(November 9, 2012) -- After both losing to Novak Djokovic earlier in the week at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga found themselves in a must-win scenario during their evening match at the O2 Arena.
For Murray, he had to win only one set to book his spot in the semis while Tsonga had the tougher task of needing to beat Murray in straights sets in order to qualify for the final four. But when Murray broke Tsonga in the opening game of the match and then raced away with a 4-0 lead, Murray's goal looked well within reach.
Murray never faced a break point in the first set and the only trouble he had serving it out was from himself after several nervy points, including a double fault, that saw him squander his first two set points. Murray eventually found his serve again and clinched the set 6-2. But just to make sure he was actually in the semifinals, Murray asked chair umpire Mohamed Lahyani for confirmation and got the nod.
Just as in the first set, Tsonga found himself broken to the start the second but rather than get discouraged, the Frenchman began playing better and kept himself close with Murray by playing more of his trademark show-stopping tennis. Tsonga won an extended rally with a deep crosscourt forehand, a one-handed backhand and then forcing Murray to hit a lob that just landed out. Tsonga broke Murray back for 4-all to the delight of the crowd at the O2 Arena who wanted to see a show and not a complete rout.
Tsonga pushed Murray into a tiebreak but the sense was that Murray would resume control at just the right time. With the help of several aggressive forehands, Murray earned a mini-break for 3-2 and never looked back as Tsonga tossed in several untimely errors to hand Murray three set points. Murray with a final ace, his third of the match, closed out the 6-2, 7-6(3) win.
"He came out with some unbelievable shots," said Murray about Tsonga during his on-court interview. "He played really well in the end."
Murray will now get a day off as he prepares for a possible semifinal battle with Roger Federer who qualified earlier in the week.
Lindstedt/Tecau Get Revenge on Wimbledon Doubles Champions
In the earlier doubles match, Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau got a bit of revenge on Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen having lost to them in the Wimbledon finals earlier this year. Lindstedt and Tecau earned a 6-3, 7-5 win in Group B round robin action.
While Marray and Nielsen have already qualified for the semifinals, this was the very last match for Lindstedt and Tecau at the event and as a team as they are parting ways at the end of the year. Lindstedt and Tecau finish 2012 with a 44-21 win/loss record that includes four titles.
(Photo Credit: Andy Kentla)