It has been 77 years since a British man won a singles title at Wimbledon, but Andy Murray has a chance to end the drought as he will face world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final after defeating Poland's Jerzy Janowicz in a four-set thriller, according to Wimbledon on Twitter.
An advantageous draw helped Janowicz reach the semifinals, but he proved on Friday that he deserved to be in that position. Most casual observers have pegged Janowicz as a big server without many other weapons, but he displayed a diverse skill set and gave Murray some trouble.
Even Murray himself admitted that he had a tough time with Janowicz after the match, as he seemed relieved to advance.
After losing the first set in a tiebreak, Murray battled back and won three consecutive sets, but it was far from easy. He found himself in precarious positions on a number of occasions and had to endure a 20-minute delay between the third and fourth sets, so officials could close the roof. Murray overcame the distractions, though, and reached his second straight Wimbledon final.
Murray lost to Roger Federer in the final last year, but he ultimately got revenge at All England Club by winning Olympic gold. Murray followed that up with his first Grand Slam title at last year's U.S. Open. Murray has cracked the proverbial seal and has a chance to reach the next level of his career.
Here is a complete recap of all the action between Murray and Janowicz on Centre Court, as the British favorite sent his fans home happy.
Janowicz Shocks Murray and Takes First Set
Things started off in fairly routine fashion between Murray and Janowicz, as they both were able to hold their first service games with relative ease. Murray was able to win a couple points on Janowicz's serve, but the 6'8" Pole's power was on full display as he cracked three serves of 139 mph or more.
Murray once again held his serve, but things got a bit interesting when Janowicz attempted to knot the first set at 2-2. Murray was actually able to earn a break point despite Janowicz's big serve, but the No. 24 seed battled back. Janowicz is known as one of the best servers in the sport, which is supported by the fact that he entered the match leading the tournament in aces and average serve speed.
Janowicz used a bit of finesse to handle Murray, though, as he played a beautiful drop shot to gain the advantage and ultimately was able to hold serve.
Murray had yet another easy service game as he held at love. The pressure was once again on Janowicz to do the same and he rose to the occasion. Janowicz once again showed off his soft hands and considerable touch as he played a perfect drop shot to take a 40-15 lead. He then buried a Murray lob to tie things up, according to ESPN Tennis.
After Murray, once again, had a very tidy service game, Janowicz had arguably his most impressive service game of the match. Janowicz was on point in every aspect, as his serves were hard and accurate, his ground strokes were precise and his movement was impressive. Murray didn't stand a chance as Janowicz held once more.
Murray held for the fifth consecutive time and put all of the pressure on Janowicz's shoulders as a break would have given Murray the set. That pressure seemed to get to Janowicz at first as he gave Murray two set point chances. Janowicz showed a great deal of mettle, though, as he saved both break points and found a way to hold.
The serving excellence continued for Murray, as he once again put Janowicz on the ropes by holding easily and taking a 6-5 lead. The 22-year-old Pole continued to prove that the Wimbledon stage in front of a partisan British crowd was not too much for him as he held too and forced a first-set tiebreaker.
Most probably figured that Murray had the advantage heading into the tiebreaker due to his experience edge as well as the crowd support, but that simply wasn't the case. Janowicz jumped out to a 4-0 lead, and although Murray answered back with two points of his own, Janowicz played confident tennis and refused to relinquish his lead.
Murray was the first one to show signs of nerves in the match as he double faulted while trying to battle back from a 2-6 deficit and handed the first set to Janowicz.
Janowicz silenced the crowd a bit and got off to the fast start that he needed to in order to compete against the No. 2 seed in the tournament.
Murray Battles Back to Take Second Set
Rather than sulking and displaying a woe-is-me attitude, Murray came out with a vengeance in the second set. Neither man was able to break the other's serve in the first set, but it didn't take long for the first break of the second as Murray was extremely aggressive against Janowicz's serve and earned an early break to take a 1-0 lead.
Murray made sure to follow that up with a hold of his own as he thoroughly dominated Janowicz on serve by holding at love. Janowicz was able to stabilize himself, however, before the set could get out of hand. He realized that a hold was absolutely crucial and he came through with one as he matched Murray's love hold with one of his own.
Things were routine as can be on Murray's next service game, as he once again held without much resistance from Janowicz. It marked his ninth consecutive hold as Janowicz simply couldn't solve him. Murray had a great chance to break Janowicz for the second time in the second set and he had two chances to do so. Janowicz was able to force deuce with a big ace, however, and was able to scratch and claw his way to a hold.
After failing to break Janowicz, Murray very nearly allowed his break advantage to go by the wayside. The big Pole earned a break point, but Murray scrambled effectively and was able to force deuce. Much like Janowicz did one game earlier, Murray ground out his service game and extended his lead to 4-2.
Murray jumped out to yet another lead while Janowicz was on serve, but he was once again unable to score another break. Janowicz's serve is easily his biggest asset, and he proved it yet again, as he pulled to within one game of Murray.
The British favorite once again found himself in a bit of trouble on serve as Janowicz had two more chances to break him. Murray continued to draw on his big-match experience as he came through with a couple massive serves in order to force deuce.
Murray and Janowicz continued to battle, but the Polish upstart hit a forehand into the net, which allowed Murray to complete the hold and come within one game of winning the set.
Although Murray had a chance to end the set early with his second break of Janowicz, the powerful underdog simply wouldn't lay down. Janowicz continued to press forward on serve and he held once again after a simple overhand volley. In order to level the match, Murray would have to hold his own serve one more time.
Murray struggled in his previous couple service games, but he was in no mood to mess around this time. Murray showed a great deal of assertiveness as he jumped out to a 40-0 lead and then closed out the set after Janowicz won a single point.
The momentum clearly shifted to Murray and the crowd clearly realized it as his fans let out a huge cheer on Centre Court.
Murray Overcomes Deficit to Win Third Set
The crowd was still buzzing after Murray won the second set and Murray jumped out to a 30-15 lead following a beautiful lob that barely dropped in. Janowicz didn't let that mystical shot deter him, though, as he settled himself and won the next three points to score a crucial hold to start off the third set.
Janowicz very nearly pushed Murray against the wall early in the third set as he had two opportunities to break Murray. Just as Murray had done several times in the second set, he showed his ability to perform in pressure situations. Murray hammered two aces to force deuce and to take the advantage before eventually holding.
The Brit's near escape was followed up with a dominant service game from Janowicz, as Murray struggled to get clean returns and Janowicz was on point with his ground strokes, taking a 2-1 lead.
Murray was unable to pull off another Houdini act during his next service game as Janowicz cashed in on a break point for the first time in the match. He diffused a Murray drop shot with a beautiful cross-court slice that barely cleared the net and jumped out to a 3-1 advantage.
Murray needed to break Janowicz back in order to stem the tide a bit, but Janowicz took advantage of the big lead that he carved out for himself. Murray offered some resistance, however, Janowicz would not be denied on serve as he held again and took a commanding 4-1 lead.
Despite the disappointment of going down 4-1, Murray appeared to be on cruise control when his service opportunity came as he cracked two aces and easily held in about a minute. That comfortable service game seemed to get Murray back on track, as he played some gorgeous points on Janowicz's next serve. Murray took a 40-30 lead, but a Janowicz drop shot seemed to have him dead to rights. Murray ran in and smoked a forehand winner to break Janowicz, though.
Murray continued to roll with yet another elementary hold of serve and the pressure immediately shifted to the wilting Janowicz. The Polish youngster continued to self-destruct on serve as he allowed Murray to cruise out to a 40-0 lead after an agonizing double fault. Murray was able to close out the game, as a Janowicz shot went wide and he pulled to within one game of taking a 2-1 lead in sets.
Janowicz didn't go quietly, as he forced deuce on Murray's serve after hitting Murray with a shot when he came to the net. Murray had too much momentum behind him, however, as he gained the advantage and stroked an ace to win the third set.
There was plenty of controversy following the set as the decision was made to close the roof prior to the start of the fourth set. Janowicz had been asking the chair umpire to close the roof for quite some time and officials finally agreed to do so in order to avoid having to deal with darkness.
Janowicz retreated to take a bathroom break while Murray remained on the court and voiced his displeasure with the decision as he maintained that there was plenty of light left.
It's no coincidence that Janowicz wanted the roof closed as he defeated Murray indoors at last year's Paris Masters.
Murray certainly had a point, as Janowicz only wanted the roof closed in order to gain a competitive advantage, but it was ultimately better to close the roof during the fourth set rather than risking having to do so in the middle of the set.
Murray Closes Out Janowicz in Fourth Set
After about 20 minutes, the players returned to the court and were set to play under a closed roof.
Janowicz opened the fourth set on serve and Murray jumped out to a 30-15 lead, but Janowicz didn't allow the raucous crowd to throw him off his game. He refocused and was able to win the next three points, which gave him a 1-0 lead. Murray looked even sharper in his first service game of the set, as he was never tested en route to a love hold.
Murray carried that over into Janowicz's next service game as he hit an array of fantastic shots. None was better than the first point of the game when Murray chased down a deep shot by Janowicz and flipped a perfect backhand down the line. That set the tone as he earned two break points. Janowicz erased one of them, but he hit a forehand into the net and gave Murray a huge break and a 2-1 advantage.
That break gave Murray even more confidence as he seemed like a cyborg in his next service game. He held at love with absolutely not trouble at all and he beat Janowicz with two fantastic aces in the process to take a 3-1 lead.
Janowicz showed signs of frustration on serve even though he took a 40-0 lead. He struggled to get his first serves in and through his arms up in the air at one point. Janowicz also double faulted and allowed Murray to get to deuce. The Brit couldn't take full advantage, though, as Janowicz regrouped and won the game.
Murray didn't allow the missed opportunity to mess with his psyche as he struck right back with another near-perfect service game to take a 4-2 lead and push Janowicz even closer to the brink.
Janowicz showed a great deal of aggressiveness and didn't even give Murray a chance to think about breaking him after Murray's hold as Janowicz orchestrated a love hold of his own and kept the match from getting away from him.
Murray held yet again after that and he whipped the crowd into a frenzy in the process. With a 30-0 lead, he and Janowicz exchanged rapid-fire volleys at net. Janowicz thought he had him as he spiked one into the grass, but Murray retreated and hit an overhand smash for the winner before ultimately closing the game out.
Janowicz needed to hold in order to extend the match, but he simply didn't have anything left. Janowicz doubled faulted at 30-30 to give Murray a match point and Murray converted with a forehand winner, much to the delight of the Wimbledon faithful.
While Murray deserved the victory, Janowicz gave him all he could handle and this isn't the last that tennis fans have heard from the young Pole.
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