Djokovic has cemented his place in Grand Slam lore, rallying past rival Murray for a historic Roland Garros title on Sunday. Previously a three-time finalist in Paris (2012, ’14-15), Djokovic captured the lone piece of major silverware missing from his growing trophy case, becoming the eighth man in history to complete the career Grand Slam. The Serbian is most impressively just the third to hold all four major crowns at the same time, joining Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 & ’69). “It’s a thrilling moment,” said Djokovic. “One of the most beautiful I have had in my career… “It’s incredibly flattering to know that Rod Laver is the last one that managed to do that. There are not many words that can describe it. It’s one of the ultimate challenges that you have as a tennis player. I’m very proud and very thrilled. It’s hard for me to reflect on what has happened before and what’s going to happen after. I’m just so overwhelmed with having this trophy next to me that I’m just trying to enjoy this moment.” He notched his 12th Grand Slam championship in total, drawing level with Roy Emerson for fourth place on the all-time title list. In addition, the Serbian is the first player since Jim Courier in 1992 to hold the first two majors of the year, by winning the Australian Open and Roland Garros. “This is Novak’s day,” Murray said on court following the match. “Winning all four Grand Slams at once is a great achievement. This is something that is so rare in tennis. What he’s achieved the last 12 months is phenomenal. I’m proud to be part of it today.” Meeting for the seventh time in a Grand Slam final and 34th overall in their Head2Head rivalry, Djokovic overcame a sluggish start in the opening set. The first seven points of the match went against serve as breaks were exchanged to open proceedings. Murray struck a sublime lob over the outstretched arms of his Serbian opponent to secure the break and the Scot would dominate the court position battle, coaxing multiple errors from Djokovic. Entering Sunday, Murray had owned a 9-4 record against Djokovic when claiming the first set, but the World No. 1 would quickly discover his rhythm from the baseline as momentum swung in his favour. He snatched an immediate break for 2:0 in the 2nd set, working all corners of the court with drop shots and backhand winners and extinguishing any nerves from the early stages. Djokovic grabbed another quick break to open the 3rd set and yet another to open the 4th. Murray dug in his heels with the Serbian serving for the match at 5:2, claiming one break back, but the top seed’s moment of glory would eventually come two games later after three hours and three minutes, securing the Coupe de Mousquetaires for the first time. He emerged victorious on his third match point. “I entered the court quite prepared,” Djokovic added. “I started well in first game and then I dropped four straight games. Nerves kicked in. I needed a little bit of time to really find the right rhythm and start to play the way I intended, which happened in the beginning of the second and practically until 5:2 in the fourth set. It was flawless tennis. I really felt like I played on a high quality and putting a lot of pressure on Andy’s serves and just trying to hang in there.” Djokovic survived an unorthodox path to the title, having played five matches in six days after persistent rain and gloomy weather disrupted the schedule on multiple occasions. The sun finally made an appearance in time for the trophy ceremony on Sunday, as Djokovic grabbed the ballkids to join him for his signature ‘sending my love salute’, blowing kisses to the crowd. Akin to Gustavo Kuerten‘s tribute, he then drew a heart in the clay and collapsed inside it. The first player in history to pass the $100 million mark in career earnings, he moved to within one title of Roger Federer on the list of ‘Big Title’ leaders. Federer currently owns a combined 47 crowns at Grand Slams, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Djokovic has 46, with Nadal in third place with 42. In notching his 65th tour-level crown, Djokovic also claimed sole possession of sixth place on the Open Era tour-level titles list, passing Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras. He is only four titles behind Rafael Nadal for fifth. Stats of the match.
World No. 2 Murray has made more British tennis history in Paris. On another chilly, overcast day in the French capital, the Scot upset reigning champion to become the first British man to reach the Roland Garros final since Bunny Austin in 1937. “I’m extremely proud. I never expected to reach the final here,” said Murray in his on-court interview with Marion Bartoli. “I’d always struggled on the clay and then in the past two years I’ve had some of my best results. I hope I can put on a good match for the crowd on Sunday. I knew today if I wanted to win I was going to have to play one of my best clay-court matches. Stan’s record here the past two years has been unbelievable. He was playing better every match here. I played one of my best matches today. I’m looking forward to the final now.” It is another milestone moment for the Scot in what has been a record-breaking career for British tennis. He ended his country’s 77-year wait for a male Wimbledon champion in 2013, when he defeated Djokovic in the final. One year earlier he became the first British male Grand Slam champion since Fred Perry in 1936 when he hoisted the US Open trophy (d. Djokovic). To get to the Roland Garros final, the Scot overturned a three-match losing streak against Wawrinka and ended a six-match losing run against Top 4 opposition at Grand Slam championships. Murray had been two points from defeat in the first round, as he rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat Radek Stepanek. He also came from behind to beat Mathias Bourgue in the second round. Murray is now through to his 10th Grand Slam final (2-7 record), equalling Boris Becker in 12th place on the list for the most Grand Slam finals reached in the Open Era. The Scot then broke for a 2:1 lead, winning a cat and mouse exchange with Wawrinka at the net. Murray continued to press and Wawrinka was forced to fight off two break points in the 7th game to stay in contention in the 1st set. But the Dunblane native went on to seal the opener in the 10th game, saving three break points to clinch it in 53 minutes. The 2nd set was all Murray. The Scot broke to love in the 3rd game and a rifled backhand passing shot in the 5th game earned the Scot a 4:1 double break lead. As Wawrinka’s frustration mounted, Murray went on to seal the two-set lead after 1 hour and 22 minutes. Wawrinka worked hard to stay positive in the 3rd set and his boisterous attitude paid dividends at the crunch end of the set. The Lausanne native saved a break point in the 3rd game and continued to fire himself up. In the 10th game, he got his reward. The Swiss converted his first set point, with Murray serving as the Scot netted a backhand, prompting a roar from Wawrinka and a jog back to his chair. Murray responded with a swift and lethal blow. The Dunblane native broke in the 1st game of the 4th set and there was to be no response from the defending champion. Wawrinka fended off two break points to avoid going down a double break in the 3rd game, but succumbed as Murray went on the charge again in the 7th game. Murray secured a 5:2 lead as Wawrinka over hit a forehand long and went on to serve out victory to love.
“Best performance of the tournament” was how Djokovic described his 27th consecutive Grand Slam win. He has lost in the final three times, including twice to Rafael Nadal and last year to Stan Wawrinka, when the Serbian was also going for a career Grand Slam. “Now I put myself in a position I wanted to be in ever since last year’s final,” Djokovic said. “[Roland Garros is] always high on the priority list when I start a season… and to be able to reach the finals is really special. I give myself another opportunity to win the trophy.” The Serbian was focused on his semi-final match on Friday, though. He controlled nearly the entire contest, giving Thiem few easy points and forcing the Austrian to try to raise his level of play. Djokovic used deep service returns to push Thiem behind the baseline from the start of points. He rarely let Thiem gain better court position as the point progressed. As a result, Thiem was forced to dart from side to side to stay in points and had to try to hit winners from less-than-ideal spots. The 22 year old, who was playing in his first Grand Slam semi-final, sprayed 34 unforced errors to Djokovic’s 15. Thiem’s aggressive play did work at times, though, as he landed 27 winners to Djokovic’s 15. After Djokovic cruised through the first two sets, erasing the only break point he faced, Thiem rallied to start the 3rd and looked like he might push the match to a fourth set. He held and then broke Djokovic for the first time. Thiem then delivered his best service game, blasting forehands and forcing Djokovic to play defence, to lead 3:0. But Djokovic got on the board with a hold and won a 30-shot rally to earn the first point of Thiem’s service game. The Serbian then played nearly error-free tennis. He broke at 15, held and broke Thiem once more to win four consecutive games. Stats of the match
Thiem has achieved a career milestone in advancing to his first Grand Slam semi-final, fighting off a set point in the second set to defeat Goffin. He is only the third Austrian (joining Thomas Muster and Jurgen Melzer) to reach the final four at a major. Thiem is also guaranteed to make his debut inside the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings when next week’s standings are released and will finish no lower than No. 7. “In the entire second set, I didn’t really think that I was going to win this match. He was the better player the first two sets or at least until the tie-break,” said Thiem. “I didn’t know what to do because he was returning well. He didn’t make any mistakes. I think the tie-break was the highest levels I’ve ever played and then things started to turn around.” Goffin admitted he was left wondering what could have been had he converted on his set point in the tie-break. “It would have been two sets for me and I was playing better than he was, so maybe the match would have been totally different,” said Goffin. “But he decided to hang on and he played better and better, even during the fourth set. Despite the rain and the very heavy conditions, he was hitting very strongly.” The Belgian struggled on serve in the early stages of the match, dropping his first two service games and staring at a break point down 1:3. After holding serve, Goffin began to step into the court on his returns and put more pressure on Thiem, earning the break back with the Austrian serving at 4:3. With Thiem serving at 30/30 at 4:5, Goffin ripped a backhand return winner and then converted on his first set point opportunity. A long game with Thiem serving at 3:4 in the 2nd set saw both players have chances, but it was the Belgian who converted on his fifth break point after a backhand error from the Austrian. Goffin was unable to serve out the set at 5:3 and the Austrian went on to grab a commanding 5:2 lead in the tie-break, but couldn’t take advantage of a set point at 6:5. Goffin earned his own set point at 7:6, but Thiem erased it with a forehand (despite being in big defence at one moment) and made good on his second set point at 8:7. The 3rd set once again saw significant shifts in momentum. Goffin regrouped strongly by breaking serve to start the set, but Thiem eventually got even with a return winner to level the set at 4-all. Two games later, the Austrian earned set point with a backhand winner and took advantage of his opportunity to take a commanding lead. Thiem appeared energized by having the momentum, extending his win streak to nine consecutive games with a 5:0 lead in the 4th set. The Austrian wrapped up the match on serve at 5:1.
“In these conditions, it’s good to have the [drop shot] in your game. Particularly when I play a player like Tomas. I tried to expose his movement and his weaknesses,” said Djokovic. “I’m very pleased to be in semi-finals of another Grand Slam, but because I have to play every day, my focus is on recovery and the next match. I don’t have much time, really.” Djokovic has been runner-up three times at Roland Garros The Belgrade native is currently on a 26-match Grand Slam winning streak, with his last loss at a major coming 12 months ago in the Roland Garros final. “[Thiem] is one of the leaders of the new generation,” Djokovic said. “I’m sure he’s very motivated to show himself and others that he deserves to be at the top and compete for biggest titles. “He’s playing the best tennis of his life, no doubt about it. The results are showing that. He plays with a lot of speed, a lot of power. I’m sure he’s going to give it his all in the semis. But I have something to fight for as well. It’s going to be a good one.” In the quarter-finals, the Serbian was far from intimidated by the high stakes. He broke through in the 7th game of the opening set and broke the Czech again in the 9th game to take the lead. The damp conditions played into the top seed’s favour, as Berdych struck nine unforced errors to Djokovic’s three in the opener. Down 0:3 in the 2nd set, Berdych adjusted his tactics, hitting deep down the middle of the court to handcuff Djokovic and draw even at 4-all. The World No. 1 held firm, forcing Berdych to overhit and securing the 2nd set on the final point when the Czech struck a groundstroke long. The players traded breaks early in the 3rd set before inclement weather interrupted the match for 15 minutes. Djokovic secured the critical break immediately upon resumption, at 4:3, and closed out the match with a service winner. The 29-year-old has won his past 11 meetings with Berdych and now leads their Head2Head series 24-2! “I think I had a couple of small chances,” Berdych said. “It was close. Yesterday, the conditions might have favoured me a little bit, but not today. I had a good run. I can only leave with my head up.”
Gasquet, who was playing in his first Roland Garros quarter-final, looked like he might continue his best run in Paris. With the French crowd behind him, the ninth seed broke Murray twice to come back from a *2:5, 4:5 (0/30) deficit and win the 1st set on his fourth set point opportunity (saved three break points in the 12th game). The 29-year-old Frenchman oozed with self-belief as he pumped his fist throughout the comeback. With Rod Laver looking on, Gasquet fell behind again at 2:5 in the 2nd set only to come back and force a tie-break by playing more aggressive and attacking the net. Gasquet led *3:2 in the tie-break when a backhand clipped the net cord and gave Murray an open court for a winner. Second seed Murray then reeled off the next five points to even their 11th meeting. “I’m leading 3:1… Then he is playing unbelievable,” Gasquet said. Murray said, “That stretch of five or six points was huge from 1:3… Those points changed the match.” From there, it was all Murray. The World No. 2 sensed a momentum shift and broke a dispirited Gasquet to start the 3rd set. Once Murray got rolling, the Frenchman struggled to even engage him in rallies as the Brit neared the finish line. “I knew I needed to push him… He just played very good,” Gasquet said. “To be honest, he just played better than me. He didn’t miss a return… When I’m playing a guy like Murray who is never missing a return, it’s very difficult.” Murray broke Gasquet five times and never faced a break point in the last two sets. He now leads their Head-2-Head rivalry 8-3, including three matches at Roland Garros. “Obviously the match could have been more comfortable had I done better serving out the first two sets. But, aside from that, I was playing some good stuff,” Murray said. “I finished the match extremely well, I think. It wasn’t easy for me today.” The Scot played unusually big number of dropshots considering his standards.
1st quarterfinal: (3)Stan Wawrinka d. Albert Ramos 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(7) [1:56 h]
Wawrinka started the match in imperious form. He saved two break points in the opening game of the match and raced to a 3:0 lead, before he secured another service break to end the set. The Swiss struck three aces and won six of seven points when approaching the net and overwhelmed Ramos with power, hitting 17 winners in the opener. He would finish the match with 49 winners to Ramos’ 10. The Spaniard was coming off an upset win over No. 8 seed Raonic in his previous match, but was unable to find solutions against Wawrinka in the first 90 minutes of play. The Spanish left-hander, who was contesting his first Grand Slam quarter-final, fell behind by two sets and a break before making a late charge and forcing a 3rd-set tie-break. The Spaniard’s bid to extend the encounter was helped by a flurry of uncharacteristic misfires from his opponent. Wawrinka made 43 unforced errors during the match, with more than half (24) coming in the final set. Faced with the unattractive prospect of a fourth set, Wawrinka dug himself out of trouble with well-placed first serves and sensible shot selection. He saved a set point at 6:7 in the third-set tie-break by winning a long rally, then swept the next two points to advance. “Frankly, I’m not very happy. I could have done better during the first two sets. It took me time to react [to Wawrinka’s level],” Ramos said. “I hope that later on I’ll be quite satisfied with what I’ve done during this tournament, and that I’ll play even better in the future. [This run] gives me reasons to work, to move forward, and to improve my game.”
Top seed Novak Djokovic, who has finished runner-up on three occasions, won 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 in 3 hours and 16 minutes to reach his 28th successive Grand Slam championship quarter-final. He will next play sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who beat No. 11 seed and 2013 finalist David Ferrer. Play resumed with Djokovic leading 4:1 in the 3rd set, under cloud cover. Djokovic immediately broke No. 14 seed Roberto Bautista‘s serve in a 10-point game, then served out to 30 for the 43-minute set. Djokovic’s concentration drifted in the 4th set and Bautista capitalised to take a 4:2 lead. But the advantage was short-lived as Djokovic attacked the net and produced a string of testing drop shots to break in the seventh and 11th games. “I know that I can play better and I have a couple more gears,” said Djokovic. “That excites me, actually. [It] motivates me to work and get myself in that maximum speed hopefully for the next match and see where it takes me.” Berdych has righted his clay-court season and is through to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros for the third time. The seventh seed swept Roland Garros staple Ferrer 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 in 2hours and 12 minutes on Wednesday to advance to the last eight. “The days have been long. The weather was really tough,” Berdych said. “But it was not that bad since we didn’t have to go on and off the court, which I think is the absolute worst.”Dominic Thiem, one of the hottest talents on the ATP World Tour in 2016, has advanced to his first Grand Slam championship quarter-final. The 22-year-old Austrian, who has lifted three tour-level clay-court trophies this year, knocked out Marcel Granollers of Spain 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-4 on Wednesday afternoon in Paris. The pair resumed at one-set all, following rain delays over the previous two days. “Two years ago, I was here with Ernests [Gulbis] and he played in the semi-finals. Back then I couldn’t really imagine that I’d go this far myself one day,” Thiem said. “Today, we had nice conditions, and I was happy that we could finish the match today.” Thiem next will face, David Goffin, who recovered from a set down to also reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time. Goffin, the 12th seed, ended unseeded Ernests Gulbis‘ run 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. The Belgian converted seven of his 24 break-point chances to advance. Thiem trails Goffin 2-4 in their Head2Head series. “We often practise together,” said Thiem of his quarter-final opponent. “It’s always really good and really tough practices with him. He’s also very nice guy; we hang out a little bit together outside the court. I think it will be a very interesting and a very nice match to watch. He takes the balls really early, doesn’t give you any time, and he’s really, really fast on his feet. His game has developed amazingly in the past two years.” For the first time in 13 tries, Richard Gasquet has reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, the Frenchman’s home Grand Slam. The 29-year-old upset fifth seed Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 on Sunday to reach the final eight in Paris. “[It was a] great match for me to win [against] the No. 6 in the world on central court in Paris,” Gasquet said. “I took a lot of confidence after winning that [first] set. I played much better in the second set, and also with the crowd cheering for me, it was a great moment.” Gasquet had lost in the fourth round at Roland Garros four times previously (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015). The ninth seed also had never taken a set off of Nishikori on clay, having lost in straight sets to to the Japanese twice earlier this month (Madrid, Rome). “I knew if I want to win [against] this guy, I need to play very, very deep and very fast… If I’m playing short like I did in Rome and Madrid, I have no chance to win,” Gasquet said. “You also need to be able to whack the ball from the baseline, and that’s what I tried to do.” He fell behind 2:4* (deuce) before a 50-minute rain delay. When play resumed, though, Gasquet took over, winning 10 of the next 12 games to gain a two-set lead. Nishikori rebounded in the 3rd, breaking Gasquet to force a 4th set. Andy Murray booked his spot in the Roland Garros quarter-finals for a third consecutive year, downing John Isner 7-6(9), 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday. “I think it could have been a little bit different if I won that set,” said Isner. “I had it on my racquet serving at 6:5. I had a short forehand, too, and didn’t do anything with it. I hit it right back to him and he passed me up the line, because he’s No. 2 in the world, and that’s what he does. I didn’t take advantage of that opportunity right there… I think I went with option D there. A, B, and C would have been better.” “The first set was key,” said Murray. “I didn’t have any chances until the tie-break. I was a bit lucky on the 6/5 point. He had a great serve and I guessed the right way on his approach shot. That point was very important, for sure. And then after that I was starting to create a lot more chances on the return games. Most games I felt like I was having opportunities and wasn’t giving him any chances on my serve.”Murray led in that tie-break *5:2, then saved three set points in total.Stan Wawrinka appears to be honing his game just in time for the latter stages of Roland Garros. The Swiss moved into the quarter-finals in Paris for the third time in four years on Sunday, bypassing Serbian Viktor Troicki 7-6(5), 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-2 in 3 hours on Philippe Chatrier Court. The defending Roland Garros champion used powerful serving – 19 aces – and opportunistic tennis to reach the final eight in Paris for the second consecutive season. “It’s a great victory for me. I was trying to just stay calm with myself, find my game all over the match,” Wawrinka said. “I managed to play better, I managed to find solutions.” Wawrinka entered Sunday’s fourth-round match having not lost a set since his five-set battle against Lukas Rosol in the first round. But Troicki proved to be a tricky opponent early in their contest. He erased four break points to force a first-set tie-break. Wawrinka prevailed, though, and looked to have complete control of the match with an early break in the 2nd. But Troicki ran off the next four games to lead 4:1 before Wawrinka recovered to 4-all. Troicki, looking to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final, evened the match on his fifth set point opportunity in the second-set tie-break. The final two sets were all Wawrinka, though, as the third seed earned a break in the third and two in the final set. Wawrinka has now won eight consecutive matches, dating back to his title run two weeks ago in Geneva. His home title run marked the first time Wawrinka had reached the semi-finals of a clay-court tournament this season. World No. 55 Albert Ramos caused an upset on Sunday at Roland Garros to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final. Ramos, the only left-hander remaining in the draw, recorded just his second Top 10 win in 23 attempts by beating eighth seed Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in 2 hours and 21 minutes. “I’m very happy,” said Ramos-Vinolas. “I didn’t expect this. After losing last week 6-1, 6-1 against [Stan] Wawrinka, I was a little bit down because I was expecting a little more in Geneva last week. I don’t know why things seem to be falling into place this week. Although this is not Raonic’s favourite surface, I feel quite humbled to have won against him.” Ramos, who saved six of seven break points during the pair’s second meeting, converted his third break point opportunity at 4:4 in the 3rd set. Serving for the match, Ramos took a 40/15 lead, but was forced to save one break point prior to clinching his 18th match win of the season. “I have to say [that] I’m disappointed I lost,” said Raonic. “The main reason I think I lost was because the foundation of my game wasn’t there. I didn’t serve well… I gave myself opportunities on his serve, but the day is a lot easier for the other guy when I don’t serve well. I fought as hard as I could. That’s probably the thing I will be the most proud about.”