Djokovic still faces rocky road to French glory

Thu Jun 4, 2015 10:16am EDT
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic's muted celebrations after ending Rafa Nadal's reign as claycourt king were partly out of respect for his Spanish victim but mainly due to the fact the his French Open mission is far from accomplished.

In beating nine-times champion Nadal, Djokovic scaled what had previously been an insurmountable barrier at Roland Garros.

It earned him only high praise, though, not the title he craves to complete his collection of majors.

Andy Murray, his opponent in the semi-final, perhaps poses an even greater threat to the rampant Serb who is on a 27-match unbeaten streak in Tour matches.

The way Murray dispatched David Ferrer in the quarter-finals, and the way he beat Nadal to win the Madrid title, suggests that he can wreck Djokovic's dream.

Even if Djokovic wins, there would still be the small matter of beating either Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Swiss eighth seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the final.

Tsonga shoulders the weight of a nation on his shoulders as France awaits its first men's winner at the home slam since Yannick Noah in 1983.

For Djokovic, the pressure all comes from within as he tries to become only the eighth man to win all four slams.   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns the ball to Rafael Nadal of Spain during their men's quarter-final match during the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, June 3, 2015.        REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier