Djokovic and Murray eye milestones in blockbuster Paris final

Fri Jun 3, 2016 3:49pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

PARIS (Reuters) - An 18-year rivalry will play out its next gripping chapter at Roland Garros as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic eye up a French Open final in which milestones galore will be on the line.

Will Murray become the first British man to lift the French Open trophy in more than eight decades? Or will Djokovic have enough energy left in the tank after playing four days in succession at the rain-ravaged claycourt grand slam to become the first man in almost 50 years to hold all four majors at once?

What is certain though, is that the Musketeers' Cup will have a new name engraved on it come Sunday -- weather permitting -- after Djokovic pulled rank on a player he described as "a leader of a new generation" to reach his fourth Paris final in five years.

The world number one's 6-2 6-1 6-4 win over Austrian tyro Dominic Thiem on Friday had to be staged on the secondary Court Suzanne Lenglen after a week of rain derailed the tournament's usual schedule.

That left Murray and defending champion Wawrinka to grab Centre Court billing and while the Swiss conjured some blazing backhands to whip the noisy crowd into a frenzy, the winners were rare as he surrendered his Roland Garros crown with a 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-2 defeat by the British second seed.

"I knew today if I wanted to win I was going to have to play one of my best claycourt matches. Stan was playing better every match," an emotional Murray, who became the first British man to reach the Paris showpiece since Bunny Austin in 1937, told the crowd with a quivering voice.

"I am extremely proud. I never expected to reach the final here, I always struggled on the clay. I played one of my best claycourt matches today... I hope I can put on a good match on Sunday."


Tennis - French Open Mens Singles Semifinal match - Roland Garros - Novak Djokovic of Serbia v Dominic Thiem of Austria - Paris, France - 03/06/16. Novak Djokovic celebrates with courtgirls and courtboys. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen -