Wawrinka into fi­nal as storm holds up Djokovic vs. Mur­ray

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY DAVE JAMES

Stan Wawrinka reached his first French Open fi­nal on Fri­day as a se­vere weather warn­ing forced the roller­coaster semi­fi­nal be­tween No­vak Djokovic and Andy Mur­ray into a Satur­day shootout.

World No. 1 Djokovic was lead­ing 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 3-3 when play was halted at 1833GMT with the match of­fi­cially called off 10 min­utes later.

When play was stopped, Djokovic and Mur­ray, meet­ing for the 27th time, had been on Court Philippe Cha­trier for 3 hours and eight min­utes.

Top seeded Djokovic, who knocked out nine-time cham­pion Rafael Nadal in the quar­ter­fi­nals, needs a French Open ti­tle to make him only the eighth man to win all four ma­jors.

It would also put him half­way to a rare cal­en­dar Grand Slam, a feat achieved by just two men, most re­cently by Aus­tralian great Rod Laver back in 1969.

Mur­ray is hop­ing to be­come the UK’s first men’s fi­nal­ist since Bunny Austin in 1937.

Djokovic swept through the first two sets as he sought an eighth suc­ces­sive win over Mur­ray and his 28th in a row this sea­son.

But Mur­ray clawed his way back, tak­ing the third set and forc­ing the Serb off court for a med­i­cal time­out.

In fad­ing light, Mur­ray broke for 2-1 be­fore Djokovic hit back im­me­di­ately at 2-2.

Mo­ments later, the match was called off and will re­sume at 1100GMT Satur­day be­fore the women’s fi­nal be­tween Serena Wil­liams and Lu­cie Sa­farova.

Ear­lier, Wawrinka shat­tered French hopes of a first men’s sin­gles cham­pion in 32 years when he out­lasted Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga 6-3, 6-7 (1/7), 7-6 (7/3) 6-4.

The 2014 Aus­tralian Open win­ner reached the fi­nal in Paris for the first time hav­ing lost just two sets along the way.

For Tsonga, the dream of em­u­lat­ing Yan­nick Noah, the last French­man to win at Roland Gar­ros in 1983, was over for an­other year. The last French­man to reach the fi­nal was Henri Le­conte in 1988.

“It was a huge battle, very dif­fi­cult phys­i­cally, a lot of in­ten­sity on both sides and it could have gone ei­ther way,” Wawrinka said.

“He had chances to break me in the third set, but he had a great tour­na­ment and de­serves just as much as me to be in the fi­nal.”

The semi­fi­nal­ists, both aged 30, had met twice be­fore at Roland Gar­ros, each win­ning in five sets, but their most re­cent en­counter was a su­perb four sets Davis Cup fi­nal win for Wawrinka in Novem­ber.

That sent Tsonga’s form into a tail­spin made all the worse by a bad wrist in­jury that side­lined him un­til March.

But Roland Gar­ros saw him back to near his best, de­feat­ing fourth seed To­mas Berdych and fifth seed Kei Nishikori to reach the semis for the sec­ond time.

AP

Ser­bia’s No­vak Djokovic clenches his fist af­ter scor­ing a point in the semi­fi­nal match of the French Open ten­nis tour­na­ment against the UK’s Andy Mur­ray at the Roland Gar­ros sta­dium in Paris on Fri­day, June 5.

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