Djokovic eases into the final, meets Murray

PARIS:Novak Djokovic reached his fourth Roland Garros final with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 demolition of Dominic Thiem on Friday to move one match closer to a career Grand Slam.

Garbine Muguruza was in superb form against veteran Samantha Stosur save for a minor hiccup towards the end. (Right) Andy Murray held off a fighting Stan Wawrinka to close out his semifinal in four sets. —PHOTOS: CLIVE BRUNSKILL/GETTY IMAGES & REUTERS

The World No.1 will play Andy Murray in the final, after the second seeded Scot ended defending champion Stan Wawrinka’s reign as champion with a 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 victory.

Djokovic’s 20th Grand Slam final will also be his sixth successive appearance in the championship match at Majors, and he will look to add his first Roland Garros crown to his collection of 11 majors.

Victory on Sunday will also make him just the eighth man to complete the career Grand Slam.

Djokovic sprinted out to a 3-0 lead in the opener on the back of a break in the second game against the 13th-seeded Thiem. A double fault by the young Austrian opened the door for Djokovic to take the first set in the eighth game.

Unforced errors

Thiem, who possesses a picture-perfect one-handed backhand, was undone by 20 unforced errors to just five by the World No.1.

Djokovic was just as untouchable in the second set despite playing for a fourth successive day as the slightly faster conditions played into his hands.

Breaks for the Serb came in the fourth and sixth games and the set was wrapped up in just 25 minutes.

The form which had taken Thiem to a season-leading 25 match wins on clay this season suddenly appeared as he broke and held for a 3-0 lead in the third set.

But Djokovic roared back, sweeping the next five games for 5-3 before 22-year-old Thiem stopped the bleeding at 4-5.

The Austrian had one last chance to prolong his afternoon with a break point in the 10th game as Djokovic served for the match. But the World No.1 was not to be denied.

Serena on track

Top seed and defending champion Serena Williams kept alive her hopes of a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title, beating Kiki Bertens 7-6(7), 6-4 in the semifinals on Friday.

Garbine Muguruza progressed to the title round against Serena with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Samantha Stosur.

While Serena was at best patchy as she laboured to victory over her unseeded opponent, the fourth seeded Muguruza underlined her fine form against the Australian veteran in reaching a Grand Slam final for just the second time.

Muguruza becomes the first Spanish woman in 16 years to reach the Roland Garros final.

She was always in command against Stosur, a former US Open champion, from the start but had a little hiccup, giving away a break before closing it out comfortably in straight sets.

Paes & Hingis triumph

Leander Paes and Martina Hingis regrouped after dropping the first set to pip Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig in a tight mixed doubles final. Photo: AP.
Leander Paes completed his mixed doubles career Grand Slam, winning the Roland Garros title here on Friday with Martina Hingis. Paes and Hingis roared back after dropping the first set to beat the No.2 seeds Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig 4-6, 6-4, [10-8] in the title match. Paes has already achieved a career Grand Slam in men’s doubles.