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Sunday 25 September 2016

Murray fends off Tsonga

Scot into semi-finals for the seventh time after blockbuster

Andy Murray celebrates. Photo: PA
Andy Murray celebrates. Photo: PA

Second seed Andy Murray survived a ferocious Jo-Wilfried Tsonga comeback to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for the seventh time, winning the day's second Centre Court blockbuster 7-6(10) 6-1 3-6 4-6 6-1.

After Roger Federer's miraculous earlier escape act against Marin Cilic, when he recovered to win from two sets down, 12th seeded Frenchman Tsonga threatened something equally improbable as dusk settled at the All England Club.

Tsonga looked down and out after letting an epic 22-point tiebreak slip away despite having three set points, then capitulating in a one-sided second set.

But he roared back with some audacious attacking tennis and Britain's 2013 champion Murray, for the first time in a tournament that had been stress-free before, seemed close to buckling.

Second seed Murray, hot favourite after champion Novak Djokovic's third-round demise, was outplayed in sets three and four as winners flowed from Tsonga's racket.

He then had to save a break point at the start of the decider, rediscovering his earlier form and racing away to a victory cheered by a packed arena, sealing it with an ace.

The 29-year-old now sets his sights on Czech 10th seed Tomas Berdych in tomorrow's semi-final.

Federer put his global army of "Fed-Head" fans through the wringer for four nerve-shredding sets before he kept alive his pursuit of a record eighth Wimbledon title with a 6-7(4) 4-6 6-3 7-6(9) 6-3 win over Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals.

Novak Djokovic's shock third round exit had raised hopes that this could be the week when the Swiss finally ends his four-year hunt for an 18th grand slam title, as the Serb had been the only man to beat him at the majors over the past year.

However, all those expectations appeared to be heading for the dustbin as Cilic stood one point away from victory -- not once, not twice but three times in a pulsating fourth set that had everyone on the edge of their seats.

Three huge serves kept Federer alive -- just -- and he then produced the kind of form, and outrageous shots, that has made him the most successful man in tennis by stealing the tiebreak 11-9.

An ace on his first match point finished off the job after three hours, 17 minutes of high drama and carried him into an 11th Wimbledon semi-final, and 40th overall in the majors.

Czech 10th seed Tomas Berdych ended Frenchman's Lucas Pouille's unexpected love-affair with Wimbledon when grinding out a 7-6(4) 6-3 6-2 win to reach his sixth grand slam semi-final.

Canada's Milos Raonic said John McEnroe had played a big role in improving his grasscourt game and match mentality after he overcame Sam Querrey to power into the Wimbledon semi-finals.

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