Andy Murray secured his place in his first-ever French Open final with a scintillating 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-2 win against defending champion Stan Wawrinka. The British No1, a three-times semi-finalist at Roland Garros, produced his most eye-catching performance of the tournament to move within touching distance of a third grand slam title.
Murray, 29, took the high-quality match in front of a pro-Wawrinka crowd in four sets. Murray set the tone as early as the third game of the match, when he broke Wawrinka's serve after his opponent could only return a wonderfully-controlled half-volley into the net.
Wawrinka battled hard for the rest of the set and appeared to be cusp of levelling things up, but failed to convert any of the break points he had in the final game. Murray, by contrast, held his nerve to seal the all-important first set on the Philippe-Chatrier Court.
Murray started the second set in similarly impressive form, breaking Wawrinka in the third game thanks to some inch-perfect ground strokes. And he secured a double break in Wawrinka's next service game after a blistering backhand blazed past his onrushing opponent.
However, the third set was a much more evenly contested affair, as Wawrinka regrouped. The duo shared the first nine games of the set, before the Swiss number two broke Murray's serve for the first time to pinch the set.
But Murray refused to let the disappointment get to him and the Brit broke Wawrinka in the first and seventh game of the fourth set to set up a mouth-watering finale to this year's tournament in the French capital. He is the first Brit to reach the final in Paris since Bunny Austin in 1937.
"I knew today if I wanted to win I was going to have to play one of my best clay-court matches," Murray said afterwards. "Stan was playing better every match and I played one of my best matches. I'm looking forward to the final. I'm extremely proud. I never expected to reach the final here, I always struggled on the clay. I hope I can put on a good match on Sunday."
Murray will face the world No1 Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday (5 June), after he eased past the inexperienced Dominic Thiem on the Court Suzanne-Lenglen. The 11-time grand slam winner took the match in straight sets 6-2 6-1 6-4 to set up a much-anticipated clash against his long-time rival.
Djokovic raced into a two-set lead in Paris before surprisingly falling 3-0 down in the third. However, the Serb soon recovered his form and composure to win the match in just one hour and 30 minutes. It means a new name will be engraved on the trophy on Sunday.