Live 2015 French Open Semi-Final: Djokovic vs. Murray


13:30 – That all seemed to resolve itself very quickly. We were on court for about an hour, with Djokovic faltering at the end of the fourth set, but storming through the fifth for a place in the final. He did well to recover his composure at the beginning of the fifth, and was able to start putting a bit more on the ball, finding the lines instead of hitting long. That’s his eighth victory in a row over Murray. He will be back in 24 hours to face Stan Wawrinka for the French Open title, looking to complete a Career Grand Slam.

Djokovic holds a 17-3 head-to-head lead over Wawrinka. Their most notable Grand Slam contests have been at the Australian Open: Wawrinka prevailing 9-7 in the fifth set of their quarter-final match in 2014, with Wawrinka going on to win the tournament and his first – and so far only – Grand Slam; Djokovic avenging that defeat earlier this year, winning 6-0 in the fifth set of their semi-final match, on the way to his fifth Australian Open.

13:11 – Murray can do nothing to stop the tide, and Djokovic takes the game and the match upon an ace. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1 Murray

13:08 – Djokovic hits a drop shot marginally wide and is forced into an error on the forehand, but comes back into it at 30-30. Then an error from Murray and Djokovic has another break point. A cross-court forehand winner and he is one game from the final. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 5-1 Murray

13:02 – Pushed wide on the forehand at 30-0, Djokovic hits an exceptional winner down the line, and goes on to hold to love. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 4-1 Murray*

12:58 – Murray wrong-foots Djokovic, and despite a strong return for 40-15, keeps his serve. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 2-0 Murray

12:54 With a couple of successful smashes, and forcing Murray into an error on the forehand, Djokovic holds.  *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 3-0 Murray*

12:50 – The match shifts again, as a couple of errors from Murray give Djokovic 0-40 and three break points. He presses Djokovic into a wayward forehand to save the first, but nets the next and Djokovic has the break. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 2-0 Murray

12:43 – Djokovic should be comfortable at 40-15, but he double faults then hits a backhand long. Murray can’t take advantage and Djokovic holds out in the first game of the fifth and final set. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 1-0 Murray*

12:35 – Djokovic wins the first point with a forehand, but he’s looking pretty tentative and errs on the next. Murray keeps the pressure on, and at 40-30 Djokovic makes another unforced error on the backhand. He is struggling to make the most of his opportunities: hesitant to come in to the net, loose when he looks to put extra pace on the ball. Murray has the fourth set. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7 Murray

12:30 – Djokovic takes the opening point of the game with a forehand volley, but he loses the next three giving Murray two chances to break. Djokovic makes a point back with a smash, but then overhits a forehand and Murray has the break at such a crucial moment in this fourth set. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-6 Murray*

12:25 – After fifteen points in a row, Djokovic wins the first against serve today, but an ace from Murray at 40-15 at it’s still all square. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-5 Murray

12:21 – And yet another hold to love for Djokovic. Murray will serve to stay in the match. It’s always an interesting feel when a big match restarts at such an advanced stage, with the players asked to come up to speed and hold their nerve from the off. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-4 Murray*

12:18 – Murray follows suit with another hold to love. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 4-4 Murray

12:13 – Djokovic gets us underway with a service hold to love. He takes the game with a forehand winner. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 4-3 Murray*

– Welcome back as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray look to complete their 2015 French Open semi-final match, postponed yesterday owing to imminent rain and fading light. While we don’t know what the men ate in the evening or this morning for breakfast, how they interacted socially with their loved ones, what night terrors invaded their hopeful dreams, they at least look much the same today and are ready to commence. A place in the final against Stan Wawrinka is at stake.

19:55 – Call back and do the same thing tomorrow? Bye for now.

19:47 – Play will resume from midday tomorrow, on Philippe Chatrier ahead of the women’s final. That final will see Serena Williams face off against Lucie Safarova, not before 14:00 BST.

19:43 – So an impressive comeback from Murray, given that he looked out of things early in the third set. Djokovic may be ruing those break points he spurned at 3-2 in the third; and he has equally failed to make the most of a string of break points across the fourth set. In fact, while Murray has taken both of his break points over the course of the match, Djokovic’s record when it comes to break point conversions is an abject 4/16.

19:34 – And that for the time being is that. Under instruction – with French Open officials clearly expecting a violent downpour any second – the players leave the court, and the crowd follow suit, people streaming out of the Philippe Chatrier.

19:32 – Murray loses the first point and shouts at himself; then finds himself wrong footed on the second to fall behind 0-30. He pulls one back, but screams in frustration as he faces two break points. The scream works: he hits an ace. Then Djokovic nets to waste his second opportunity to break. The pair trade points, and Murray prevails. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 3-3 Murray

19:22 – Murray works his way back into the game with some heavy hitting, to deuce from 40-15. He pulls Djokovic back one more time, but Djokovic ultimately wins through. Heavy rain is expected within the next twenty minutes; and besides, it is getting dark. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 3-2 Murray*

19:16 – An error from Murray and a forehand winner give Djokovic the lead at 15-30. Then he shows some good defence, but Murray makes a mess of an easy smash and throws a ball into the ground in exasperation. Murray saves the first break point, but can’t save the second. We are back on serve. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 2-2 Murray

19:10 – Now, after a couple of backhands, it’s Murray’s turn to have three break points: a tantalising prospect, and Djokovic nets to gift him the break. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 1-2 Murray*

19:06 – There was a remarkable turnaround in Murray’s second serve win percentage over the course of the third set: he won 11 out of 12 points on his second serve, 92%, up from 33% in the second set and 50% in the first. His first serve win percentage was also up; and he cut down significantly on the unforced errors.

But here it all goes to the devil and Djokovic has three break points. Murray works hard amid tough rallies and saves all three, then hits an ace, and takes the game. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 1-1 Murray

18:59 – Djokovic’s medical timeout necessitated the removal of his pants, which ostensibly explains his extended absence. Back on the court – with the rain still keeping off – he holds. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 Murray*

18:52 – Both men have departed for a bathroom or some other form of break. Djokovic left with the trainer, and is apparently on a medical timeout.

18:49 – All of a sudden, Murray has sprung to life. He’s hitting the ball with a lot more vigour, and with consistency too. He holds to love, and we have a fourth set. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7 Murray

18:44 – A mediocre lob is ruthlessly punished by Murray, who runs back and lashes the ball past Djokovic on the turn; repeating the trick on the next point for 15-30. Then an unforced error from Djokovic gives Murray his first break point of the match. He beats Djokovic at the net to break at the first time of asking, and will serve for the set. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-6 Murray*

18.40 – But Murray makes him wait, closing his service game out with a couple of aces. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-5 Murray

18:36 – A straightforward service hold puts Djokovic one game away from the French Open final. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-4 Murray*

18:33 – The crowd are trying to encourage Murray: they want to see more tennis, and in truth so far this hasn’t been a great match. Typically for these two whenever they meet, there’s been a lot of fairly safe, fairly firm rallying from the back of the court, but few moments of excitement, and today – perhaps owing to the wind – more unforced errors than winners.

Djokovic takes the game to deuce, but loses the next two points as Murray holds. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 4-4 Murray

18:26 – Despite the strength of his position, Djokovic seems to be perturbed by the wind. There’s a sense early in this seventh game of the third set that Murray – for the first time in the match – might be getting on top. But no: a handful of awful errors and Djokovic is still ahead. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 4-3 Murray*

18:19 – Strong returning from Djokovic and Murray wilts under the pressure, giving Djokovic two break points. He can’t get on top of the first, then tries to take Murray’s serve especially early and loses the second. Murray digs in effectively, and a wild forehand from Djokovic gives him the game. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 3-3 Murray

18:13 – Djokovic is able to generate such sudden power from the back of the court. He catches the line with a serve, then executes another perfect smash to hold. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 3-2 Murray*

18:09 – A comfortable service hold for Murray.

Murray has hit more aces than Djokovic (5-6) and has a better first serve percentage (66%-70%), but he is only winning 43% of the points on his second serve. Djokovic has managed 29 winners to Murray’s 19; while Murray has made six more unforced errors (19-25). *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 2-2 Murray

18:04 – The umpire warns Djokovic regarding the time he is taking between serves; but it only seems to spur Djokovic on. Two brave smashes in the wind at 15-15, and he rounds the game off with an ace. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 2-1 Murray*

18:02 – Murray holds to love for the first time in the match. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 1-1 Murray

17:59 – A lacklustre opening to the third set from both men, with Djokovic threatening to let Murray back into it, throwing away a couple of points. But a deep backhand at 40-30 gives him the game. Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 1-0 Murray*

17:53 – Close to meltdown for Murray. Two unforced errors put him in a difficult spot; and after briefly recovering with an ace, Djokovic finds himself with two set points at 15-40. Murray thumps an easy smash well long and he is two sets down. *Djokovic 6-3, 6-3 Murray

17:50 – While the first set was close-fought and decided by a costly blip at 4-3, Murray has faded significantly in the middle of this second set. He is chuntering away and dragging his arms, as a couple of aces give Djokovic an easy hold. Djokovic 6-3, 5-3 Murray*

17:45 – Djokovic is testing Murray’s backhand, but it is a loose swing with the forehand that brings Djokovic back into the game at deuce. Then Murray scrubs a backhand into the bottom of the net. Djokovic goes marginally long; but receives another opportunity to break, only for Murray to just make an angled backhand drive volley, which hits the line. Murray holds on to stay in the set. *Djokovic 6-3, 4-3 Murray

17:38 – At 40-0, Djokovic falters, missing a straightforward smash. He loses the next point too, but Murray can’t capitalise. Djokovic 6-3, 4-2 Murray*

17:33 – At 15-30 down, Murray is hitting his forehand deep and rallies himself into an advantageous position, but drives the volley into the net. Two break points for Djokovic. He misses the first attempting a backhand down the line; but Murray nets to give him the second. There were four unforced errors in that game from Murray. *Djokovic 6-3, 3-2 Murray

17:28 – An echo: now Djokovic double faults to take us to 30-30, but he volleys well and on we go. Djokovic 6-3, 2-2 Murray*

17:23 – The first double fault of the game gives us 30-30. But then Murray follows up with an ace, and Djokovic hits a return long. *Djokovic 6-3, 1-2 Murray

17:20 – Murray loses the game upon a backhand error – although despite the umpire agreeing with the linesperson’s call, Hawk Eye suggests his shot just caught the line. Whatever, Djokovic holds. Djokovic 6-3, 1-1 Murray*

17:16 – Murray recovers in the first game of the second set, winning the game with a well-placed backhand volley. *Djokovic 6-3, 0-1 Murray

17:11 – With his forehand firing from the first point of the game, Djokovic comfortably keeps his serve and takes the set. That was very even until an awful eighth game from Murray. Djokovic 6-3 Murray*

17:07 – At 0-30, Murray plays a bizarre shot coming in to the net, failing to get over the ball and hitting wide with the court at his mercy. He loses the next point too and Djokovic breaks. Djokovic will serve for the first set *Djokovic 5-3 Murray*

17:03 – A backhand volley and two backhand winners see Djokovic come from 15-30 to win the game. Djokovic 4-3 Murray*

16:58 – Djokovic earns the first break point of the match, but at 30-40 he goes long. Another error, and another ace for Murray, and we are still on serve. *Djokovic 3-3 Murray

16:51 – At 30-30, Murray attempts a drop shot, but Djokovic reaches the ball and wins the point on the angle. He holds. Djokovic 3-2 Murray*

16:47 – Murray takes the game with an ace, as the wind picks up on Philippe Chatrier. After the incident earlier in the week during the match between Tsonga and Kei Nishikori, where a section of the stadium’s scoreboard blew loose and injured a spectator, French Open officials have apparently suggested that the stadium will be evacuated today if the wind really gets going. *Djokovic 2-2 Murray

16:42 – A comfortable hold to love for Djokovic. Djokovic 2-1 Murray*

16:39 – Djokovic keeps catching up to Murray, but after wrong-footing Djokovic at deuce, Murray holds. *Djokovic 1-1 Murray

16:32 – Djokovic has to come from 0-30 down in the opening game, which proves a lengthy one thanks to a couple of deuces. He manages to hold his serve courtesy of a backhand winner. Djokovic 1-0 Murray*

– The temperature on court at the moment is 32C. As Murray has noted, this marks a significant increase on the beginning of the tournament, when the players were playing in 15C. Thunderstorms have been predicted for the afternoon ahead.

Djokovic and Murray have finished their warmup, and are ready to begin, with Djokovic on serve. (* Indicates next to serve).

– And so here we are again: to read eagerly, to refresh fervently, to feed figuratively on a live tennis report, as Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray meet in the semi-finals of the 2015 French Open. Earlier on Philippe Chatrier, France’s hope Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fell to Stan Wawrinka in four sets, with Wawrinka prevailing 6-3, 6-7 (1-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-4. He will meet the winner of this match on Sunday, aiming to add the French Open to the Australian Open title he achieved in 2014.

Djokovic vs. Murray pits the tournament’s first seed against its third. Djokovic is now on a 27-match winning streak, after triumphing for the first time at the French Open over Rafael Nadal in Wednesday’s quarter-final – the date, alas, of an unhappy twenty-ninth birthday for Nadal. To restate some of the live report for that match, Djokovic hasn’t lost on clay all year, and he is unbeaten in a Grand Slam or Masters event since Shanghai last October. Beating Nadal 7-5, 6-3, 6-1, Djokovic is still yet to lose a set at this tournament; and even more remarkably, he is still to compete in a tie-break. Nadal’s name proved but another conquest, added to those of Jarkko Nieminen, Gilles Muller, Thanasi Kokkinakis, and Richard Gasquet.

Meanwhile Andy Murray takes his place in the semi-final after victories over Facundo Arguello, Joao Sousa, Nick Kyrgios, Jeremy Chardy, and David Ferrer. Along the way Murray has dropped single sets to Sousa, Chardy, and Ferrer; but his win over Ferrer was his first on clay.

Looking at the head-to-head, Djokovic leads Murray 18-8 on all surfaces. Only twice have they met on clay, with Djokovic emerging the victor in Monte Carlo in 2008 and Rome in 2011. More worryingly for Murray, the last seven matches between the pair have all ended in Djokovic’s favour. This includes at the last two Grand Slams, Murray losing to Djokovic in the quarter-finals of the 2014 US Open, before falling again in the Australian Open final in February. On the hard courts of Indian Wells and Miami Murray has also suffered defeat at the hands of Djokovic this year. He has to go back to the Wimbledon final of 2013 for his last victory against Djokovic. On the other hand, Murray has had a successful season so far on clay: his best yet, as he won his first clay court titles, at the BMW Open and Madrid Open both last month.