Djokovic has un­fin­ished busi­ness

His French Open semi­fi­nal match against Mur­ray will be com­pleted to­day. If the Serb wins he will play for his first ti­tle at Roland Gar­ros.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - as­so­ci­ated press

PARIS — No­vak Djokovic has waited and waited to win his first French Open ti­tle and com­plete a ca­reer Grand Slam, wor­ry­ing about when — or per­haps even whether — he would get an­other chance af­ter com­ing close in re­cent years.

Now Djokovic must pon­der all of that a lit­tle longer: His semi­fi­nal against Andy Mur­ray was suspended in the fourth set Fri­day night, ini­tially halted be­cause of an im­pend­ing storm and then put off al­to­gether when the rain did ar­rive min­utes later.

The No. 1-seeded Djokovic won the first two sets, 6-3, 6-3, and ap­peared to be in con­trol, be­fore No. 3 Mur­ray took the third, 7-5. At 3-3 in the fourth, with dark clouds mov­ing in and light fad­ing, they were ush­ered off the court. Djokovic and Mur­ray will re­sume Satur­day at 1 p.m. Paris time, a lit­tle more than 16 hours af­ter they stopped.

The even­tual win­ner will face a mor­erested Stan Wawrinka of Switzer­land in Sun­day’s fi­nal.

The eighth-seeded Wawrinka, who elim­i­nated Roger Fed­erer in the quar­ter­fi­nals, fol­lowed that up by de­feat­ing France’s Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga, 6-3, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (3), 6-4 in Fri­day’s open­ing semi­fi­nal. Wawrinka suc­ceeded largely on the strength of one statis­tic: He saved 16 of 17 break points.

There were a few whis­tles and jeers di­rected at Wawrinka af­ter he ended Tsonga’s bid to give France a men’s cham­pion at its own tour­na­ment, some­thing that last hap­pened when Yan­nick Noah won in 1983.

“Jo is al­ways a tough player to play,” Wawrinka said, “es­pe­cially when he’s play­ing at home.”

The first chants of “Son-gah! Son-gah!” ac­com­pa­nied by rhyth­mic clap­ping ar­rived be­fore the first point was played, and they re­turned over and over at key junc­tures, as did yells of “Allez, Jo!” and other sup­port for Tsonga that prompted the chair um­pire to ask for quiet.

The tem­per­a­ture topped 90 de­grees at Court Philippe Cha­trier, and the play­ers wrapped tow­els filled with ice around their necks at changeovers to try to cool off.

A year ago, af­ter win­ning the Aus­tralian Open cham­pi­onship, Wawrinka lost in the first round in Paris. Now he’s into his first French Open fi­nal and sec­ond at a ma­jor.

For Djokovic, so much is at stake this week­end.

Fin­ish off Mur­ray, and he would face Wawrinka with a chance to be­come only the eighth man in ten­nis his­tory to own at least one tro­phy from each of the sport’s four most pres­ti­gious tour­na­ments, adding to his five from the Aus­tralian Open, two from Wim­ble­don and one from the U.S. Open.

It would be Djokovic’s third ap­pear­ance in the fi­nal in Paris.

He lost in 2012 and 2014 to Rafael Nadal, the nine-time cham­pion whose 39-match Roland Gar­ros win­ning streak was ended by Djokovic in this year’s quar­ter­fi­nals.

En­ter­ing Fri­day, Djokovic was 40-2 this sea­son, with 27 vic­to­ries in a row.

He looked like that same, dom­i­nant player for the first two sets against Mur­ray, a twotime ma­jor cham­pion try­ing to be­come the first Bri­tish man to reach the fi­nal in Paris since 1937.

But the Serb’s form be­gan to dip in the third set, while Mur­ray started to play bet­ter and bet­ter and tried to rile the crowd by mo­tion­ing for more sup­port.

Christophe Ena As­so­ci­ated Press


beat Jo-Wil­fried Tsonga in semi­fi­nals and will face No­vak Djokovic or Andy Mur­ray for cham­pi­onship.

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