Andy Murray withstood the growling challenge of young Jerzy Janowicz to reach his second Wimbledon final late on Friday.
The Pole with the feared right arm augmented his rock-faced persona with a deep-throated roar but could not stop Murray winning 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3.
That was some performance — and some opponent. As John McEnroe said of Janowicz, who will move up from 22 in the world: “No doubt, he’s the real deal. But not quite as real as Murray yet.”
The Pole, coming into the match, figured prominently in two lists: top of the aces, with 94, and second in double faults, with 26. He added to both and did not flinch from sending down his serves at more than 140 mph from above the chair umpire's eye-line.
Forcing a tie-break
At 4-5 and two set points against him, Janowicz held with two huge second serves, signalling that he was not overawed. He gave Murray more than the odd hard look as he let his daggers fly to force atie-break, a place where one would imagine a server of his strength would be most comfortable.
Janowicz was hugely encouraged after winning the first set to imagine he could shock the tennis world but, when Murray drove a volley at him, Lendl-like, in the first game of the second set, the Pole spun out of the way and simmered — then served two double faults to drop serve.
There was a sense, as in his come-from-behind win over Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals, that Murray was slowly gaining control of mind and muscle.
“It’s too dark for me,” Janowicz told the umpire three games into the third set. “Please explain. What are we waiting for, rain?”
Classy drop shot
But he sealed the break with a sublime crosscourt drop shot, one of many. Janowicz could see the ball all right now, apparently. He led 4-1.
But Murray broke back with an athletic running forehand, turned to the crowd and demanded more noise. He got it in spades. Janowicz, outfoxed to 0-30, banged the net with his racket and was booed, now a bona fide stage villain. He double-faulted to hand Murray three break points, hit long and Murray was back on top.
Serving for the set, Murray took a meaty smash in the ribs for deuce, before clinching it with an ace. Then, as Janowicz took a breather in the locker room, having lost five games in a row, referee AndrewJarrett told Murray he was closing the roof. The World No.2 was not happy.
However, when they returned 30 minutes later Murray was in control of his considerable anger. He broke early in the fourth. Janowicz hit his 10th and 11th double faults. Murray hit a forehand winner and was through. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2013