needing to win just one set against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the evening. Murray reached his goal after only 33 minutes and went on to win 6-2, 7-6. The world No 3 has reached the same stage of the year-ending tournament on two previous occasions but has never played in the final.

Murray and Djokovic will learn their semi-final opponents today. The Scot can face only Federer or Juan Martin del Potro, who meet this afternoon. Murray will play Federer if the Swiss wins, but a victory for Del Potro would not see the Group B positions decided until the evening encounter between Ferrer and Janko Tipsarevic, who has been ill all week and has won a total of just eight games in two successive straight-sets defeats.

Any disappointment Murray had felt at losing to Djokovic in his previous group match two days earlier was quickly dispelled as he flew out of the blocks against Tsonga.

The Frenchman, who had won only one of his previous seven meetings with Murray, was 4-0 down before you could say Jacques Robinson.

Some of Tsonga’s early shot-making was woeful - the world No 8 made 17 unforced errors in the first set - but he was put under constant pressure by Murray’s excellence. The Scot chased every ball and settled immediately into his rhythm, forcing Tsonga back with his ground strokes.

Murray failed to take his first two set points, double-faulting on the second of them, but converted the third when Tsonga hit a service return beyond the baseline. The Scot, no doubt aware that he had secured his place in the semi-finals, clenched his fist in celebration.

As Murray took his foot off the accelerator, Tsonga recovered an early break in the second set and had a set point when Murray served at 5-6, only to put a forehand wide. However, Murray quickly took control of the tie-break, which he won 7-3, completing the job with an ace.

Djokovic became the first of the eight singles players to complete a clean sweep of his round-robin matches when he beat Berdych for the 11th time in their 12 meetings. The Serb has been a changed man since last week, when he lost in his opening match at the Paris Masters and looked like a player for whom the end of the season could not come soon enough.

There was even talk in the French capital that Djokovic, weighed down by concerns over his father’s health and apparently running on empty after a gruelling campaign, might not make it to the start line for this week’s tournament.

The Serb has won his matches here against a background of further worrying reports about his father, Srdjan, who is said to be suffering from an acute respiratory illness. Earlier this week a Serbian source claimed that Srdjan had been flown from Belgrade to a hospital in Germany.  Although Djokovic has been reluctant to discuss the matter he said yesterday that his father was ‘better’ and talked about ‘good news every day’, which ‘makes me happier, makes me play more relaxed’. He added: ‘Every win means a lot for my family and me, but there are more important things in life and that’s health. I guess that’s the priority now.’

Berdych, who can now concentrate on next weekend’s Davis Cup final between the Czech Republic and Spain, was in trouble from the moment Djokovic broke in the third game. Returning superbly and striking the ball with great consistency from the back of the court, the Serb broke again to take the opening set in just 34 minutes.

When Djokovic made his third break in the third game of the second set, thanks to another blistering return, it seemed that the end would be swift. Berdych, nevertheless, broke back immediately. When he led 6-3 in the tie-break tournament organisers were probably reaching for their calculators to see how his recovery might complicate the qualifying scenario. Djokovic, however, won the next five points and converted his first match point when Berdych hit a return long.

people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
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.

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering