PARIS: Stan Wawrinka reached his first French Open final on Friday as a severe weather warning forced the rollercoaster semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray into a Saturday shootout.
World number one Djokovic was leading 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 3-3 when play was halted at 1833GMT with the match officially called off 10 minutes later.
When play was stopped, Djokovic and Murray, meeting for the 27th time, had been on Court Philippe Chatrier for 3 hours and eight minutes.
Top seeded Djokovic, who knocked out nine-time champion Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, needs a French Open title to make him only the eighth man to win all four majors.
It would also put him halfway to a rare calendar Grand Slam, a feat achieved by just two men, most recently by Australian great Rod Laver back in 1969.
Murray is hoping to become Britain’s first men’s finalist since Bunny Austin in 1937.
Djokovic swept through the first two sets as he sought an eighth successive win over Murray and his 28th in a row this season.
But Murray clawed his way back, taking the third set and forcing the Serb off court for a medical timeout.
In fading light, Murray broke for 2-1 before Djokovic hit back immediately at 2-2.
Moments later, the match was called off and will resume before the women’s final between Serena Williams and Lucie Safarova.
Earlier, Wawrinka shattered French hopes of a first men’s singles champion in 32 years when he outlasted Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-7 (1/7), 7-6 (7/3) 6-4.
The 2014 Australian Open winner reached the final in Paris for the first time having lost just two sets along the way.
For Tsonga, the dream of emulating Yannick Noah, the last Frenchman to win at Roland Garros in 1983, was over for another year. The last Frenchman to reach the final was Henri Leconte in 1988.
“It was a huge battle, very difficult physically, a lot of intensity on both sides and it could have gone either way,” Wawrinka said.
“He had chances to break me in the third set, but he had a great tournament and deserves just as much as me to be in the final.”
The semi-finalists, both aged 30, had met twice before at Roland Garros, each winning in five sets, but their most recent encounter was a superb four sets Davis Cup final win for Wawrinka in November.
That sent Tsonga’s form into a tailspin made all the worse by a bad wrist injury that sidelined him until March.
But Roland Garros saw him back to near his best, defeating fourth seed Tomas Berdych and fifth seed Kei Nishikori to reach the semis for the second time. – AFP