Murray's honeymoon on clay ended by Djokovic

Sat Jun 6, 2015 9:33am EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

PARIS (Reuters) - With his glinting gold wedding band looped around the black laces of left shoe, Andy Murray had been an unstoppable force on clay this season.

So unstoppable that players of the caliber of nine-times French Open champion Rafa Nadal or seasoned campaigner David Ferrer tried and failed to ruin the newlywed's honeymoon period on clay.

Novak Djokovic, however, was not as charitable in the French Open semi-final on Saturday and handed Murray his first defeat since his April 11 marriage to Kim Sears, thus ending the Scot's 15-match winning streak on the red dust.

Murray's hopes of ending Britain's 80-year wait for men's Roland Garros champion disappeared with a 6-3 6-3 5-7 5-7 6-1 defeat to Djokovic -- but it was not before he gave the world number one a mighty scare.

With the match suspended on Friday with the duo locked at 3-3 in fourth set, Murray's roar echoed around Philippe Chatrier arena within minutes of Saturday's resumption.

A Djokovic forehand error handed Murray the break in the 11th game and he brought his coach Amelie Mauresmo to her feet when he leveled at two sets all.

Hopes that the fifth set would turn out to be an epic battle of wills failed to materialize, however, as three scrappy unforced errors gifted Djokovic a 2-0 lead and from then on there looked to be only one winner -- the Serb ending Murray's misery with his eighth ace.

"Obviously right now I'm upset but I would say I probably played the best tennis in the major events, in the slams," the 2013 Wimbledon champion said after being on the receiving end of an eighth successive defeat by Djokovic.   Continued...

Andy Murray of Britain leaves the court after being defeated by Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their men's semi-final match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, June 6, 2015. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier