Murray downs champion to reach first French Open final

Fri Jun 3, 2016 12:51pm EDT
 
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By John Stonestreet

PARIS (Reuters) - Britain's Andy Murray ended the French Open reign of Stan Wawrinka on Friday, downing the defending champion in four sets to reach his first Roland Garros final, where he will face the might of world number one Novak Djokovic.

Breaking his claycourt jinx against the Swiss, second seed Murray also becomes the first Briton to contest the Roland Garros crown since the 1930s -- a landmark he did not think he would achieve.

"I am extremely proud. I never expected to reach a final here," he said courtside after a 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-2 victory that cemented his growing reputation on a surface he once mistrusted.

"I knew today if I wanted to win I would have to play one of my best claycourt matches. I played one of my best matches today."

Murray bested Djokovic in May's Italian Open final, their most recent encounter on clay.

But the Briton is likely to have to up his game further to repeat the performance on Sunday against a man who looked all but unplayable in crushing Austrian tyro Dominic Thiem 6-2 6-1 6-4 a stone's throw away on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Looking re-energised after a rest day that the pair on the other side of the draw missed out on, both Murray and Wawrinka started brightly, the Scot pacing in monochrome while the Swiss lit up a dull Philippe Chatrier showcourt in fluorescent yellow.

Murray came close to losing his very first service game, which he took after five deuces. But he then broke his third-seeded opponent and consolidated with a pinpoint lob to lead 3-1, winning the set in an epic 10th game in which Wawrinka held three break points.   Continued...

 
Andy Murray reacts.  REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes