The final of Roland Garros is finally set as the men’s semifinal action was completed today in a rain-plagued tournament that left the men and women playing at the same time.
Novak Djokovic made his fourth Roland Garros final, while Andy Murray made his first. They’ve played three times this year already, splitting two of the clay masters finals as well Djokovic’s straight set win over Murray in Melbourne this year.
The head-to-head in tomorrow’s final is heavily in favor of Djokovic, especially in the last few years. But Murray can take comfort in the fact that he won their most recent meeting in Rome.
Semifinal #1: Djokovic vs. Thiem
This half of the draw got the rough end of the deal. Both Djokovic and Thiem had to play three consecutive days just to get to this point and this is their fourth. Their fourth-round encounters were split over two days and played their quarterfinals and semifinals back to back.
Overall, it was the more experienced player who handled the situation better. He was rarely troubled until the third set where Thiem got an early break. He just couldn’t stay patient enough to break through the defense of the World No. 1.
Thiem, the 22-year-old from Austria, was playing in his first Slam semifinal. He tried to go big in this match with his clay-friendly, heavy groundstrokes but it was not enough. He had more winners than Djokovic but committed many more unforced errors.
Semifinal #2: Murray vs. Wawrinka
This was the match that everyone was looking forward to and many believed it could go either way. Unfortunately it did not live up to its expectations.
Murray did however manage to produce some of his best tennis ever on clay in the first few sets, sending a message to Djokovic who was playing at the same time as him.
Wawrinka clearly flustered by the defense of his opponent couldn’t manage to hit through the slow conditions or his quick Scottish opponent.
He had a brief shining moment when he took the third set but lost hold of the match immediately in the fourth. His main weakness, the return of serve was on display today, was made even more apparent by Murray’s serving display on the crucial points.
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