Murray faces Wawrinka in French Open semifinals

Murray, runner-up last year to Novak Djokovic, recovered an early break of serve in the fourth set and reeled off the last six games to set up a repeat of last year's semi-final against Stan Wawrinka.

Nadal dropped 22 games in reaching the semi-finals - the lowest total in the professional era - but is unlikely to beat Bjorn Borg's record of dropping a mere 27 on his way to the 1978 final at Roland Garros.

Murray said: "When we played previous year, it was a similar situation coming in".

Two more victories, however, starting with his semi-final against 2015 victor Stan Wawrinka, would make him the first Briton to lift the men's trophy since Fred Perry 82 years ago. "But I got through that and it made a huge, huge difference to me". Murray's only victory over him on terre battue came here in last year's semi-finals, after which the Scot lost to Novak Djokovic in the final.

Could more time on the court actually be in Murray's favour? Wawrinka used his sublime one-handed backhand and hammer of a forehand to send Murray scrambling and sliding all over Court Philippe Chatrier.

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Over and over again, Murray would lean, or even lunge, and somehow manage to put his racket strings on seemingly unreachable shots. You get winning through consistent work.

But make no mistake: Wawrinka does not discourage easily. He's very powerful on both sides.

By the anticlimactic close of what Murray termed "a very high-intensity match", he was complaining aloud about having "no legs".

"Thiem got caught too deep in Madrid and was unable to hurt Nadal from back there so I think he really did find a way to play the Spaniard, but to execute it in a best of five encounter is still a remarkably hard thing that he's going to have to achieve".

Murray won the first set 7-6 (6) and Wawrinka won the second 6-3. He capped it, appropriately, with a backhand down the line, his 87th victor of the day, 51 more than Murray. "He's not only an excellent tennis player". "But in any case, I'll give my all, do everything I can".

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"Actually of the guys left, Nadal might be a little less scared of Murray, who plays a more controlled game".

Wawrinka won the tiebreaker with a forehand down the line, his 72nd victor of the match. At that moment, each man had won 43 points, their contrasting styles essentially erasing each other. Then Murray's terrific defensive lob stretched a point until Wawrinka's forced forehand error.

Now 32, and the oldest semi-finalist here since Jimmy Connors in 1985, Wawrinka is confident that will not be repeated.

Suddenly, he got back on track, breaking a couple of times to move ahead in the third, which he won to nose in front.

The third-seeded Swiss player fell and rolled into the net as he set up match point but he dusted himself down to win the match with an ace.

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Wawrinka pointed to his right temple, as he often does to celebrate success on key points, and was on his way to the final.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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