Aussie Tommo in final - but no Murray date

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Jordan Thompson has battled into his first tournament singles final for three years - but there'll be no glamour grasscourt rematch for the Australian after home hero Andy Murray got knocked out of the Surbiton Trophy.

Playing in the Challenger tournament in the London suburbs, Sydney's Thompson was a different man to the figure crushed mercilessly by Rafael Nadal on Court Philippe Chatrier at the start of the Spaniard's latest run to the French Open final.

Clearly glad to be back on a surface where he thrives, the 28-year-old Thompson repelled a comeback from Finland's Otto Virtanen to win their semi-final 6-3 1-6 6-4 on Saturday evening.

It earned him his first place in any final since he reached his only tour-level championship match, also on grass in 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands in 2019 when he lost to Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

The Surbiton Trophy event is one of the ATP's second-tier events, and Jordan's last victory in any singles competition was at this level in Canberra in October 2018.

This week, though, the normally low-key Wimbledon build-up tournament has been the centre of huge attention as three-time grand slam winner Murray entered Surbiton, hoping to win a first tournament on home soil since 2016.

There had been the enticing prospect for Thompson of a possible rematch in the final with Murray, who he'd famously beaten in the first round of the prestigious Queen's grasscourt tournament in 2017 when the Scot was reigning champion.

But before the Australian, who called that victory over Murray the biggest of his career, won his match despte dropping his first set of the week against Virtanen, the Scot had already lost 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to American Denis Kudla.

The two finalists have only met once before on the clay in Geneva, with the Ukrainian-born Kudla coming out on top over 'Tommo' in three sets.

But Thompson enjoys the grass courts, sighing after his 6-2 6-2 6-2 hammering by Nadal in Paris that he'd never experienced a match as high profile as that since he'd met Murray at Queen's.

He reckoned he couldn't wait to get back on the grass circuit and, sure enough, has seemed a man transformed this week as he's won four matches en route to the final, including a win over his compatriot Chris O'Connell.

It was also a good week of practice for Murray, who will next head to Germany to play in the Stuttgart Open next week, before returning to London to play at Queen's again.

He had skipped the French Open to sharpen up for the short grass season, but Kudla spoiled the script by thwarting his hopes of a first win in Britain since he took the ATP Finals title six years ago.

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