PARIS: Britain’s Andy Murray ended the French Open reign of Stan Wawrinka on Friday, downing the defending champion in four sets to reach his first Roland Garros final, where he will face the might of world No 1 Novak Djokovic.
The Serb is trying to complete a career Grand Slam and his first victory at Rolanf Garros here will ensure he does.
Breaking his claycourt jinx against the Swiss, second seed Murray also becomes the first Briton to contest the Roland Garros crown since the 1930s — a landmark he did not think he would achieve. “I am extremely proud. I never expected to reach a final here,” he said courtside after a 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-2 victory that cemented his growing reputation on a surface he once mistrusted. “I knew today if I wanted to win I would have to play one of my best claycourt matches. I played one of my best matches today.”
Murray bested Djokovic in May’s Italian Open final, their most recent encounter on clay.
But the Briton is likely to have to up his game further to repeat the performance on Sunday against a man who looked all but unplayable in crushing Austrian tyro Dominic Thiem 6-2 6-1 6-4 a stone’s throw away on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
SERENA EYES SLAM 22
Two years ago at the French Open, Serena Williams was stunned in the second round by a 20-year-old opponent participating in only her 13th match at a Major.
That 6-2, 6-2 loss to Garbine Muguruza was, and remains to this day, the most lopsided defeat of Williams’338-matchGrandSlam career.
So guess who the No. 1-ranked Williams will face in the final at Roland Garros on Saturday as she attempts to earn her 22nd major championship and equal Steffi Graf’s Open-era record? Muguruza, of course. Since that setback, Williams has won 47 of 50 matches at Majors, collecting four trophies along the way to boost her total to 21. Only Graf and Margaret Court, with 24, own more.
Williams moved one victory from Slam title No. 22 —including her second in a row at the French Open — by getting past a poor start and beating Dutch Kiki Bertens 7-6 (7), 6-4 in the semifinals on Friday. The No. 4-seeded Muguruza advanced by eliminating 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur of Australia 6-2, 6-4.
It’s also a rematch of last year’s Wimbledon final, which Williams won in straight sets.