Andy Murray knocked out of French Open by Stan Wawrinka

David Josek

David Josek

Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka celebrates winning his semifinal against Britain's Andy Murray. Not bad for an old guy, huh? Few who saw him power through a Novak Djokovic at the peak of his powers in 2015 could doubt what Wawrinka brings his best to the biggest stages. "If I did it, probably somebody else gonna do it, because I don't consider myself very special", he said.

"When you play in a semi you have to accept it".

"Physically I didn't feel my best at the end", Murray admitted.

Wawrinka will be the third oldest victor of the men's title if he succeeds against all the odds tomorrow.

Rafael Nadal qualified for his 10th French Open final, having achieved the feat without dropping a set in six matches.

The youngest player left in the draw, 19-year-old Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, faces 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki, who has reached the Paris quarter-finals for the first time since 2010. But, of course, you don't want to lose a Grand Slam final, do you?

The same couldn't be said of 2016 finalist Murray, who also dealt with illness on the eve of the tournament and had struggled overall to back up his remarkable play the last seven months of 2016. "Only thing I care (about) is I have been playing very well during the whole event".

Djokovic is the defending champion but has had a disappointing 2017 season and has been tested in his last two matchups at Roland Garros.

Nadal, often written off as a spent force since winning the last of his 14 grand slam titles here three years ago, is secretly salivating at the prospect of ruling Roland Garros again after watching Wawrinka and then Novak Djokovic usurp him. "I know that mentally, when I'm there, it's hard to beat me".

The winners just kept flowing, and soon the world No 1 was two breaks down.

Wawrinka used his one-handed backhand and hammering forehand to send Murray scrambling and sliding all over the red clay.

Murray would lean, or even lunge, and somehow put his racket strings on seemingly unreachable shots. You know, that was a very high intensity match.

Murray slipped 0-5 and triple break down in the final set, a harsh indicator of the sudden shift in the balance of power. Wawrinka hounded Murray with huge strikes to break one last time for the match, 6-1-and how appropriate that it should be with a signature backhand victor down the line. After all, the duo tallied the most victories on clay this season and Thiem is one of the rare players to have toppled the Spaniard twice on dirt.

He may, though, look back on the third set as a real opportunity lost, relinquishing a 3-0 lead as the momentum switched between the players with Murray effectively stealing the third set for a 2-1 lead. At that moment, each man had won 43 points, their contrasting styles essentially erasing each other.

The match was still evenly poised - it was only 1-1 - yet it seemed as if Nishikori knew he'd missed his chance. This time, Wawrinka managed to wear down the seemingly tireless Murray, himself a three-time major champion.

He broke Wawrinka when the third seed served for the first set, sending one of his remarkable lobs onto the baseline on break point, which his frustrated opponent smashed long.

"Maybe the lack of matches hurt me a little bit in the end today".

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

Something will have to give during what should be a battle of a final.

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