Tournament: Roland Garros
Category: Grand Slam
Location: Paris, France
Date: Friday, June 3, 2016 at 14:00
Both Murray and Wawrinka survived early-tournament scares
The defending French Open champion Stan Wawrinka will face off against the world No. 2 Andy Murray in a semifinal at Roland Garros.
Last year Switzerland’s Stan shocked world No. 1 Novak Djokovic having won the 2015 title. Wawrinka advanced to his second Roland Garros semifinal with a 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7) win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
In less than two hours Wawrinka fired eight aces and 49 winners to quietly put away his Spanish foe. At 31, Wawrinka is the oldest man in 31 years to reach the French Open semis.
Andy Murray suffered a bit of early trouble in his quarterfinal match against the world No.9 Richard Gasquet, giving up a 5-2 lead in the first set and falling behind in a second-set tie-break. The two-time Grand Slam winner fought back and regained his composure though, coming back to take the tie-break and dominating the rest of the way for a 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-0, 6-2 win.
Monstrueux (or monstrous), in such a way Richard Gasquet described Andy Murray on Wednesday. This was meant as a compliment, for Murray as he had just ejected Gasquet in four sets. His reward will be a semi-final on Friday against the reigning champion here, Stan Wawrinka.
Murray shows marked improvements on the clay: “I feel more comfortable when I step on a clay court in terms of my moving and understanding of how I’m going to play the matches and win against the best players. Before, I never really had that, and wasn’t ready at that stage to win those matches. I probably had the same ambition but maybe not the necessary belief.”- Andy writes in his LE PARISIEN COLUMN.
“I’m here to win the tournament,” says Scot after reaching semi.
Roland Garros is the only one of the four grand slams where Murray has never reached the trophy match, but Murray is still looking for his first final appearance.
Andy and Stan started their 2016 French Open run with a five-set match, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they came full circle on Friday.
Both men are the owners of two Grand Slam titles, though Wawrinka’s have come more recently: at the Australian Open in 2014, and then at the French Open last year. Murray won the U.S. Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013. He has advanced to his fourth semifinal at the French Open, having lost at this stage last year, in 2014 and 2011.
Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka have met on 16 occasions and their head to head record currently stands at 9-7 in Murray’s favour. Their last match was on hard courts at the 2015 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals where Murray lost 7-6(4), 6-4.
At their last meeting on clay Wawrinka gained a 6-1, 6-2 victory at the 2013 Monte Carlo Masters.
Andy knows a win over Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals of the French Open will put him in his first final here – completing the list for all four majors and becoming the first British player to get to the concluding day in Paris since Bunny Austin in 1937.
“The last two years here Stan has played great tennis. He’s been at the top of the game for a number of years and is still improving,” Murray said. “He’s been a little bit inconsistent this year, but won a tournament last week and has been playing better with each match here. It will be very tough. He plays well on that court. I’ll have to play great tennis to beat him.” -Murray said on court of Wawrinka. “It’s going to be extremely tough, extremely difficult. We haven’t played for a while.”
Asked whether he believes that this year’s French Open represents his best chance yet of lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires, Murray replied “Last year was similar. I came in not having lost on the clay and played some really good tennis. Whether I do or not, we’ll have to wait and see. But I believe it’s possible and it’s only a couple of matches away now. I’ll just give everything I’ve got the next few days.”
As for Wawrinka, he seems not so confident: “I’m too far from thinking about winning here,” he told ITV. “I honestly only start thinking that when I am playing in the final. It would be great to play Andy. We have so many matches against each other, always special. He’s an amazing athlete. It would be in the semi-final but I’m quite far from that now.”
Magnus Norman, Wawrinka’s coach said: “He needs to play a lot of matches,” said Norman. “The more tennis he plays, the better he is. The last few years he has a better record in best-of-five matches vs. best-of-three. He’s an aerobic player. He needs time to get going, and then he can go for a long time. The best-of-five suits him well. A lot of tennis brings the best out of him.”
“There are many things [that have changed in the past year]. I think the biggest is the physical part. Physically I belong at the top, which was not like this the last year. Especially in the grand slams, [fitness] is really important.”-Wawrinka admited.
Live Stream: Tennis Channel Everywhere (USA), ITV.com (UK), Eurosport Player (UK, France and most European countries), TSN.ca (Canada)
More information about the French Open Roland Garros 2016