Inspired Murray ousts Janowicz to set up Djokovic showdown
Andy Murray will play Novak Djokovic in the final at Wimbledon after a thrilling 6-7(2) 6-4 6-4 6-3 win over Polish giant Jerzy Janowicz.
Murray lost a first-set tie-break against the 6'8" Janowicz, but the world number two from Scotland responded brilliantly, levelling at one set apiece and roaring back to win after falling 1-4 down in the third.
The British number one was clearly agitated when, moments after moving two sets to one up, the referee yielded to complaints from the 24th seed by agreeing to close the Centre Court roof, even though it was still light.
But Murray composed himself to dominate the fourth set, breaking twice and closing out the victory in two hours and 53 minutes.
US Open and Olympic champion Murray faces world number one Djokovic in a second successive Wimbledon final on Sunday. It is the Dunblane star's fourth Grand Slam final in a row, excluding the French Open, which he missed through injury.
"I'm delighted with that. It was a very tough match today," Murray said afterwards. "He's very talented, very unpredictable, put some huge serves out there.
"The first set was a tough one to lose out on as I had a few chances on his serve and missed a few shots on the tie-break.
"The third set was huge, 4-1 down, but I won five games in a row."
Murray improved as the match went on, initially very conservative in his outlook as he sized up Janowicz's monster serve from well behind the baseline. He then spurned two set points on the Janowicz serve at 5-4, but the Pole unleashed some huge deliveries to hold on.
A tie-break seemed inevitable, with Janowicz exploiting sloppy play from Murray to claim it 7-2. In addition to serving in excess of 130mph, Janowicz was also indulging in some gamesmanship both with Murray and the crowd, pumping his fist and glaring at his opponent with every point won, occasionally even talking during play.
But as the evening progressed Murray seemed to have worked the Pole out - while he is strangely mobile and technically proficient for a man of his size, the 22-year-old struggles when shots are dropped low over the net.
The Scot is also quicker and more agile, showcasing the full extent of his physical prowess with an incredible flying pass that somehow curled around the net to drop in. That was at 1-1 in the fourth set, with Murray going on to claim what proved to be a crucial break in that game.
Janowicz was tiring, not to mention feeling the heat of a partisan crowd. Murray was able to break once more to set up a tantalising clash with his friend and foe Djokovic.
Murray is also bidding to become the first British man to win Wimbledon in the Open era, and he will have his sternest challenge of the season in the Serb, who was himself inspired in beating Juan Martin del Potro in a five-set classic earlier on Friday.
The Scot won their US Open final encounter in five sets last year, but Djokovic exacted revenge in Australia at the start of this year.
Murray, who prefers the tactical challenge of a roofless Wimbledon, will be hoping there is no rain on Sunday afternoon.
"I like to think this is an outdoor event, and having gone five games in a row it was disappointing," Murray added in reference to the controversial decision to close the roof early.
"There was about 45 minutes of light left. But I managed to regain my focus, took a shower, spoke to the guys a little bit.
"He (Janowicz) was on his phone, calling someone. He seemed very, very relaxed considering it was the semis of Wimbledon. That's the way he is. He's very loose on the court."
Indeed, while a roof closure did for him against Roger Federer in last year's final, this time Murray actually improved under the calmer conditions.
Janowicz, meanwhile, will leave London delighted at his showing. He is widely regarded as being a possible top-four player, and with a few tweaks to his ground game he could get there sooner rather than later.