Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will have to return to Roland Garros on Saturday as they attempt to book a place in the French Open final against Stan Wawrinka. The pair were tied at 3-3 in the fourth set of their semifinal encounter on Friday, with Djokovic up two sets to one, when they were called off Court Philippe Chatrier due to a rapidly arriving downpour amid fading light under an overcast Paris sky.
That may be a major frustration to Djokovic, who is a strong favorite to complete his Career Grand Slam at Roland Garros after ending the dominance of nine-time champion Rafael Nadal in the last round. All looked good for him when he took a two-sets lead against his former junior arrival, who he had beaten in their last seven matchups. The undisputed world No. 1, on a 27-match winning streak, was too strong both mentally and physically for Murray, who was seeking a first final appearance at the French Open in what was his third appearance in the last four.
But Murray has been a much improved player on clay this year, having come into the French Open fresh from winning his first two titles on the surface. And he showed hugely impressive resolve to cling on and fight back in the third set. Unlike in the Australian Open final when Murray faded away after a toughly fought first two sets, this time he refused to go down easily. Djokovic’s frustration grew as he failed to close out the match in the fading light and Murray struck to take the third set. When he then broke at the start of the fourth, the Scot will have been none too pleased at the prospect of having his momentum interrupted by an overnight break. But when Djokovic broke straight back, it was the Serbian who held the initiative. Ultimately the chance to regroup may mean the interruption isn’t too much of a frustration for either man.
They will come back at 1 p.m. Paris time on Saturday, ahead of the women’s final, with Djokovic needing to win three games to set up a meeting with Wawrinka. That would be one of the biggest matches of the 28-year-old’s career, with it providing a chance to become just the eighth man in history to taste victory at all four grand slams. Thus he will be keen to get the job done early on Saturday, rather than have to physically extend himself ahead of the final the following day. Murray, on the other hand, will surely be relishing returning to the court with his final hopes still alive, having appeared to be hurrying toward the exit for much of Friday’s play.
Start time: 7 a.m. EDT
TV channel: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports Live Extra