Stan Wawrinka subjected Andy Murray to a barrage of body blows as he broke down the Briton’s formidable defences to reach the French Open final on Friday, twice coming from a set down to win a high-octane contest 6-7(6) 6-3 5-7 7-6(3) 6-1.
The Swiss 2015 champion hit a staggering 87 winners as he avenged last year’s semi-final defeat by the world number one to set up a final against nine-times champion Rafa Nadal or rising Austrian talent Dominic Thiem.
Murray absorbed everything Wawrinka threw at him for most of the four hour and 34 minute contest but after winning a tense fourth set, Wawrinka steamed ahead in the decider as the Briton’s armour was finally pierced.
The third seed, at 32 the oldest man to reach the Roland Garros final since Niki Pilic finished runner-up in 1973, was long frustrated by Murray but never lost faith despite seeing his opponent rally back from a break down in the first and third sets.
Murray, who arrived in Paris on the back of a woeful claycourt season, said he could take a lot of positives from his run to the semis.
Murray, who like Wawrinka owns three grand slam titles, made only one unforced error in the first seven games. He suffered a bit of a meltdown in the eighth, though, and Wawrinka pounced to steal his serve.