Stan Wawrinka will have to wait an extra day to discover his French Open final opponent after Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray saw their semifinal suspended because of fading light and impending storm. The players were tied 3-3 in the fourth set with Djokovic up two sets to one as he looked to move a step closer to completing a Career Grand Slam.
Yet after Murray prolonged the match by taking the third set, it is difficult to know which player will be the happier with the chance to refresh and come back on Saturday. Fresh from ending the dominance of nine-time champion Rafael Nadal in an eagerly anticipated quarterfinal, the world No. 1 showed little sign of relaxing as he took a two-sets lead. At that point, with Murray seemingly fading away mentally against a player he had lost to on seven successive occasions, the prospect of the match going to second day was an unlikely one.
Djokovic seemed to be cruising to his 28th straight victory and maintaining his undefeated streak on clay in 2015. Murray had likewise yet to taste a loss on clay after winning his first two titles ever on the surface leading into the French Open. And the third seed held his own with his fellow 28-year-old for the first seven games of the match in an opening that was made even more grueling by the sapping heat in Paris. But it was Murray who buckled first, giving up a sloppy service game to love to allow his former junior rival to go on to serve out the opening set.
That looked likely to prove a pivotal moment given that Murray had never beaten Djokovic after losing the first set. Their battle was following a similar pattern to this year’s Australian Open final, although this time Murray appeared to wane mentally even earlier, while Djokovic was unwavering. The Serbian broke midway through the second set and did so again when Murray missed with an overhead to hand his long-time rival a two-set advantage.
At that point Murray’s main hope of preserving his place in the tournament looked to be the darkening skies overhead that threatened to bring rain to Roland Garros. At the same time that he was struggling to hold serve almost every time he walked up to the line, Murray had failed to make any indent on his opponent’s. Indeed the Scot only made it to deuce on Djokovic’s serve once in the match, and that was in the very first game of the game.
But after holding on early in the third set, Murray capitalized on the growing frustration of Djokovic at being unable to finish the job. With a couple of searing forehands, Murray broke to take a 6-5 lead and then held out to take the set as a now faltering and flustered Djokovic hit a forehand long. The momentum was taken into the fourth set by Murray and he took an early break advantage to leave Djokovic bemoaning his inability to see in the fading light. But Djokovic rallied to break back and with the momentum swinging back to the Serbian, neither player seemed too unhappy to have to call it a night.