September 1, 2014 6:10 pm

Murray beats Tsonga to set up U.S. Open quarterfinal match vs. Djokovic

Andy Murray of Great Britain returns a shot to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France during their men's singles fourth round match on Day Eight of the 2014 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 1, 2014 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

NEW YORK – Andy Murray pulled out the sort of tough win he had been missing this year, beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in three long sets in the fourth round of the U.S. Open.

The eighth-seeded Murray needed 2 hours, 35 minutes to defeat the ninth-seeded Frenchman 7-5, 7-5, 6-4 on a hot, humid Monday afternoon.

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Tsonga had three break points to go up 3-0 in the final set, but Murray fought them off to swing the momentum. He promptly broke in the next game to get the set back on serve, and then closed out the match with another break.

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“The first two sets were very long, tough sets, mentally very draining,” Murray said in an on-court interview. “Glad to get through.”

It was a tough draw for both players – and gets even tougher for Murray, who next faces No. 1 Novak Djokovic. That matchup feels much more like a Grand Slam title match than a quarterfinal, and for good reason. Murray and Djokovic have met five times in major tournaments, with four coming in the finals; the other was a semi.

Tsonga rolled into the U.S. Open full of confidence after beating Djokovic, Murray and Roger Federer in Toronto to win the title. His 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 victory over Murray in early August was the type of match the two-time major champion had been losing since back surgery late last year.

Murray hasn’t reached a final at any level of tournament since becoming the first British man in 77 years to win Wimbledon in July 2013.

He beat Djokovic to clinch that title and also defeated him at the 2012 U.S. Open for the first Grand Slam championship by a British man in 76 years.

“Great memories from that match,” Murray said. “Hope we can play another top-level match.”

© The Associated Press, 2014

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