Murray reaches Wimbledon final
Originally published on: 06/07/12 00:00
The Scot defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-5 to strike it fourth time lucky after three successive defeats in the last four at Wimbledon. Well aware of the significance of his feat, the four-time Grand Slam finalist admitted that reaching his first Wimbledon final was on another level to his past achievements.
“Subconsciously at the end of the match it was obviously very emotional,” said Murray. “[I] haven't really been like that before in a semi-final match, so obviously it meant something to me and it was very, very important.
“There is obviously a lot of pressure and stress around this time of year. I don't feel it when I'm on the practice court or when I'm just kind of walking around. I try not to think about that stuff. But, yeah, in the back of my mind it's obviously there.”
The world no.4 got off to a dream start in his semi-final, winning the opening two sets without too many difficulties, but allowed the 2008 Australian Open finalist to impose in the third.
The 27-year-old Frenchman possesses a formidable record at the All England Club, having won 18 of his 22 matches on the hallowed turf prior to this semi-final, and he sprang into life at two-sets down as Murray’s focus momentarily wavered.
"One loose game at the start of the third set and he came back into it,” admitted the Scot. “He was hitting some unbelievable passing shots, volleys. I did well to hang in there in the end because he started to play really well."
Murray recovered his focus in the fourth, and when Tsonga netted to hand over two break points in the 11th game, Murray drilled a forehand across court to seal victory, albeit after a HawkEye challenge from Tsonga, and secure a Sunday clash with six-time champion Roger Federer.
It's the third time Murray has come up against the Swiss in a Grand Slam final. He lost to Federer at the US Open in 2008 and the Australian Open in 2010, and having also lost the 2011 Melbourne showpiece to Djokovic in straight sets, he has a 0-9 record in the nine sets he has contested in Grand Slam finals.
Of his task on Sunday, Murray said: "It's a great challenge, one where I'm probably not expected to win the match, but one that, if I play well, I'm capable of winning.
"If you look at [Federer's] record here over the past 10 years or so, it's been incredible. So, you know, the pressure that I would be feeling if it was against somebody else I guess it would be different. But there will be less on me on Sunday, you know, because of who he is."
At Wimbledon, of course, anything is possible. Such was proved moments before Murray's semi-final triumph, as Johnny Marray became the first Brit in 52 years to reach the Wimbledon men’s doubles final after he and Frederik Nielsen stunned two-time champions Bob and Mike Bryan in four sets.