London, Jun 12 ; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga injected a note of reality into proceedings at the Queen's club when he dismissed dreams of the first all-British final at the grasscourt event since 1931 with a 6-3 7-6 (9-7) defeat of James Ward.
The Frenchman will play Scot Andy Murray, who crushed Andy Roddick 6-3 6-1 to reach his second final of the season and move to within one victory of his first trophy since last autumn.
Murray, losing finalist at the Australian Open to Novak Djokovic, claimed his last ATP title at Shanghai in October.The last final between British compatriots in west London was played 80 years ago.
Ward, whose No.216 world ranking will take a big jump after his unexpected run, kept home fans intrigued as he tried to continue his fairytale week in which he beat seeds Stanislas Wawrinka and defending champion Sam Querrey.
"It was a fantastic week for me," said the son of a London cabbie who is newly fitness-trained by a former South American cage fighter."Of course it was the best week of my tennis career."Ward, who advanced into the semis a day earlier on an eighth match point, saved one from Tsonga before the seasoned Frenchman closed out the match.
Murray took just 59 minutes to beat four-time champion Roddick with 13 aces and said his imperious victory was the perfect tonic ahead of Wimbledon starting on Monday week.
"Everything that touched my racquet was going in," said the world No.4."I felt very comfortable. I got off to a good start with the early break and hardly missed a ball. That doesn't happen so often."
Murray arrived at the Wimbledon warm-up event with serious concerns over the ankle ligament injury he suffered at the French Open but his worries have been eased by an impressive week in west London.
After coming through two testing matches against Xavier Malisse and Janko Tipsarevic, Murray had the bonus of resting his ankle for an extra day after Marin Cilic pulled out of their quarter-final.
That helped the ankle improve significantly and, combined with his demolition of Roddick, this has been a good seven days for Murray regardless of the result of Sunday's final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
"The week's been pretty much perfect so far," Murray said."I came through a tough first two matches, and then this was a real test against someone that I might have to play if I want to go all the way at Wimbledon."It just gives me the message that I'm in a good place now. I'm playing well. I struggled at times this year, but I feel like now I'm playing really good tennis again.
Roddick, a three-times Wimbledon runner-up to Roger Federer, was sorry to lose but not distraught."It certainly does nothing to my confidence level going into Wimbledon. I just thought he played too good today," said the American."Everything he touched turned to gold, he was just too good.
"I thought I played well, I got four matches, which is really important, and I feel prepared going into the practice week for Wimbledon. It was a good week for me."