Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became the first semi-finalist of the Rogers Cup 2014 after winning an epic battle against eighth seed Andy Murray who was victorious at the ATP World Tour 1000 hard-court event in 2009 and 2010. The thirteenth-seeded Frenchman – who reached the quarter-finals by throwing out top-ranked Novak Djokovic – picked up where he left off yesterday as he kept the Scotsman at bay in the opener to take it to a tie-break and convert on the second set point to claim the lead. Murray’s response came early in the set two, yet he failed to consolidate the initial break and was somewhat lucky to defend a couple of break points in the crucial stage at 4-4. He eventually held the service game and shocked the French rival in the follow-up game to break him to love and make it one set each.
The sell-out crowd in Toronto was in for a dramatic finish of the duel with the British hope breaking to move 3-0 ahead before his lower-seeded opponent reeled off five straight games and served for the match at 5-4. Tsonga opened the tenth game with two consecutive aces (he scored 18 in total to Murray’s 7) and put away a service winner to create a triple match point, yet he squandered all three of them, the last one by conceding a double fault. However, the Frenchman was gifted another chance to wrap up the proceedings and he did so after another massive serve to secure a 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 triumph.
Tsonga thus set up a Toronto Masters semi-final versus Grigor Dimitrov who prevailed in an equally tight encounter in which he rescued a double match point to see off unseeded Kevin Anderson. The latter went one nil up after defending a set point in the ninth game and came close to serving for the second set as well, yet the Bulgarian escaped the danger and broke in the twelfth game to level the terms. It seemed as though the seventh seed Dimitrov has suffered a vital loss of serve late in the decider as the South African got into position to put the match to bed twice in the subsequent game, but he was wasteful on both occasions and allowed the higher-ranked opponent to clinch the ensuing tie-break and win 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7) after three hours of play.
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