Andy Murray struggles to find sense of equilibrium before tipping the scales
Jul 12 2016
Tsonga however, committed 4 double faults against 0 for Andy Murray. He's one of the best grass court players in the world and he came up with some great shots, some unbelievable passing shots on the run at big moments, he started returning better. "I came back strong on the third and fourth, but I didn't play well in the fifth".
So great was the 25-year-old's control of the first two sets that he lost just seven points on his serve during that period and faced no break points, in a display at times reminiscent of Pete Sampras in his heyday. And in their semi meeting here in 2012-Tsonga's second semi at Wimbledon-it was another four-setter. Murray's serving and groundstrokes gave the world No12 few chances in the second, where he took three of four break opportunities in a clinical deconstruction of Tsonga's tennis.
The first set was just as close as their previous record anticipated. Murray struck his 13th ace to hold to love for 5-0; Tsonga hit two for 5-1; The final shot of a wonderful match was a 14th Murray ace.
Murray has made a habit of fighting back from two sets down but this time it was Tsonga threatening to do the improbable.
Murray sealed the tie-break 12-10 with a backhand volley.
All Tsonga's touch around the net came into play, and he took a 6-4 lead, but Murray levelled.
Murray had been marching through these championships with nearly zen-like serenity before his quarterfinal against Tsonga and hadn't dropped a set or lost his serve. To lose that set 6-4 was hard but I just tried to use all my energy at the start of the fifth set to get myself pumped up and the crowd and thankfully got the early break and managed to hang onto it.
The sixth-seeded Canadian beat Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 on No. 1 Court. The 2013 champion attacked the Frenchman and got his reward of another break point. A fired-up Murray encouraged the crowd to pump up the volume and took the set on the next point with a volley victor. Some classic lobs from Murray combined with Tsonga's hit-and-miss tendency with slicing meant that he lost crucial points, points he could have easily won today.
Murray, so assured through his first four matches, was now on edge and even a potentially decisive break for 4-2 could not settle him, Tsonga breaking straight back with another heavy forehand victor. The Scot started off as the favourite going into today's match, having decimated each of his opponents en route to the quarter-finals easily.
Sophie, 22, added: "This is the first time I have ever watched a professional tennis match and the first time I have ever seen Scotland win at anything in my life". A tough match against Tsonga was good preparation for the closing stages. Querrey, who upset Djokovic last Saturday, fell to Raonic 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4.
Murray blamed the media focus on Vallverdu in the build up to the match, saying afterwards: "When there's a lot of tension surrounding something, which you (the media) created, it's completely normal that the whole first set everyone was tight". In Friday's semi-final he will play Tomas Berdych, the 10th seed from the Czech Republic.
The four heavyweights have also filled eight of the last 10 runners-up spots.
While Murray will never again feel the same expectation that he experienced before winning the historic title here, competing on the grass is hardly a stress-free experience.