Murray and Rain Halt Djokovic’s French Open Charge, For Now
Djokovic led the semifinal 6-3 6-3 5-7 3-3 before a storm forced play to be suspended.
What looked like a stroll into the French Open final turned into an uphill battle for Novak Djokovic as the world number one’s stranglehold on Friday’s duel with Andy Murray was loosened by a determined fightback from the third seed.
The Serb, looking to win the only major missing from his collection, was leading 6-3 6-3 5-7 3-3 in their semi-final clash when play was suspended for the day because of a storm after Murray had clawed his way back into contention.
Djokovic, the man who ended nine-times champion Rafa Nadal’s reign in the quarter-finals, was never in trouble in the first two sets and did not concede a single break point against a frustrated Murray.
But the Scot, under the watchful eye of coach Amelie Mauresmo, had studied his opponent’s tactics.
In the 11th game of the third set, on his first break chance, he perfectly anticipated yet another Djokovic drop shot and slapped away a forehand.
He then held to love to clinch the third set and shake the confidence of Djokovic, who had not conceded a set in the tournament so far.
The Serb then took a lengthy timeout off court and was booed by the crowd when he returned.
In the second game of the fourth set, Murray fell 0-40 down on his serve but after screaming in frustration, he won nine points in a row to move 2-1 ahead having broken Djokovic.
But the world number one broke back and it then went with serve until the interruption.
Murray was hoping to end a seven-match losing streak against Djokovic and become the first British man to reach the final at Roland Garros since Bunny Austin in 1937.
Djokovic is on course to become the eighth man to win all four grand slams.
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