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After having been served up an appetizer in the form of Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer, it was now time for the lucky few inside Center Court at Wimbledon to feast on the main course as local boy Andy Murray attempted to become the first Briton since Bunny Austin in 1938 to play in the Men's Final at Wimbledon. Standing in the way of the world no.4 was the charismatic 5th seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who had just the solitary win to show for his 6 previous cracks at the 25-year old Scot. The match proved to be a rather scrappy rather than artistic affair with Murray managing to ease through the first two sets without much opposition. A slight dip in concentration cost the Briton the third set, but Murray righted the ship in the fourth, holding his ground in some intense and decisive service games to earn his spot opposite Roger Federer in Sunday's final with a solid 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 triumph.
Murray came out of the blocks all guns blazing, breaking the Frenchman in just the second game of the match to go up 2-0 thanks to some authoritative backhand winners. Nevertheless, the set was far from over with Tsonga getting a good look in on Murray's serve in the 5th game, going up a couple of break points. However, Murray managed to see off both the oppotunities and one more in the game with the help of some scorching aces to maintain the lead in the first set. With the Briton starting to up the ante on his service games, the Frenchman could do nothing but watch the local boy serve his way to a one set lead in just 34 minutes.
The second set proceeded in a similar vein as Tsonga continues to get into spots of bother in his service games. Meanwhile, Murray continues his impressive service performance, losing just a single point in his first 2 service games in the set. The 5th seed, finally, succumbs to relentless Murray onslaught surrendering serve in just the 5th game largely owing to some jaw-dropping backhand winners by the Briton. The rest of the set, continues on a similar keel with the local favorite losing just a single point on his next 3 service games to get a commanding 2 sets to love lead as the crowd erupts into a deafening roar on seeing their local boy deliver an absolute masterclass.
Tsonga shrugged off the disappointment of dropping the first two sets to draw first blood in the second game of the third, courtesy some subpar play by the Briton to get his nose ahead. Murray got into another spot of bother in the fifth game, going down a break point, but some immaculate serving enabled the Briton to maintain the deficit to just one break. In the very next game, it was Tsonga's turn to experience his share of problems on his serve, battling his way through a rather protracted game, which involved 3 deuces to finally hold serve to keep him in the driver's seat in the set. The rest of the set proceeded on serve as Tsonga wrapped up his efforts with a body serve to reduce the deficit to just one set.
Murray found his range early in the fourth set, breaking Tsonga in the 4th game to edge ever closer to the finish line. Just when all seemed lost for the Frenchman, Tsonga showed some stomach for the fight, reciprocating the favour in the very next game to bring the set back on level terms.
A fifth set looked imminent when Murray went down a couple of break points in the 9th game, however, Murray, once again, managed to clutch-serve his way out of troubleto go up 5-4. Roles were reversed In the 12th game and it was the Frenchman who went down a couple of match points, but unlike his opponent he was unable to hold on. The crowd favorite managed to convert on his very first chance with the help of a tremendous forehand return winner much to the delight of the highly-partisan crowd to book his place alongside the great Roger Federer in Sunday's final.
This impressive performance from Murray gives the home crowd the final they have been waiting years for - the crowd favorite vs the sentimental favorite. Though Murray edges the head-to head record 8-7, it was the Swiss Maestro who had got the better of the Brit in the majority of important events, including the finals of 2 Grand Slams. Taking into account Federer's awe-inspiring form in this year's Championships, expect that pattern to continue in this marquee encounter, giving the Swiss legend a jaw-dropping 17 Grand Slam titles.
File Photograph Copyright: Elizabeth Molineux
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