By Ros Satar
- Andy Murray booked his place in the Montreal Masters semi-final with a 6-4 6-4 win over defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
- With that win he becomes the second player to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London
- He will face Kei Nishikori in tonight’s semi-final
MONTREAL, CANADA – Andy Murray clinched his spot in the Masters semi-final with a win over defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-4, 6-4.
Murray lost out to the Frenchman this time last year, and served up some comfortable revenge, and with that clinched his spot at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, at the O2, London for the season finale.
He needed just one break apiece in each set to halt Tsonga, whom he last faced in the Davis Cup semi-final, beating him in the first singles rubber, before combining with brother Jamie to defeat Tsonga and Nicolas Mahut.
“I passed well,” Murray said after the match. “I came up with some good passing shots and that was the difference.”
Last year, Murray packed out his autumn schedule in a bid to qualify for the World Tour Finals, but failed to get past the round robin stages, and with high expectations on his shoulders to be pivotal to the British Davis Cup team in the semi-final against Australia (after the US Open), it will come as a relief to know his post US Open schedule can be a little lighter.
He said, on the ATP website, “It’s good to do it with a long time to spare. It’s nice and very different to last year when I ended up playing about six tournaments in six weeks and I was pretty fried by the time I got there. So hopefully I can prepare a little bit better for it this year. I always enjoying playing there.”
He will now face Kei Nishikori for a spot in the finals, and potentially another showdown this year with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Murray has already put aside his one loss to Nishikori, at last year’s World our Finals, beating him in Madrid earlier this year, on the way to the title, and Murray has the better of the Japanese player on outdoor hard courts.
Nishikori advanced to the semi-finals with his first win over Rafael Nadal in eight meetings with a combination of aggressive play and persistence. It is an area where he excels, using depth and angles, and his pace around the court. We can expect a canny match between this pair, though. Murray may have had scant time to recover after a lengthy European clay and grass court season, and after an opening loss in Washington, he has looked in good form this week.
Moreover, a win in Montreal could see him leapfrog Roger Federer to be World No. 2, but one thing at a time! Nishikori has struggled a little with injuries already this season, but with US Open final points to defend, Nishikori will want to make his mark, and with just the Cincinnati Masters to go as vital preparation, Murray can expect a tough battle.
Murray and Nishikori are scheduled on Court Central, not before 8pm (1am BST, Sunday) – follow with Britwatch Sports Tennis Livescores