Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Doing Something New Drives Andy; Murray Is Looking to Experience French Open Final for the First Time

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Doing Something New Drives Andy; Murray Is Looking to Experience French Open Final for the First Time

Article excerpt

Byline: Eleanor Crooks

ANDY Murray hopes his passion for breaking new ground can drive him to a first French Open final.

Less than a year away from his 30th birthday, different experiences are hard to find on the tennis tour but stepping out on Court Philippe Chatrier for the trophy match would be one thing Murray has never done before.

This will be his fourth appearance in the semi-finals but Rafael Nadal, twice, and Novak Djokovic over five sets last year prevented him going further.

Murray has reached nine grand slam finals; five at the Australian Open and two each at Wimbledon and the US Open.

He said: "This stage of my career, to do things that I have never done before is nice.

"That's one of the things that motivates me and drives me. That's why my results on clay over the last couple of years have been really special to me because I never expected that really.

"So if I was able to make the final here it would be big for me. But I'm here to try and win the tournament, not make the final. That's my goal for the next few days."

The man standing in his way this time is defending champion Stan Wawrinka, who won his 12th match in a row at Roland Garros with a straight-sets victory over Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the quarter-finals.

At the same time, Murray was battling his way past Richard Gasquet in four sets having dug himself out of a hole at a set and 3-1 down in the second-set tie-break.

But, while the Scot had history on his side against Gasquet, that is not so much the case against Wawrinka, and not just because of the third seed's achievements here.

Murray leads their head-to-head 8-7 but has lost the last three and has not taken a set off Wawrinka since 2012. On clay, meanwhile, he has lost all three matches in straight sets.

But the last of those was three years ago, before Murray's transformation into one of the best claycourters in the world.

Victories over Nadal and Djokovic should inspire plenty of confidence but this will be a true test against a player who possesses immense power and is perfectly at home on the red stuff.

"Obviously the last two years here he has played great tennis," said Murray of Wawrinka. …

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