Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka reached his second career Grand Slam final by edging out home favorite and extremely demanding Jo Wilfried-Tsonga. Though Wawrinka took the first set, the Frenchman didn’t give in easily and fought back to take the second on tiebreak. After another set also went to the tiebreak in Wawrinka’s favor, Tsonga couldn’t force the decider as the Swiss eighth seed finished the match in four sets and entered his first final at the Roland Garros. But Wawrinka doesn’t know, who he will face in the title game on Sunday because the other semifinal between world no.1 Novak Djokovic and Britain’s Andy Murray had to be halted midway due to a fast approaching titanic storm and fading light. With Djokovic taking the first two sets, Murray winning the third and fourth running level, the breathtaking match goes over to the next day and will be staged just before the women’s singles final between Serena Williams and Luci Safarova. Until then, Wawrinka will have to keep his finger crossed and speculate on his chances against either of the two opponents.
The crowd at the Philippe Chatrier was expectant just before the match between their countryman Jo Wilfried-Tsonga and Stan Wawrinka. The heat on the court was murderous with temperatures hovering at over 30c. Neither Tsonga nor Wawrinka had ever entered the French Open final but they came to face each other with high hopes. Tsonga began quite well in first set as created two break opportunities but Wawrinka found the control lever and thwarted Tsonga’s chances. The Swiss broke Tsonga in the fourth game to open a 3-1 lead and with Tsonga squandering a break-back chance in the seventh game, Wawrinka took the first set 6-3. A few unforced errors from Tsonga early in the first game allowed Wawrinka to begin the second set with an easy break. The eerily quiet Philippe Chatrier came alive, when Tsonga found the break and a 4-3 lead midway through the set. The set went on serve with long rallies ensuing. The sweltering heat took its toll on the two players and Tsonga let go of more break-point chances. When the second set entered the tiebreak, the Frenchman was brilliant and by taking the set leveled the set scores 1-1.
Tsonga made a colorful start to the third set but began losing the break opportunities once again. Both competitors had one aspect of play in common. After flashes of brilliance, they made silly unforced errors. The third set went to tiebreak as well but this time it was the Swiss, who got the better of the Frenchman. As the match entered the fourth set, Wawrinka decided to enhance his net approaches to pressurize Tsonga. This tactic worked and Tsonga was pushed back and failed to find his shots. Wawrinka took the 3-1 lead and continued the assault on both flanks and finally served out with a 6-4, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 victory. Tsonga weakened his chances because he converted just 1 out of 17 break-point chances that came his way. As for Wawrinka, he created 60 winners including 22 out of 30 points on net approach.
The second semi-final between two tennis gladiators promised a keen contest as world no.1 Novak Djokovic took on Britain’s Andy Murray. None of them had lost on clay this season and although their head-to-head victory count went in the Serbian’s favor at 18-8, the historical figures took back seat to the performance of the day. In the opening exchanges, there were energy sapping rallies that seemed to go on and on. But the Serb played better and found the break. Yet again when Murray served at 3-4 down, he allowed Djokovic another three break points. The Serb secured the break and served out to take the set 6-3. In the second set too, Djokovic broke early to take a 3-2 advantage and repeated the first-set script to win the second one as well at 6-3. When it looked like curtains for Murray at 5-5 in the third set, the Scot produced a flash of genius by an amazing forehand pass after chasing a lob from Djokovic and hitting it at mid-spin. This brought the revival as Murray found his first break point. In a wonderful turnaround, Murray took 15 of the last 20 points to take the third set 7-5. In the fourth set, the two players were at 3-3, when storm threatened to hit Roland Garros with a vengeance. Everyone agreed for the postponement of the match to Saturday.
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