Simon Reed

Tsonga fails to convince ahead of Murray meeting

Simon Reed

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's performance against Philipp Kohlschreiber to make the Wimbledon semi-finals was good in parts. I sensed the Frenchman coasted it slightly when he got in front and he dug himself a bit of a hole in the second set, but he still managed to finish strongly.

That said, I'm not 100 per cent convinced about his fitness. I think he's got a problem with his back. But when he had to, he did move well, he finished well and his game was altogether too big for Kohlschreiber.

His next opponent, Andy Murray, had to really battle for his victory, considering how well David Ferrer was playing.

Murray was a little too defensive and he nearly went two sets down but by the end he was playing more aggressively and he kept his cool when times were tough.

Moreover, his body language, which people have criticised before, was constantly good even when he found himself in a bit of a hole.  It was an impressive win against a dangerous opponent.

For me, it was much more impressive than Tsonga's win.

There has been a suggestion that Tsonga's aggressive style could play into Murray's hands in their semi but I don't think that will necessarily be the case.

Those who beat Murray are generally players who really attack and go for it by outhitting him. Tsonga is capable of doing that, but at the moment he's not playing well enough to do so.

Maybe he could surprise us as he did last year when he played ordinary tennis for two sets against Roger Federer and then played some of the best tennis of his life afterwards.

If Tsonga is in that kind of mood, Murray will be powerless to do anything about it, just as Federer was last year. But I don't suspect that's going to happen this time around. Tsonga's nowhere near where he was 12 months ago.

To win, Murray needs to get out of the blocks quicker than he has done so far this tournament and he needs to serve really big. Once he's done that, he's got a very good chance to win in straight sets. But he needs his game to be absolutely on the ball.

Tsonga will trouble Murray for sure. But if he is to beat him, he needs to be 100 per cent in terms of fitness and he needs pick his game up considerably. Otherwise I see Murray winning in four sets, at the most.

- - -

In the other side of the draw, as expected there were no problems for either Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic, who will now face off in the other semi-final.

From what I saw of Federer, he was absolutely outrageous against Mikhail Youzhny. He's playing better and better.

Djokovic has played consistently better than any other player throughout this tournament. Against a tricky opponent in Florian Mayer he won without any problems at all.

At the start of the tournament I was a Federer man, but given Djokovic's consistency now I'm not so sure. I'm on the fence, and it's hurting.

Djokovic may have had it relatively easy so far in the draw but against Federer, he'll take the way he has played and getting into a match against a far higher-quality opponent won't be a problem for him.

He'll be expecting a tough one against Federer and he'll get it. I don't think there's any danger of him going into it undercooked. It should be a hell of a match. I thought I could pick it before the tournament started, but I simply can't do that now.

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