Win slips through Andy Murray's fingers
Published 09/08/2014 | 11:00
Andy Murray's Toronto Masters campaign came to an end in the quarter-finals last night as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continued his remarkable resurgence.
The 29-year-old Frenchman, who has slipped to No 17 in the world rankings, followed up his third-round victory over Novak Djokovic by beating Murray 7-6 4-6 6-3.
Tsonga has been in excellent form this week and showed great resilience to record his first victory in his last nine meetings with Murray.
The Scot, who was aiming to win the Canadian title for a third time, led 3-0 in the final set before Tsonga made a remarkable spirited recovery.
Hitting 18 aces and 42 winners, Tsonga found some of his most effective form.
The Frenchman, who lost his place in the world's top 10 at the end of last year, has struggled to find his best game over the last 12 months but this was an indication that his career is back on the right track.
He could be a significant threat at the forthcoming US Open, which starts in 16 days' time.
The first set saw both men serve superbly. Murray saved a break point in the fourth game and Tsonga saved one in the seventh, but for the most part both players were comfortable on their own serve.
In the tie-break Murray saved a first set point at 4-6 with a service winner, but Tsonga then hit an ace to draw first blood.
Murray played a splendid game to break for 3-1 in the second set, completing the job with a thumping forehand winner down the line, but followed it with a poor service game as Tsonga broke back to love.
When Murray served at 4-4 and 15-40 the end seemed to be imminent, but the world No 9 dug deep to hold serve and then broke to love to level the match.
When Murray went 3-0 up in the third set the momentum seemed to have swung decisively in favour of the 2013 Wimbledon champion, but Tsonga responded superbly, winning the next five games in a row and breaking serve twice.
Murray saved three match points when Tsonga served at 5-3 and 40-0, but on the fourth the Frenchman clinched the victory after two hours and 18 minutes with a typically big serve.
"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 set," Murray said after the match.
"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."
Heather Watson's run to the third round in Montreal ended when she was beaten 6-2 6-4 by Victoria Azarenka.
The British No 1, who had won four matches at the tournament after having to qualify, had claimed a total of just five games in her three previous meetings with Azarenka, but on this occasion the 25-year-old from Belarus had to work hard for her victory.