Torrential rain delayed the start of quarterfinal action on day 11 of the French Open Wednesday and looked like it was going to force the 5th set of both men’s semifinals to be postponed due to darkness. But both Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray managed to dominate the 5th set of their matches to finish business in record time as the sun was setting over Paris.
In what looked like it should be a fast match for Murray, pilule Frenchman Gaël Monfils looked as if he had been playing possum the first two sets – Murray was looking like he was on the ropes. It seemed certain that the match wouldn’t have time to finish before dark, treat but with Murray clearly irritated by the call from the umpire to continue play in the fading light, buy he only needed 24 minutes for the last set to defeat Monfils 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0 with Monfils winning just seven points in the entire last set.
MEN’S SINGLES SEMIFINALS FRIDAY
Nadal to play Murray Friday
Can anybody stop Nadal? In an unbelievable match that was looking like a nail-biter early on and perhaps even a loss for top-seeded Nadal, Rafa defeated fellow countryman David Ferrer, the man who lost last year’s final to the eight-time French Open champion.
After a slow start in which he conceded the first set 6-4, Nadal hit back to take the next three sets 6-4 6-0 6-1. The World No.1, who was beaten at Monte Carlo in April by Ferrer, remains a huge favorite to win the title.
Djokovich vs Gulbis
Ernests Gulbis followed up his victory over Roger Federer by crushing sixth seed Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-2 6-4 to claim a place in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his career.
Gulbis will meet second-seeded Novak Djokovic, who was impressive in his 7-5, 7-6, 6-4 victory over Milos Raonic. Djokovic is through to his 22nd Grand Slam semi-final and has reached the last four at 14 of the last 15 Grand Slam tournaments.
WOMEN’S SINGLES SEMIFINALS THURSDAY
Sharapova vs Bouchard
Maria Sharapova had a sloppy first set vs 35th ranked Garbine Muguruza of Spain in the quarterfinals, but grabbed control of the match by breaking her to go up by 6-5 in the second set and served out the set and easily winning the last set 6-1.
The seventh-seeded Sharapova has emerged as one favorite in this upset-filled tournament. Last year’s champion Serena Williams (1) was easily defeated in the 2nd round by Muguruza 6-2, 6-2. Second-seeded and Aussie Open champion Na Li was shockingly defeated in the 1st round by 103th ranked Kristina Mladenovic of France, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Sharapova will meet 18th seeded Eugenie Bouchard of Canada. Twenty year old Bouchard is currently on a streak – winning 10 matches in a row – including a run to her first WTA title in Nuremberg, Germany, the week before the French Open began.
Bouchard was inspired to take up tennis when she saw Sharapova’s Wimbledon victory 10 years ago at age 17. However, Genie has made clear that she isn’t intimidated by Sharapova by telling reporters, “We’re not friends, so there is that. Of course as a child I looked up to her and I remember watching her in the finals of Wimbledon and, you know, thought what she was doing was so cool and I wanted to do the same thing. We’re in the semis of a Grand Slam, so I’m going to respect her but not put her too high on a pedestal and really just battle.”
Petkovic vs Halep
Neither Petkovic nor Halep has ever played in the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament. But they will meet on Thursday for a spot in the final.
Andrea Petkovic, a 28th-seeded German, beat 2012 French Open runner-up Sara Errani of Italy 6-2, 6-2 and fourth-seeded Simona Halep defeated 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, also 6-2, 6-2.
The Women’s semifinals is scheduled for Thursday, June 5th at 8 a.m. on ESPN2, as well as on NBC beginning at 10 a.m. (CT). The Women’s final will be played Saturday, June 7th beginning at 8 a.m. (CT) and shown on NBC.
The Men’s semifinals will begin at 7 a.m. Friday, June 6th on the Tennis Channel and from 10 a.m. on NBC. The Men’s final will be Sunday, June 8th at 8 a.m and broadcast by NBC.