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FRENCH OPEN QUARTER-FINALS REVIEW: Murray downs Nishikori as Thiem stuns Djokovic

 

Andy Murray has reached the semi-finals of the French Open as the world number one fought back to defeat Kei Nishikori 2-6 6-1 7-6 6-1. Murray managed to recover from a blistering opening set from Nishikori, as the Brit quickly claimed the second set and took the third in a one-sided tiebreak. The world number one was rampant in the fourth set and raised his level, cruising past his dispirited opponent to clinch the win.

Nishikori was dominant in a scintillating first set from the Japanese player, as his relentless aggression saw him break Murray twice en route to comfortably taking the lead in the contest. However, when the Brit received a time violation and Nishikori’s level dropped early on in the second set, Murray fired himself up and this proved to be pivotal as his solid play was enough to easily even the match at one set apiece.

In the third set, twice Murray was up a break and even served for the set at 6-5 but his opponent pegged him back, as the set would reach a tie-break. However, even though Nishikori at times displayed glimpses of the sparkling tennis of the first set, the Japanese player was too erratic in the tie-break and Murray remained consistent enough to grab a two sets to one lead. Despite the Brit immediately falling behind an early break in the fourth set, Murray regained control over his tiring opponent and was in ominous form late on, winning the last six games to secure a hard-fought victory.

For a place in the final, Murray will meet the former French Open champion Stan Wawrinka in what will be a rematch of last year’s semi-final, which the Brit won in four sets.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal is also through to the semi-finals as he was leading his compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta 6-2 2-0 when Carreno Busta was forced to pull out with an abdomen injury. However, Nadal’s next opponent will be Dominic Thiem, as the young Austrian produced a magnificent performance to sweep aside the defending champion Novak Djokovic, recording a 7-6 6-3 6-0 win over the world number two.

 

On the women’s side, Timea Bacsinszky ended French hopes by beating Kristina Mladenovic in straight sets, and Bacsinszky will meet Jelena Ostapenko in the semis, with the young Latvian recovering from dropping the opening set to stun Caroline Wozniacki 4-6 6-2 6-2. Also, in a remarkable comeback, Simona Halep was trailing Elina Svitolina 6-3 5-1 and even faced a match point, but the Romanian dug deep to eventually complete a 3-6 7-6 6-0 quarter-final victory. Halep will next face Karolina Pliskova for a spot in the final.

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