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Tsonga Holds Off Murray For Semi-final Berth

Toronto, Canada

Tsonga© Getty ImagesJo-Wilfried Tsonga advanced to the Toronto semi-finals on Friday.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga survived a roller-coaster quarter-final encounter with Andy Murray on Friday, advancing to the Rogers Cup semi-finals for a third time in four appearances.

The Frenchman reached a seventh ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final, outlasting his eighth-seeded opponent 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 18 minutes. In 2009, he defeated two Top 10 opponents in Canada, including then World No. 1 Roger Federer, en route to the final four (l. to Murray). He also notched two Top 10 wins in 2011 before falling to Djokovic in the semis.

The No. 13 seed fired 18 aces, rifling 42 winners and winning 83 per cent of first-serve points. The opening set was decided in a tie-break, with Tsonga snatching a late mini-break to take the early lead, and the second set appeared on course for a similar conclusion. But Murray had other plans, leveling at a set apiece with a stunning break of serve to love in the 10th game.

The Scot carried the momentum into the decider, winning 12 straight points and earning an early break for 3-0. In yet another twist, Tsonga would immediately break back to pull level and secure the decisive break two games later, eventually holding on for the victory.

Tsonga overturned a 1-9 FedEx ATP Head2Head deficit to Murray, winning his first match in the rivalry since the 2008 Australian Open. The World No. 9 had most recently prevailed in straight sets at the Sony Open Tennis earlier in the year.

"I had my hand on the match at the beginning and then he came back," said Tsonga, assessing his performance. "Then I was a little bit down. I just stayed focused, tried to be a little bit more aggressive because I was a little bit flat after losing the second set.

"(In the third set) he gave me one or two points that he didn't give me since the start of the second set and then I broke back and I won it."

Watch Murray Hot Shot

Two-time champion Murray (2009-'10) was bidding to reach his 21st ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final. He falls to 32-13 on the year with the loss.

"I had to play around my return position quite a lot, and I started to get into more service games in the second and third sets," said Murray. "I thought it was a high-level match with a few games by both of us in the second and third sets that were a bit scrappy.

"Jo is a top player. He's a fantastic athlete. When his game is on, he's very tough to beat."

Tsonga will face the winner of the second quarter-final between seventh-seed Grigor Dimitrov and Kevin Anderson for a spot in the title match.

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