breaking the mould

Murray sends defending champion packing to reach first French Open final

The Scot defeated Stan Wawrinka in four sets to become the first British man to reach the final at Roland Garros in 79 years.

ANDY MURRAY WILL play Novak Djokovic in the French Open final after the second seed ended Stan Wawrinka’s reign as the champion at Roland Garros today.

Murray reached the title match in Paris for the first time with a comprehensive 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 semi-final win over the Swiss title-holder who was on a 12-match winning streak in the tournament.

The Scot is the 10th man in the Open era, since 1968, to reach the final at all four Grand Slam events.

Djokovic earlier won through to his fourth French Open final with a one-sided 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win over Dominic Thiem of Austria.

Sunday’s two 29-year-old finalists have already played each other in six Grand Slam finals with Djokovic winning four times in Australia and Murray emerging on top at the US Open and Wimbledon.

Murray is the first British player to reach the French Open final since Bunny Austin in 1937 and on Sunday he will try to become the first British winner of the tournament since Fred Perry in 1935.

“I knew today that if I wanted to win I would have to play one of my best clay-court matches. Stan’s record here the last couple of years is unbelievable,” he said.

“I am extremely proud. I never expected to reach the final here. I always struggled on clay, but in the last few years I have had some of my best results [on clay].”

Murray and Wawrinka had played each other 15 times with Murray leading 8-7, although Wawrinka had taken their last three encounters, including a straight sets quarter-final victory at the 2013 US Open.

Murray got off to the better start, breaking serve in the third game and that proved to be enough for him to pocket the first set in a hotly-disputed 10th game where Wawrinka had break points to level.

The second set followed a similar pattern with Murray breaking in the third game, but this time the two-time major champion made it back-to-back breaks as he pulled 5-1 clear.

The Scot served out comfortably for the second set and he was in complete control of the match at that stage with Wawrinka struggling to cope with his pace and power.

The Swiss player staved off two break points in the third game of the third set and he gained some energy from a centre-court crowd largely pulling for him.

Murray was winning 84% of the points on his first serve, but he finally stumbled at 4-5 down with a couple of unforced errors that allowed Wawrinka to get the break he needed to stay in the match.

The comeback was short-lived, however, as Murray broke serve to open the fourth set and he quickly opened up a 2-0 lead.

Wawrinka then played a dismal service game to allow Murray to pull 5-2 clear and it was all over shortly after that.

© – AFP, 2016

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