By Ros Satar
- Djokovic defeats Murray in carried over semi-final 6-3 6-3 5-7 5-7 6-1
- Murray ends the clay court season with a 15-1 record
PARIS – Andy Murray’s run at the French Open came to an end at the hands of World No. 1 Novak Djokovic after his best run on clay, picking up his first two titles on the surface this year.
Despite starting with intent, it took just a couple of sloppy games from Murray in the first two sets, played on Friday evening to hand Novak Djokovic a two-set lead. The pair engaged in some brutal rallies but Murray has never been able to defeat Djokovic after losing the first set, and it looked as though this would be a straight sets path to the Roland Garros final for the Serbian.
However, Murray began to find a way into Djokovic’s head into the third set as a menacing storm was moving ever closer to the Stade Roland Garros, finally being rewarded with his first break points of the match in the penultimate game, ably following it with a confident service game to love.
Whipping the crowd up, Murray also struck first in the fourth set but swiftly handed back that advantage. The pair managed to stay on serve to 3-3 before the match was halted for an impending storm. In light of the incident in high winds when part of the scoreboard hoardings was torn off, hitting a section of the crowd, the decision was taken to allow the crowds to evacuate Chatrier as swiftly and safely as possible.
Despite initially saying only Saturday’s ticket holders would be allowed to watch the match, scheduled at 1pm CET, the organisers allowed Friday’s ticket holders to watch as the semi-finalists took to the court once more.
It had to be a good start for the pair, as Djokovic started the day’s action. Both men were dialled in with three successive service games to love, but it was Murray that stole momentum, breaking a slightly rattled looking Djokovic, as he served out for the fourth set.
Djokovic did not stay rattled for long, leaping out to a 3-0 lead, and for many, the horror of another potential final set bagel loomed large, after the Australian Open and Miami finals this year. Murray did at least avoid that getting one game on the board, but Djokovic delivered the cutting blow with a further break before serving out for a place in his third Roland Garros final.
Djokovic said, after the match: “I don’t think I was lucky. I think I was playing some great tennis yesterday. He found his game late in the third. I had many opportunities to finish the match in straight sets, but credit to Andy.
“He showed why he’s one of the biggest competitors and fighters on the tour. A bit different conditions, with sun and then later in the evening it got a bit slower. He was using his variety in the game very well. It was a really tough match, over four hours all together, yesterday and today. No different from any other match that we played against each other. It’s always a thriller, always a marathon.
“He just came up with some great shots, great points. I want to congratulate him for a great tournament and a great fight”
Murray finishes the clay court season with a 15-1 record, and his first two titles, including a Masters 1000 title in Madrid (def. Rafael Nadal).
“I played a loose game on my serve the first game of the fifth set with the new balls,” said Murray. “I missed I think three balls long in that game. Then Novak relaxed a little bit after that and he hit the ball extremely accurate[ly].
“After Novak, I would say I probably played the best tennis in the major events, in the slams and in the Masters 1000s I have been quite consistent in the ones that I have played.”
Djokovic will face Stan Wawrinka in the final on Sunday, and Murray will next play in Queen’s, as his warm-up event to Wimbledon.