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.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
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.

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?