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Wawrinka beats Murray to set up Nadal showdown in Roland Garros final

media Stan Wawrinka beat top seed Andy Murray to advance to his second Roland Garros final in three years. RFI/Pierre-René Worms

Stan Wawrinka moved into his second Roland Garros final in three years on Friday with a gruelling five set win over the top seed Andy Murray. The third seed levelled the match at two sets apiece after winning the fourth set tiebreaker seven points to three.

The 32-year-old Swiss raced into a 5-0 lead and served for the match. Murray ended the roll and at least registered on the score board.

But the Briton was unable to make further inroads. A trademark Wawrinka back hand down the line concluded the four hour and 34 minute contest. It was his 21st winner off his famed wing and it shot past a depleted Murray to wrap up the match 6-7 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-1.

“Obviously when you're 5-0 down and three breaks behind in the fifth set you're not that optimistic,” said Murray. “But I tried to keep fighting. When he was 3-0 up and serving, we were at love-30 in that game. Had I managed to get a break there, I think it might have been a little bit different. I didn't. And then that was it. He played too well in the end.”

It was Murray’s fourth consecutive semi-final and his fifth overall. “I'm proud of the tournament I had,” Murray added. “I did well considering. I was one tiebreak away from getting to the final. When I came to Paris I was really struggling. So I have to be proud of that. Maybe the lack of matches hurt me a little bit in the end. It was a very high intensity match with a lot of long points.”

Wawrinka said he was pleased with his attitude during the combat. "I knew I had some good chances in the first set, in the third set also, but that's what I took positively. Even when I was two sets to one down, I knew I had some chance to keep pushing him and that's what I did. I'm really happy that I found a way how to win the match."

While Murray returns to Britain to prepare for the grass court season, Wawrinka will take on Rafael Nadal who pulverized the sixth seed Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-4 6-0 in two hours and seven minutes. Nadal has not dropped a set in his surge to his 10th Roland Garros final and has lost only 29 games in his six matches.

"I don't care about the games I lost or not, or sets or these kind of things," said the nine time champion. "The only thing I care is I have been playing very well during the whole event, and I was able to win all the matches. That's the only thing that really matters."

Nadal and Wawrinka have met 18 times. Wawrinka has won only three of their encounters. The first victory came most famously in the final of the 2014 Australian Open.

Their most recent meeting on clay came last year in the quarter-final at the Monte Carlo Masters which Nadal won in straight sets. "One match remains against a very tough opponent," Nadal added.

"He played a very tough match so he will be full of confidence for Sunday. He's a very dangerous player because he can hit the ball very hard. I need to play aggressive, I need to play long and I need to make sure he doesn't play from easy positions. If not, I'm going to be in big trouble."

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