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AP Photo/Michel Euler
Tennis

Djokovic, Murray to meet with first French Open title at stake

AP Photo/Michel Euler

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will play for the title on Sunday. It’s a phrase that’s been necessary rather often this decade, and they’ll do battle again, though this time it’s their first final at a venue where neither has ever claimed the trophy.

Djokovic ended Dominic Thiem’s impressive run to the semifinals with a a comprehensive 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 victory. Though Djokovic dazzled at times…

…Thiem was never able to find his strike zone, with his forehand flying on him all match. Without finding something resembling the level he reached in his quarterfinal over David Goffin, Thiem never asked any “questions” for the World No. 1 to answer. The young Austrian found a second wind, leaping out to a 3-0 lead in the third, but that was quickly snuffed out as Djokovic erased the break deficit and surprisingly ended up dominating more on Thiem’s favored clay than their meeting back on the Miami hardcourts.

Murray, meanwhile, played at a dazzling level -likely his best performance of the season- to knock out defending champion Stan Wawrinka in four sets, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2. In a similar matchup of ultra-consistent baseliner against dangerous hit-or-miss players with thundering one-handed backhands, Murray had a bit more trouble than Djokovic, which was to expected given the higher caliber of opponent. Wawrinka’s magic just wasn’t there, but he summoned some inspired play in the third, getting the crowd back into the match and stealing the set.

The energy burst quickly faded though, as Murray immediately broke and kept himself from falling into one of his typical lulls. Instead of allowing Wawrinka (the oldest French semifinalist in 30 years) to break back, he held strong and finished out the match.

More on their final in tomorrow’s preview.

-Serena Williams battled past Kiki Bertens, ending her incredibly impressive tournament. Bertens served for the opening set, but Williams broke back and took a 9-7 tiebreaker, eventually winning 7-6 (7), 6-4. Bertens nearly didn’t play due to a leg injury, while Williams conceded in press to the rumors of an adductor injury.

-Serena will face Garbine Muguruza, who took care of business, taking out Sam Stosur, 6-2, 6-4. Combined with last year at Wimbledon, Muguruza is the first woman since Victoria Azarenka in 2012 to make her first Grand Slam final and then follow it up with another (note: this has been edited to add clarification). A preview and prediction of that final coming later today.

-The mixed doubles final went to Martina Hingis and Leander Paes after a nailbiting 4-6, 6-4, [10-8] win over Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig. Doubles partners regularly, Hingis got Mirza back for taking her out in the mixed back in Australia. It was a record-filled title for Hingis, 35, and Paes, nearly 43, as both claimed the only doubles Slam they were missing, and Paes tied the record of former partner Martina Navratilova with his 10th mixed Slam.

-In other news, Nick Kyrgios’ continuing feud with Australian tennis led to his announcement that he will not play in the Rio Olympics, citing “unfair and unjust” treatment.

Djokovic, Murray to meet with first French Open title at stake



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