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Andy Murray defeats Richard Gasquet and moves to semi-finals at 2016 French Open

Andy Murray defeats Richard Gasquet and moves to semi-finals at 2016 French Open

Andy Murray defeats Richard Gasquet and moves to semi-finals at 2016 French Open tennis images

Andy Murray may have had to wait a couple of days to take on Richard Gasquet, and he even lost the first set 5-2, but he didn’t let that stop him from winning the match. The Scot went on to win 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 6-0 6-2 and will face Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals on Friday.

Third seed Wawrinka beat Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2 6-1 7-6 (9-7).

Murray has now won his last 10 matches, having won the Italian Open last month, and is through to his fourth French Open and 19th Grand Slam semi-final.

In the other half of the draw, rain delays mean the quarter-finals between Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych, and David Goffin and Dominic Thiem, will be played on Thursday.

2016-roland-garros-french-open-mens-quarter-finals

Gasquet lets chance slip in tie-break

Murray had won all four previous Grand Slam meetings with Gasquet but gave the Frenchman every opportunity to improve on that record.

richard gasquet lets andy murray slip inside him bare

The Briton earned a 5-2 lead before his early success with drop shots disappeared, and double faults at key times helped Gasquet run through five straight games.

A similar pattern followed in the second set, as Murray again failed to serve out from 5-2 and fell 3-1 down in the tie-break, but he gathered himself to finally take control with six straight points.

The Parisian crowd had been hoping their man could emulate Yannick Noah’s title-winning run of 1983, but Gasquet’s challenge faded dramatically in the third set.

After the first two sets took well over two hours, Murray raced through the third in 27 minutes, and a sharp forehand volley gave him the decisive breakthrough early in the fourth.

“Stop it!” shouted Murray after his fourth double fault of the afternoon but it did not signal another collapse, and the world number two reeled off 13 of the last 15 games to win in three hours and 23 minutes.

andy murray head with richard gasquet

How it all went down for the day at the 2016 French Open (all times are Paris):

6:10 p.m.

Because of the all the rain delays, organizers have a heavy schedule to cram everything in before the weekend’s finals.

That means players in action every day, rather than getting a day off between matches.

“It’s something you just get used to. It’s totally fine,” top-ranked Serena Williams said. “In Miami and Indian Wells you just play every day.”

She got through to the quarterfinals on Wednesday but her older sister Venus Williams went out in the fourth round.

Still, even at nearly 36 years old, Venus would not mind playing every day.

“Oh, back to back is fine,” she said. “But two matches in one day, especially if the rest of the draw isn’t doing it, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Tomas Berdych, who next plays top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals, spoke with an air of resignation.

“There is nothing else that you can do,” he said. “We have to take it as it is.”

5:55 p.m.

French Open organizers are defending their decision to pull Novak Djokovic and Roberto Bautista Agut off court because of rain after 2 hours, 1 minute of play on Tuesday, saying the timing wasn’t because they didn’t want to refund tickets.

On courts that see less than two hours of play, ticket holders can apply for refunds — either in full when there is less than one hour of play or half for between 60 minutes and 1:59.

In a statement , tournament director Guy Forget noted that “not refunding spectators with tickets to the Philippe Chatrier Court has caused frustration and anger.”

He said tournament referee Stefan Fransson decides when to suspend or resume matches and “respect for the game always takes precedence.”

Forget added that the French Open’s insurer, not the tournament itself, would have had to foot the bill for refunds if they had been paid to Chatrier ticket holders.

“We acted with the best of intentions,” Forget said.

Holders of tickets on other courts that saw less than two hours of play can apply for half of it back.

Djokovic won in four sets when the fourth-round match resumed Wednesday.

5:45 p.m.

Andy Murray overcame his own frustration as much as his French opponent and a partisan crowd Wednesday, beating No. 9 Richard Gasquet 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-0, 6-2 to reach his fourth semifinal at Roland Garros.

Often pointing at his temple between points, Murray would mutter to himself or yell at members of his entourage over the nearly 3½-hour quarterfinal.

He alternated between brilliant and bad before finally seizing control by taking the last six points of the second-set tiebreaker, then grabbing 12 of the final 14 games.

The No. 2-seeded Murray ran his winning streak to 10 matches, all on clay, and now takes on defending champion Stan Wawrinka. Murray enters that match with an 0-3 record in French Open semifinals.

5:20 p.m.

Stan Wawrinka is the first player through to the French Open semifinals.

The defending men’s champion beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7) to become the only Swiss man other than Roger Federer to have reached the semifinals of the clay-court major tournament multiple times. Federer, absent this year with an aching back, has played in seven semifinals and five finals, winning the title once, in 2009.

The third-seeded Wawrinka was never really troubled by his left-handed opponent, who was playing his first fourth-round match at a Grand Slam.

Ramos-Vinolas had only four break points in the match on Court Suzanne Lenglen and won just one of them, in the third set.

Wawrinka improved his career record against Ramos-Vinolas to 7-0. He will play either Andy Murray or Richard Gasquet in the semifinals.

4:30 p.m.

Ernests Gulbis got some things off his chest after his fourth-round loss to David Goffin at the French Open.

The Latvian lost 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 Wednesday in a match that was scheduled to start on Monday, when play was completely washed out.

Then, on Tuesday, the players came on court in the rain and came off with Goffin leading 3-0 in the first set.

“I don’t think the players should walk on court while it’s raining,” said Gulbis, a semifinalist in Paris in 2014. “If it starts raining while we play, then we keep on playing until it’s playable. But to walk on with rain, I don’t think it’s right.

“We had to play in Munich when it was snowing,” Gulbis said. “You know, we’re not in a winter sport.”

Another thing that annoyed Gulbis was Goffin’s actions early in the match.

“It was strange from Goffin, when he wanted to stop after 2-0 (in the first set) before my serve,” Gulbis said. “I didn’t think it was really, really correct. You know, he can stop before his serve.”

4:10 p.m.

Timea Bacsinszky’s on-court ruthlessness at the French Open doesn’t extend to ladybugs.

The eighth-seeded Swiss, who hasn’t dropped a set in her march to the quarterfinals, has a soft-spot for the insects, regarding them as “a lucky charm.”

She posted a picture of one she spotted on a tennis ball during practice. She says she saved another from a probable squishing at Roland Garros, guiding it off court during one of her matches.

“Why should I step on it? I’m not saying we should be super careful about every insect and animal, but (you) just don’t need to murder a poor insect because it’s bothering you,” she said after beating Venus Williams in fourth round. “You can just push it a little bit. Like, ‘Go on. Go away.’ That was my feeling about this poor ladybug.”

3:25 p.m.

Tomas Berdych set up a French Open quarterfinal match against Novak Djokovic by beating 2013 runner-up David Ferrer 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.

Advancing beyond the fourth round at Roland Garros for only the third time in 13 attempts, the seventh-seeded Czech player saved all nine break points he faced in the match that was postponed Monday because of rain and started Tuesday only to be interrupted by more rain in the first set.

Although the match lasted 2 hours, 12 minutes, Berdych said they took “almost three days to finish this.”

David Goffin is also through to the quarterfinals, completing another rain-interrupted fourth-round match. The 12th-seeded Belgian beat Ernests Gulbis 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

In his first quarterfinal at a Grand Slam, Goffin will play Dominic Thiem in a battle of upcoming younger players. Thiem is 22, Goffin 25.

2:45 p.m.

Dominic Thiem reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal on Wednesday, beating Marcel Granollers 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-4.

The 22-year-old Austrian’s previous best at a major was making the fourth round at the U.S. Open in 2014.

The match started Tuesday but was interrupted by rain and resumed Wednesday on Court 2 at one-set each. Serving with three match points, the 13th-seeded Thiem won with an angled forehand drop shot from the back of the court that Granollers couldn’t reach.

Granollers benefited from a walkover into the fourth round when nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal withdrew with a left wrist injury.

2:25 p.m.

She has rubbed shoulders with Donald Trump, but Serena Williams seemingly won’t be voting for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee — because she doesn’t vote at all.

Adroitly sidestepping a question about Trump at the French Open, where Williams is the defending champion, she says she is “not involved at all” in politics.

Williams, a Jehovah’s witness, adds “I don’t vote. It goes back to my religion.”

She says she has met Trump “several times,” because she lives in Palm Beach, Florida, and he has a 17-acre estate, the Mar-a-Lago Club, there.

Williams says “everyone in Palm Beach kind of knows each other.”

1:55 p.m.

Novak Djokovic got just what he wanted as he pursues a first French Open title, wrapping up a rain-interrupted victory with a minimum of trouble to get to the quarterfinals.

Aiming to win a fourth consecutive major trophy and complete a career Grand Slam, the No. 1-seeded Djokovic needed only 71 minutes Wednesday to finish off a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 win against No. 14 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. The match was suspended because of rain on Tuesday, with Djokovic leading 4-1 in the third set.

He needed only seven minutes of action to claim that set when they resumed, taking the first two games played Wednesday.

After completing the victory, Djokovic played to the crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier, first cajoling a ball boy to join him in bowing for the spectators, then donning a yellow rain hat handed to him by Fabrice Santoro, a former player who conducted the post-match interview.

Because rain created a compressed schedule, Djokovic will be on court for a third day in a row on Thursday.

1:30 p.m.

Unseeded Yulia Putintseva reached the quarterfinals at a major tournament for the first time, beating 12th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro 7-5, 7-5 Wednesday at the French Open.

Navarro won less than half of all points on her serve, made 21 unforced errors and was broken four times in losing the first set.

Serving for the match after breaking her Spanish opponent twice, the 60th-ranked Putintseva had three match points after an angled backhand volley at the net. She converted the first, when Navarro netted a backhand service return.

Putintseva has yet to lose a set in her march to the quarterfinals, and lost only eight games in the previous rounds before her first-ever fourth-round match at a major.

She will play defending champion Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.

12:40 p.m.

Venus Williams failed in her bid to reach the French Open quarterfinals for the first time in a decade, losing to eighth-seeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth round Wednesday.

The ninth-seeded Williams, a seven-time major champion, started well enough, taking a 2-0 lead, before dropping eight games in a row. She was the runner-up to her sister Serena at Roland Garros in 2002, but her most recent trip to the quarterfinals in Paris came in 2006.

Against Bacsinszky, Williams managed to produce only six winners, while committing 24 unforced errors.

The match originally was supposed to be played Monday, but was postponed twice because of rain.

Backsinszky, a semifinalist at the French Open last year, can make it back to that stage if she beats 58th-ranked Kiki Bertens next.

12:35 p.m.

Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal by beating 15th-seeded Madison Keys of the United States 7-6 (4), 6-3 at the French Open on Wednesday.

The 58th-ranked Bertens eliminated a seeded player for the third time in the tournament, after upsetting No. 3 Angelique Kerber, the Australian Open champion, in the first round and No. 29 Daria Kasatkina in the third round.

12:20 p.m.

Wasting no time at all after waiting two days to play, Serena Williams moved closer to her record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam title by easily reaching the French Open quarterfinals.

The top-seeded Williams dominated from start to finish during a 6-1, 6-1 victory over 18th-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in only 62 minutes Wednesday.

The match originally was scheduled for Monday, but showers forced cancellation of an entire day of play at Roland Garros for the first time in 16 years. Then, on Tuesday, more rain allowed for a total of only 2 hours of play around the grounds, and Williams’ match was postponed again.

Finally in action, in Wednesday’s opening match at Court Philippe Chatrier, Williams looked very much like a 21-time Grand Slam champion facing a 21-year-old who has only reached one major quarterfinal, losing at that stage in Paris last year.

Williams, the defending French Open champion, is trying to match Steffi Graf’s Open-era mark of 22 major titles.

11:05 a.m.

After two days of almost incessant rain, the covers have come off the courts at the French Open and the skies, while still thick with clouds, have stopped dropping rain.

Serena and Venus Williams play first on Court Philippe Chatrier and Court Suzanne Lenglen, respectively, in fourth-round matches carried over from Monday, when rain washed out the whole day of play for the first time in 16 years.

Defending champion Serena plays No. 18 Elina Svitolina. Venus takes on No. 8 Timea Bacsinszky.

Because of scheduling problems, after rain continued for most of Tuesday, too, matches are also spread on other courts. Kiki Bertens vs. No. 15 Madison Keys is on Court 1; No. 12 Carla Suarez Navarro vs. Yulia Putintseva of Ukraine is on Court 2.

 

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