Andy Murray into French Open semi-finals

June 8, 2017

Andy Murray came from behind to reach another French Open semi-final, but world number two Novak Djokovic crashed out in dramatic style.
The world number one took to the court in the wake of Djokovic's straight-sets defeat by rising star Dominic Thiem, who will face Rafael Nadal in the last four. Murray briefly looked like going the same way when Kei Nishikori took the first set 6-2.
In the second, however, Murray was riled by the umpire when he stopped a serve after losing balance and was called for a time violation. This sparked the Scot into life and he started to produce the kind of energetic, passionate and aggressive display that has taken him to the top. Having blazed to a 6-1 win in the second set, he took the third on a tie-break in which he did not drop a point, before sweeping to victory by taking the fourth set 6-1.
While Nishikori faded after his bright opening, the result was further evidence that Murray is nearing his best again. He will certainly need to be as he faces a semi-final against Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 French Open winner. Wawrinka produced a fine display to thrash Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-3, 6-1. 
Both players have won three Grand Slams, and fans booking corporate hospitality for the Aegon Championships this month can see both of them in action, along with Nadal. Wawrinka will have a particular incentive to do well, as grass is his final frontier; a Wimbledon title would enable him to join the exclusive group of players who have won all four Grand Slams. 
At the age of 32, Wawrinka would be excused fading away after completing the set, but the dramatic loss of form of Novak Djokovic after he joined the club by winning at Roland Garros last year continued in extraordinary style as Thiem won 7-6, 6-3, 6-0. In less than a year the former world number one has gone from holding all four Grand Slams to losing the lot. It will be fascinating to see if new coach Andre Agassi can help revive Djokovic before Wimbledon.
Discussing his clash with Wawrinka, a repeat of last year's semi final, Murray wrote in his BBC Sport column that the fact both players have won the same number of Grand Slam titles is irrelevant to him.
"I know Stan - who I face in the semi-final on Friday - and I have both won three Grand Slams but I don't compare myself with other players in that sense. It's not what I'm playing for," the Wimbledon champion remarked.
He added: "Whether it's Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak or Stan, I don't need to think about the amount of Slams they have for any motivation."
Whether Murray beats Wawrinka or not, Nadal remains the firm favourite to win an unprecedented tenth French Open. 
The Spaniard has yet to drop a set in the tournament and had an easy passage to the last four when his opponent Pablo Carreno Busta had to retire with an injury while trailing 6-2, 2-0.
If Thiem can beat Nadal tomorrow (June 9th) to reach his first Grand Slam final, it will be a much bigger shock than even his win over Djokovic.

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