Novak Djokovic leads Andy Murray 6-3 6-3 5-7 3-3
Andy Murray's hopes of reaching the French Open final remain in the balance, after play was suspended yesterday in his semi-final match against Novak Djokovic as an impending storm threatened Paris. The Scot will need to come out strongly when play resumes at midday on Saturday, if he is to extend the match into a deciding fifth set. Djokovic currently leads the match by two sets to one, after Murray bravely fought back to take the third set. The fourth set will resume with the scores level at 3-3, as Roland Garros prepares itself for either a quick 'kill' or an epic five-setter.
Quick start for Serbian
Djokovic seemed a man destined to make tennis history, as he raced into a two set lead over the world number three player. The French Open title is the only Grand Slam that has eluded him thus far and the Serbian is eager to add his name to the seven men to have achieved the career Grand Slam. It would cement his place among the 'greats' in the game, although many feel that he already deserves that particular accolade.
The world number one looked to be cruising towards yet another comfortable victory, cementing the control over Murray in recent meetings that has seen him win their last seven matches. Murray seemed unable to penetrate the Serbian's defences and erred when he tried to force the issue too strongly. The deciding point in the second set was indicative of that point, as he hit his smash well over the baseline. Two sets down and not even a break point to show for it for Murray.
Fightback from the Scot
Quite unexpectedly, Murray found the inner strength to work his way back into the match. Despite facing two break points on his serve during the third set, a break there probably signalling the end of his chances, he saved them. The form that had propelled him on his unrivalled winning streak on clay seemed to return.
At 5-5 he found a powerful forehand winner to finally force a break of his own. A game later he had served out to reduce his arrears to just the one set deficit. An unlikely scenario up until that point it had seemed. Whether absolutely necessary or otherwise, Djokovic called for a medical timeout, delaying the match by around seven minutes as he received treatment. With temperatures around 30C for much of the match it was perhaps to be expected.
The momentum was now clearly with the British player, as a breath-taking run of nine straight points in the fourth set allowed him to break Djokovic's serve in the third game. Sadly for his fans he proceeded to lose his serve and with it the advantage he had just earned, another poor smash proving his undoing.
With Murray by now competing strongly against his formidable adversary, going toe to toe in the fourth set at 3 games apiece, the decision was taken to suspend play at around 8:30pm local time.
Whether it proves to be a disastrous halt to the British player's momentum or not, only time will tell. His confidence will at least have been boosted by that third set success. The overnight break will however have allowed Djokovic to regain his focus one suspects and also to counter any hint that the heat was troubling him. He may well resume his imperious form from the earlier sets on the resumption. He is hard enough to beat at the best of times, but given a set start the task becomes all the greater.