• ATP World Tour Finals

Murray sinks Tsonga to reach semi-finals in style

ESPN staff
November 9, 2012
Andy Murray finished second in Group A behind Novak Djokovic © PA Photos

Andy Murray set up a potential semi-final with Roger Federer at the ATP World Tour Finals after sealing his place in the last four with victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Novak Djokovic's straight-sets win over Tomas Berdych earlier on Friday meant Murray only needed to win a set to secure his progress, but the world No. 3 made no mistake as he wrapped up a 6-2 7-6(3) victory at London's O2 Arena.

The Scot finished second in Group A behind Djokovic and will play the winner of Group B - likely to be Federer - in Sunday's semi-final.

The US Open champion made a blistering start against Djokovic in his three-set defeat to the Serb on Wednesday, and it was a similar story as the Scot burst out of the blocks against Tsonga with two early breaks.

His superior movement, combined with an assured serve, saw him race through the opening set and he survived a late rally by Tsonga to wrap up victory in an hour and 36 minutes.

Defence has always been Murray's forte, and as he continued to put the ball back in the court, he forced an error from Tsonga, who flashed his forehand wide to bring up two break points.

The Frenchman saved the first with a monster forehand, but was distracted by Murray's decision to move into the net as he handed the Scot an early break. It was more of the same in the third game as Murray moved a double break ahead after Tsonga dumped his shot into the net.

Tsonga stopped the rot with a pair of service holds, but never looked likely to trouble Murray, who only had himself to blame as he double faulted on set point, but the British No. 1 recovered his poise to wrap up the set at the third time of asking.

In almost identical fashion to the opening set, Murray then put himself firmly on course for victory with an early break in the second stanza, but saw the chance for a double break pass him by.

With Tsonga left with no hope of matching last year's achievement when he reached the final, the pressure was off the Frenchman, and he began to relax and swing more freely at the ball.

After a lengthy rally - featuring a glorious array of shots from both players - Murray's attempted lob floated agonisingly long, and Tsonga converted the first of three break points, returning a serve with interest to claw his way back to 4-4.

The Tsonga who thrilled the crowds last year with his swashbuckling brand of tennis began to emerge, forcing Murray to fend off set point in the dying stages, but Murray kept his cool in the tiebreak, sealing victory with an ace.

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