Published: Sat, June 10, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Wawrinka rallies to defeat Murray, reaches French Open final

"Only thing I care (about) is I have been playing very well during the whole event". "But Stan is playing unbelievable", said Nadal. "I do not want him to play his game, which means I need to make sure I don't let him be in that position where he can hit hard".

Thiem managed to break Nadal on his very first serve to make it 1-0 but the nine time champion turned things around immediately.

While Llorente was busy heaping praise on the magnificent Nadal, a couple of American ex-pros seemed glad to have hung up their racquets as the Spaniard dismantled Dominic Thiem.

It could seem easy but it should not be forgotten that Thiem won in three sets against Novak Djokovic, finishing with a 6-0.

Rafael Nadal got off to a shaky start on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Yet the nine-time Roland Garros champion dispatched up-and-coming Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 on Friday to reach his 10th final at the clay-court Grand Slam, extending his record for the most final appearances in Paris.

Murray absorbed everything Wawrinka threw at him for most of the four hour and 34 minute match but after winning a tense fourth set Wawrinka steamed ahead in the decider as Murray's armour was finally pierced.

The 32-year-old, now the oldest French Open men's finalist since Niki Pilic in 1973, might have won all of the first three sets, but somehow found himself behind.

The Spaniard got off to the ideal start in the third set, breaking Thiem in the first game by once again making him play the extra shot. "You know, I played pretty well these last few matches".

- "With an atmosphere like the one today, you can not help but give your all".

Particularly impressive was Murray's ability not just to return Wawrinka's smashes, but to hit winning shots off them.

"I do feel like having an event like this can give me a boost, and hopefully have a strong grass court season and try to understand what worked well this event and what worked well in the sort of 10 days in the buildup and the practices", Murray said. "I tried to keep fighting, but he played well".

Murray could not hold his following service game either, and a sublime inside-out forehand gave Wawrinka the second set.

Wawrinka is certainly capable of putting together a brilliant performance to slay the dragon, but I'm not betting against Nadal in this tournament in his current form.

The decider flashed by in just half an hour as Wawrinka levelled his grand slam win-loss record against Murray to 3-3 with yet another backhand victor.

Despite holding a 15-30 lead three straight times on the Wawrinka serve, he failed to break through.

The Swiss then netted a forehand as Murray bagged the opening set.

Wawrinka restored parity when he prevailed 7-3 in the fourth-set tie-break, forcing a deciding set.

Wawrinka took it to level the semifinal after four hours, another laser forehand speeding past Murray.

Suddenly, he got back on track, taking the third set to nose in front.

The two contrasting styles were nicely summed up in the opening exchanges, with Wawrinka hitting six winners and six unforced errors off the opening three games and Murray not making any mistakes for just one victor in the same period - as the Swiss' risk-and-reward approach battled with Murray's more conservative and defensive outlook.

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