Paris: Andy Murray produced one of his best grand slam performances to defeat defending champion Stan Wawrinka and become the first British man to reach the French Open final for 79 years yesterday.
Andy Murray returns to Stan Wawrinka (below) during his French Open semi-final at Roland Garros in Paris yesterday. Murray won 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. Pics/Getty Images
Wawrinka was on a 12-match winning streak at Roland Garros, having overpowered Novak Djokovic in the final 12 months ago, but he had no answer to the brilliance of Murray.
Murray dominated the opening two sets, then weathered a Wawrinka fightback to win 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in two hours and 35 minutes.
The world number two will now attempt to emulate Wawrinka’s achievement from last year when he takes on Djokovic on Sunday.
History for Murray
Having followed in the footsteps of Britain’s 1937 runner-up Bunny Austin by winning his first French Open semi-final at the fourth attempt, Murray will hope to once again succeed Fred Perry, the last British man to lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires in 1935.
The 29-year-old raised a fist aloft after hitting the match-winning volley, and said with his voice cracking: “I knew if I was going to win, I was going to have to play one of my best clay-court matches.
“Stan has been unbelievable the last two years. I’ve played one of my best matches today and I’m looking forward to the final.
“I’m extremely proud. I never expected to reach the final here. I’d always struggled on the clay. I hope I can put on a good match for all of the crowd on Sunday.”
Murray may have been the higher seed but it was tough to make a case for him being the favourite. Not only was Wawrinka the defending champion, he had also beaten Murray in their last three matches and had never lost a set against him on clay.
Murray, meanwhile, had lost all six of his slam matches against top-four opponents since beating Djokovic to win Wimbledon in 2013.
The heavy conditions this week also appeared to favour the burly Swiss’ greater weight of shot, although there was no doubt the court had speeded up despite temperatures more reminiscent of Dunblane than Paris. Murray knew he could not afford the same ups and downs that made his matches against Radek Stepanek, Mathias Bourgue and Richard Gasquet here so dramatic.
Did you know?
Sunday’s 29-year-old men’s finalists have already played each other in six Grand Slam finals with Novak Djokovic winning four times at the Australian Open and Andy Murray emerging on top at the US Open and Wimbledon