Andy Murray will be heavily favoured to make his third Wimbledon final on Friday afternoon when he takes on Tomas Berdych. The Czech was a beneficiary of Stanislas Wawrinka’s early exit, making the semis as the number 10 seed.
Murray made hard work of Jo Wilfried Tsonga in his ninth Wimbledon quarter final in a row, needing five sets and having to save break point early in the fifth set of his 7-6(10), 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1 win. It was the first time Murray had been troubled in the tournament after a fairly routine opening week. Murray showed remarkable resilience to fight of the surging Tsonga, although there is a strong argument he shouldn’t have let it get to this stage, especially after holding a break lead in the fourth set. Since the start of 2011, Murray is 13-2 in five setters – losing only to Novak Djokovic in Australia and France respectively.
Murray talked a little about the matchup on Friday saying “He’s a big guy who serves well. When he’s dictating the points, he hits a big, big ball. He’s a powerful guy. Ideally, I don’t want to have him dictating all of the points because then I’ll be doing a lot of running.”
It’s a match up that previously caused Murray a lot of trouble but he seems to have figured it out having won all five meetings since the beginning of 2015 against the Czech who had previously led the head to head 6-3. They are yet to play on grass though.
Berdych suggested it was a change in Murray’s style that turned the momentum in this matchup saying “At the beginning, he was a bit more defensive, playing a little bit more just waiting what’s the opponent going to do. I was able to really dictate the game and play aggressive but now he becomes more aggressive and way more creative on the court.”
Berdych was a finalist in 2010 but has often failed to live up to his billing at this tournament, only making the quarter finals one other time in the previous 5 Wimbledons and also suffering a first round exit in 2012. Berdych has been aided by his draw that saw him avoid Dominic Thiem and Stanislas Wawrinka to name two. He delivered an efficient display in the quarter finals, breaking four times overall against Lucas Pouille who, like Berdych, had just played a lengthy five setter in the previous round.
The pressure is on Murray now to deliver a third grand slam title in front of an adoring Wimbledon crowd. After giving them a scare on Wednesday evening, he will be eager not to stretch it out again ahead of a intriguing possible final with Roger Federer on Sunday afternoon.
Prediction – Andy Murray in straight sets