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Murray battles past Ferrer to reach semis again

The Scot will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Philipp Kohlschreiber earlier today.

Great Britain's Andy Murray in action against Spain's David Ferrer.
Great Britain's Andy Murray in action against Spain's David Ferrer.

ANDY MURRAY SHOWED nerves of steel as the home favourite survived a gruelling examination from Spain’s David Ferrer to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals for the fourth successive year with a 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (8/6), 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) victory on Wednesday.

Murray took three hours and 52 minutes to finally subdue the gritty Ferrer on Centre Court and now only French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga stands between the world number four and a first Wimbledon final appearance.

The 25-year-old Scot’s victory avenged last month’s French Open quarter-final defeat at the hands of seventh seed Ferrer and means he has equalled four-time semi-finalist Tim Henman as the most successful British man at Wimbledon in the Open era.

But Murray won’t be satisfied until he ends Britain’s 76-year wait for a first male Wimbledon singles champion since Fred Perry.

Rafael Nadal’s shock exit last week has given Murray, beaten in the Wimbledon semi-finals for the last three years, a golden opportunity to become the first British male finalist at the All England Club since Bunny Austin in 1938 and he looks determined to take full advantage.

Murray was up against it for long periods as Ferrer continued his recent fine form, but time and again the Scot found a way out of trouble.

Ferrer landed the first break for a 3-1 lead, only for Murray to break back as the Spaniard tried to serve out the set.

It was Ferrer who took the tie-break and Murray appeared to be slipping towards defeat when a drop-shot drifted wide to give the 30-year-old a chance to serve for the second set at 5-4.

But a series of unforced errors from Ferrer gifted the break straight back to Murray, who then recovered from 5-2 down in the tie-break and saved a set point, before levelling the match on his first set point.

A pair of brilliant Murray returns at 4-4 in the third set proved too much for Ferrer to handle and earned the decisive break.

Murray couldn’t convert two break points at 4-4 in the fourth set before a rain delay forced the players off two games later.

But when they resumed 30 minutes later, the set went to a tie-break and Murray took it in emphatic fashion with a blistering ace.

(France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrates beating Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber - Stephen Pond/PA Wire/Press Association Images)

Meanwhile, French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reached the Wimbledon semi-finals for the second successive year on Wednesday with a 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 win over German 27th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Tsonga’s reward will be a clash against Andy Murray for a place in Sunday’s final.

The flamboyant French player knocked out Roger Federer in the 2011 quarter-finals after being two sets to love down before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the last four.

“I am happy to win and to get a second chance at a semi-final,” said 27-year-old Tsonga. “Philipp played very well. He served well and was the better player from the baseline. It was tough out there.”

Defending a 5-1 career record against Kohlschreiber, Tsonga eventually ran away with the quarter-final clash after battling through three tight sets, his 43 winners and 17 aces proving decisive on Court One.

Kohlschreiber was playing in his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the 33rd time of asking, making the most of the shock second round exit of Rafael Nadal from his section of the draw.

© AFP, 2012

Read: Business end: Federer to face Djokovic in Wimbledon semi-final>

Read: London 2012: Introducing… Caitriona Jennings>

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