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French Open PHOTOS: Murray, Wawrinka face-off in semis; Djokovic, Serena advance to quarters

Last updated on: June 02, 2016 00:31 IST

Images from Wednesday's matches at Roland Garros

Britain's Andy Murray reacts during his French Open quarter-final match against Frenchman Richard Gasquet at Roland Garros in Paris on Wednesday

IMAGE: Britain's Andy Murray reacts during his French Open quarter-final match against Frenchman Richard Gasquet at Roland Garros in Paris on Wednesday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Britain’s Andy Murray set up a mouthwatering semi-final with defending champion Stan Wawrinka at the French Open in Roland Garros on Wednesday.

Second seed Murray reached his fourth semi-final on the red dirt by fighting back to defeat home favourite Richard Gasquet 5-7, 7-6 (7/3), 6-0, 6-2.

Gasquet, bidding to end France's 33-year-wait for a French champion, reeled off five straight games to recover from 5-2 down and claim the opening set in front of a raucous Philippe Chatrier Court crowd.

But former US Open and Wimbledon champion Murray won a second set tie-break before claiming 12 of the next 14 games.

Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka hits a backhand during his quarter-final match against Spain's Alberto Ramos Vinolas

IMAGE: Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka hits a backhand during his quarter-final match against Spain's Alberto Ramos Vinolas. Photograph: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

Thirty-one-year-old, Wawrinka became the oldest man since 1985 to reach the semi-finals with a 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (9/7) win over Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Wawrinka is the oldest semi-finalist in Paris since 32-year-old Jimmy Connors in 1985.

The third-seeded Wawrinka was in complete control against World No 55 Ramos-Vinolas, playing in his first quarter-finals at the majors, firing an impressive 49 winners.

"Overall, I played a good match with an incredible level in the first two sets," said Wawrinka.

"I had to dig deep to finish the match. To win in three sets, it's ideal."

Wawrinka, who beat Djokovic in last year's final, will be playing in only his second Roland Garros semi-final.

Murray leads his head-to-head 8-7 with Wawrinka but the Swiss star has won their last three meetings as well as their only two matches on clay.

Australia's Sam Stosur reacts

IMAGE: Australia's Sam Stosur reacts. Photograph: Roland Garros/Twitter

Later, in the women’s event, Australian Samantha Stosur beat Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 7-6 to move in the French Open last four for the fourth time – first time since 2012.

Spanish fourth seed Muguruza shrugged off an early scare by finally ending the run of 108th-ranked American Shelby Rogers 7-5, 6-3 on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old from South Carolina had been a point away from taking the first set but surrendered two breaks in a row to lose it 5-7.
Then, after looking down and out in the second, when Muguruza took a 3-0 lead having broken her opponent's opening serve, Rogers somehow summoned new strength -- and accuracy -- breaking back with a fine return before levelling at 3-3.

But that is as good as it got for Rogers, who had knocked out twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the third round. 

Spain's Garbine Muguruza plays a return against USA's Shelby Rogers

IMAGE: Spain's Garbine Muguruza plays a return against USA's Shelby Rogers. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

Muguruza reeled off the final three games in a matter of minutes to become the first woman to reach this year's last four at Roland Garros.  

She will meet 2010 finalist Sam Stosur for a place in Saturday's final.

"I definitely want to keep going," Muguruza said in an on-court interview after her victory. 

"I wanted so much to win today and hopefully, I can make it to the last day." 

The Venezuelan-born Spaniard said her coach, Frenchman Sam Sumyk, was feeling good on home territory.

"He is teaching me a little French," she said.

"But seriously, it's a disaster."

A jestful Novak Djokovic answers questions by former French tennis player Arnaud Clement after his win over Roberto Bautista Agut on Wednesday

IMAGE: A jestful Novak Djokovic answers questions from former French tennis player Arnaud Clement after his victory over Roberto Bautista Agut on Wednesday. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

Novak Djokovic recovered from a mediocre start to reach the quarter-finals on Wednesday with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 rain-delayed victory over plucky Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.

The world No 1, chasing the only Grand Slam title to elude him, will take on Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych, who beat former runner-up David Ferrer of Spain 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.

After conceding the opening set in damp conditions on Tuesday, Serbian Djokovic played tighter and had won the second set and was 4-1 ahead in the third when rain cut short his victory charge on day 10 of the championships.

Back on Court Philippe Chatrier on Wednesday for a match that should have been played on Monday, Djokovic closed it out but encountered stiff resistance from the 14th seed, who forced him into lung-busting rallies.

"He's a player with great qualities on claycourts. I have the feeling I played three matches against him," said Djokovic, wearing courtside interviewer Fabrice Santoro's yellow rain hat.

"I had to come back focused today."

Novak Djokovic and Roberto Bautista Agut greet each other at the end after their match 

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic and Roberto Bautista Agut greet each other at the end after their match. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

The match started a day late after Roland Garros suffered its first washout in 16 years. A second delay was threatened on Tuesday as steady drizzle fell on Paris and Djokovic found it hard to adjust.

After an early exchange of breaks, Bautista Agut stole the Serb's serve in the sixth game with an overhead shot, bagging the opening set as he finished off a long rally with a forehand winner.

The supervisor sent the players to the dressing room for almost three hours and Djokovic, always the joker, came back with an umbrella.

He finally converted a break point at his eighth attempt to lead 5-3, levelling the match with a backhand winner. The Serb stayed focused and opened up a 4-1 lead in the third set before the match was again interrupted by rain.

On Wednesday, Djokovic picked up where he had left off, winning two games to wrap up the third set.

His Spanish opponent hit long and hard and, after the Serb netted a routine overhead smash to gift him a break point, Djokovic sent a backhand long to fall 4-2 behind.

He broke back in the following game and again in the 11th when Bautista Agut netted a backhand at the end of another long rally, serving it out at lunch time.

Should he make it to the last four, Djokovic will have to play on three consecutive days as his quarter-final and semi-final matches are scheduled on Thursday and Friday.

Thiem sees off Granollers to reach last eight

Dominic Theim

IMAGE: Austria’s Dominic Thiem hits a forehand during his fourth round match against Marcel Granollers of France. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Austrian tyro Dominic Thiem edged closer to a semi-final showdown with Djokovic when he beat Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-4 to reach the last eight.

On a match that should have started on Monday but was delayed by rain, the 13th seed's power proved more efficient than Granollers's clay-court experience.

The players were locked at one set all when rain interrupted the contest on Tuesday and Thiem was much the better on Wednesday, oupacing the world number 56 who failed to convert six of seven break points.

Thiem will next face Belgian David Goffin, the 12th seed, who beat Latvia's Ernests Gulbis 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

USA's Serena Williams hits a backhand during her fourth round match against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina at Roland Garros on Wednesday

IMAGE: Serena Williams hits a backhand during her fourth round match against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Champion Serena Williams swatted aside the limp challenge of Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals.

The world number one rarely sparkled on a damp, dank centre court at Roland Garros, but always wielded enough firepower to see off the Ukrainian 18th seed in a match that was delayed by two days due to the fickle Parisian weather.

Empty green seats outnumbered raincoat-clad fans by around five to one on the Parisian showcourt, and the heavy, slow balls meant there was little artistry to entice greater numbers.

Although spluttering from time to time -- Williams fired the odd serve alarmingly long; netted the occasional simple groundstroke -- the top seed always did enough to neuter her scurrying opponent.

The American will play Carla Suarez Navarro or Yulia Putintzeva for a spot in the semis.

Bacsinszky battles past Venus to reach quarters

Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky celebrates her victory Venus Williams

IMAGE: Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky celebrates her victory Venus Williams. Photograph: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

Switzerland's number eight seed Timea Bacsinszky fought her way into her second French Open quarter-final, defeating American veteran Venus Williams 6-2, 6-4 in a contest full of see-saw tennis.

After dropping the first two games, the eighth-seeded Swiss won eight in a row, controlling the match for long periods from the centre of the court and varying the pace and depth of her play to keep her opponent guessing.

Ninth-seeded Williams, playing her 19th Roland Garros and at 35 the oldest player in the women's draw, had strapping on both knees and moved stiffly, especially in the first set, as she gambled on hitting groundstroke winners from often unpromising positions.

"I found it hard to get into the match (even though) I had three days to decide on my tactics," Bacsinszky said on court after the match, agreeing it was important to have won in straight sets as "there is no longer any respite" in terms of days off between each match.

Bacsinszky, who reached the semi-final last year before losing in three sets to Venus's sister Serena, will play Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in the quarter-final.

Netherlands' Kiki Bertens plays a volleys during her fourth round match against USA's Madison Keys

IMAGE: Netherlands' Kiki Bertens plays a volley during her fourth round match against the USA's Madison Keys. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final when she outpaced American 15th seed Madison Keys 7-6(4), 6-3.

World No 58 Bertens often had the extra shot against Keys, setting up a meeting with Swiss eighth seed Timea Bacsinszky for a place in the last four.

In a match that should have started on Monday but was delayed following two days of rain at Roland Garros, Bertens broke to lead 3-2 in the opening set.

Keys broke back to force a tiebreak but she could not prevent Bertens, who won the Nuremberg claycourt tournament last month, from claiming the set after the Dutchwoman produced some stunning angled winners.

Bertens stole her opponent's serve again in the fourth game of the second set and held throughout, ending the contest on the first match point with a backhand passing shot.

Bertens said that although she felt a little sore because of the heavy balls, she adapted well to the heavy conditions on another gloomy day.

"It's really different. I think I feel it already a little bit in my shoulder. The balls are much heavier than the other days," she told reporters.

"Also my shots were not like they would have been if the sun was out but I think still I did a pretty good job today."

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