Djokovic Beats Murray to Set Up French Final With Wawrinka

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Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray in a match played over two days to move to his third French Open final, where he’ll face Stan Wawrinka.

The Serbian beat Britain’s Murray, 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1 on the main Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros in Paris.

“It was a very difficult match,” Djokovic said in a court-side interview in French. “I was solid and aggressive yesterday, but Andy regained his confidence. The start of the fifth set was very important.”

Their match had been suspended at 8:33pm local time Friday because of a pending thunderstorm at 3-3 in the fourth set.

After Djokovic dominated Murray in the first two sets, the match changed at 5-5 in the third when Murray broke serve for the first time in the match. After he dropped his first set of the tournament with an unforced error, Djokovic left the court for a seven-minute medical time out. Shortly after, Murray went for a bathroom break.

Murray was a point away from losing his serve in the second game of the fourth set before winning 10 points in a row, including a 33-shot rally to save a second break point.

After Murray took the fourth set, he handed Djokovic the break for 2-0 in the decider after he made three unforced errors in one game.

Making Murray run, Djokovic took control after that as he broke again for 5-1 as his coach Boris Becker applauded from his private box. He won the match with an ace, his 56th winner. Murray had 36. Six of them came in the final set, compared to 2 for the British No. 1.

Earlier Friday, Switzerland’s Wawrinka overcame soaring temperatures to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and reach his first French Open final. Wawrinka topped the Frenchman 6-3, 6-7 (1-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 as temperatures rose to as high as 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit).

It was much cooler Saturday, with highs expected of 23 degrees Celsius.

During today’s men’s semifinal, Wawrinka was practicing on Court 5, but occasionally stopped to look at the scoreboard.

Djokovic has only lost three out of twenty matches against Wawrinka. But the 30-year-old Swiss ended his tree-year reign as Australian Open champion in the 2014 quarterfinals in Melbourne. After Wawrinka beat the Serbian 9-7 in the fifth set, he went on to win his first major title.

The French Open is the only Grand Slam trophy that’s eluded eight-time major champion Djokovic. Until this year, he’d been stopped six times on the clay of Roland Garros by nine-time winner Rafael Nadal, including in the 2012 and 2014 finals. This year, Djokovic beat the Spaniard in straight sets in the quarterfinals and will now have a chance to claim the career grand slam of all four major tennis titles.

(Adds fifth set statistics in the eighth paragraph.)
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