After a marathon French Open semifinal Novak Djokovic looks on odds to become the eighth man to claim a career grand slam. Tommy Paul has won the open's first all-American boys' final, beating second-seeded Taylor Fritz.
In a semifinal completed Saturday after Friday's high temperatures, Djokovic defeated Brit Andy Murray 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1. That puts the men's No. 1 on short rest as he heads into Sunday's final against Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka, who has previously, reverently described the Serb as a "machine."
"It wasn't a physically easy match, that's for sure, but I think I will be fine for the finals," Djokovic told a news conference on Saturday after beating Murray. "Whatever rest I have in me, whatever I have left in me, I will put out on the court tomorrow, and hopefully it can be enough."
No. 9 Wawrinka has beaten Djokovic thrice in 20 tries, including in the 2014 Australian Open quarterfinals, putting him on the way to his only major title so far and snapping an eight-year losing streak against the Serb, who has now won eight grand slams. The French Open remains the only major to elude Djokovic, who needed treatment on his leg after the match against Murray was delayed on Friday.
The Serb has twice met his end in the finals at Roland Garros: in the 2012 and 2014 finals, both times against nine-time tournament champion Rafael Nadal. This year, however, Djokovic met the Spaniard in the quarterfinals and saw Nadal off early - handing him just his second ever loss at Roland Garros since he turned pro in 2001.
'Bad on clay'?
In other results, Tommy Paul, who learned his trade on the slow surface of clay, became the sixth American to win the boys' junior title in Paris, beating second-seeded Taylor Fritz 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2. Those other five include John "You Cannot Be Serious" McEnroe, who won the junior championship in 1977, one year before turning pro and never won the title during his lengthy professional career.
"Everyone says that US tennis is bad on clay," Paul said Saturday after winning the French Open - the first junior tournament he entered this year. "I would have to disagree."
In the girls' tournament, American-born Spaniard Paula Badosa Gibert clinched the title with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Anna Kalinskaya of Russia. It was one of two major wins for Spain on Saturday: Alvaro Lopez San Martin and Jaume Antoni Munar beat a pair of underrated Americans, Paul and partner William Blumberg (6-4, 6-2) in the boys' doubles final. In the girls' tournament, the Czechs - and Australian Open champions - Miriam Kolodziejova and Marketa Vondrousova hosted the trophy on Saturday after beating the Americans Caroline Dolehide and Katerina Stewart 6-0, 6-3.
mkg/sgb (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)