Andy Murray survived a grueling 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.
Murray took three hours and 52 minutes to finally subdue the gritty Ferrer on Centre Court yesterday 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.
“It was a very tough match,a long match with a lot of tight moments. I just played a litle bit better at the end of the sets,” Murray said.
“He’s a great player and sometimes doesn’t get enough respect. I went behind in a lot of the tie-breaks but managed to come back in the end.
“It will be tough against Tsonga. He’s serving very well. I’ll have to play very well to win that one.”
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 leveling 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.