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Murray fends off Tsonga to reach Wimbledon final

ESPN staff
July 6, 2012 « Federer topples Djokovic to reach Wimbledon final | Chartbeat test »

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Andy Murray ended Britain's 74-year wait for a men's singles finalist at Wimbledon as he survived a spirited fightback from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to set up a final showdown with six-time champion Roger Federer.

Murray powered to a two-set lead, but was forced to dig deep to secure a 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory to reach his fourth grand slam final - his first at the All England Club.

Murray, who has fallen at the semi-final stage of his home slam for the last three years, made a rapid start against Tsonga, but was made to sweat as the Frenchman threatened to launch a comeback.

The Scot, who is bidding to become Britain's first male grand slam champion since Fred Perry in 1936, raced to a 3-0 lead as he broke Tsonga with a backhand down the line.

He did have to fend off two break points in the fifth game, but back-to-back aces dug him out of trouble, and he wrapped up the opening set with a big forehand winner.

A sloppy forehand from Tsonga handed Murray the break in the second set, and the Scot tightened his grip with a love service game for a 4-2 lead. He was making real inroads on Tsonga's second serve - the Frenchman did not win a single point on his second serve in the second set as Murray doubled his advantage.

Tsonga called for the trainer at the end of the stanza, and the momentum began to swing in the Frenchman's favour as Murray flashed a forehand wide to hand Tsonga an early break.

Fending off another break point to avoid going a double break down appeared to settle Murray and the Scot began to threaten Tsonga on his serve again, although he squandered the chance to claw his way back into the set as Tsonga took the third to make the home favourite sweat.

Tsonga came from two sets down to defeat Federer in the quarter-finals at the All England Club last year, and the pressure was on Murray to start the fourth set brightly. After a morale-boosting hold he grabbed an early break, only to see his advantage dissolve as Tsonga replied instantly with a stream of winners.

As a tiebreak looked inevitable, with both players fending off break points deep into the fourth set, Murray unleashed a huge forehand to break Tsonga for the match - although he faced a nervous wait to learn his challenge was successful after the ball was initially called out.

Standing between Murray and his maiden grand slam title is 16-time major champion Federer, who toppled defending champion Novak Djokovic. Murray leads the head-to-head with eight wins from 15 meetings, but Federer, who will return to world No. 1 if he wins the title on Sunday, has beaten Murray twice in major finals.

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