After the rousing quality of the first match, Andy Murray and Jerzy Janowicz stepped on court knowing they had a tough act to follow. The Pole was only in his first grand slam semi-final and Murray made the most of his inexperience and tentativeness to shut him out with tactical nous and clever placement.
Murray lost a close first set tie-breaker before coming back strongly to deny the Pole 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in an entertaining two hour 52 minute effort inside the closed roof on centre court to reach the finals of Wimbledon for the second straight year. When he walks out on Sunday along with Novak Djokovic, Murray (missed the French through injury) will be playing his fourth straight grand slam final since Wimbledon last year.
The serve was always going to be the key in a match featuring Janowicz. But then, Murray brought his returns to bear – chipping back the first and stepping inside on the second, to challenge Janowicz to come up with the goods. The young Pole was often rattled by Murray’s tactics, double faulting ever so often to gift free points to his opponent. The crowd was firmly behind Murray, as expected, irking Janowicz and costing the young man his focus. In the end Murray packed too much experience and wisdom for the still evolving Janowicz.
Janowicz faced a break point as early as the fourth game, but saw it off with his serve. To his credit, Murray himself was as confident as he could be establishing an easy rhythm, holding without fuss to stay with the powerful Pole.
Serving to stay in the set at 4-5, Janowicz fell to 15-40. Incredibly, he only needed second serves to bail himself out of trouble and keep the set alive. In the ensuing tie-break, Murray lost his first two serves to fall down 0-4 and never quite recovered from there. Janowicz took the tie-break 7-2 to raise possibilities of a grand upset.
But the world No. 2 is a seasoned player and he recovered quickly. A brilliant dipping forehand winner that caught the baseline chalk gave Murray a sniff at 15-30 in the first game of the second set. Only moments before, the crowd had let out an ear-splitting roar and the rattled Janowicz lost focus to double fault twice and surrender an early break.
Murray protected the break all the way through the set, to level the match at one set a piece holding easily in the tenth game. The Scot was back in the match and so were his noisy fans inside on centre court and out there on the mound.
But the 6’8” Janowicz had his own plans to silence the boisterous and partisan band of Murray supporters. Making good use of the backhand slice and his beastly forehand, the Pole stole a break from the blue to take a 4-1 lead.