Murray, Nadal eye dream French Open final

Andy Murray (Getty)
Andy Murray (Getty)

Paris - Rafael Nadal continues his pursuit of a 10th French Open title when he meets Dominic Thiem, the only man to beat him on clay this year, in Friday's semi-finals.

Andy Murray, bidding to be the first British men's champion in 82 years, faces 2015 winner Stan Wawrinka.

AFP Sports previews the two matches:

Andy Murray (GBR x1) v Stan Wawrinka (SUI x3)

World number one Murray was the first British man in the Roland Garros final since Bunny Austin in 1937 when he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic last year. Two more victories would make him the first Briton to lift the men's trophy since Fred Perry 82 years ago. Wawrinka, like Murray a three-time major winner, has made his trademark understated progress to a third successive semi-final. The Swiss third seed, at 32, is the oldest man to get to the last four since Jimmy Connors back in 1985. He lost to Murray in the semi-finals last year.

Head-to-head: Murray leads 10-7

Murray says: "I came into Paris playing garbage. Stan's been playing very well. He's confident. It's going to be very tough."

Wawrinka says: "I think he's struggling a little bit since the beginning of the year, but he's in the semi-final. So a champion like him, he's playing better and better."

Fast facts

Murray: Age - 30; World ranking - 1; Prize money - $59,842,103; Career titles - 45, Grand Slam titles - 3; French Open best - Runner-up (2016)

Wawrinka: Age - 32; World ranking - 3; Prize money - $29,378,107; Career titles - 16; Grand Slam titles - 3; French Open best - Champion (2015)

Paths to the semi-finals:

Murray

1st rd: bt Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0

2nd rd: bt Martin Klizan (SVK) 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3)

3rd rd: bt Juan Martin del Potro (ARG x29) 7-6 (10/8), 7-5, 6-0

4th rd: bt Karen Khachanov (RUS) 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

QF: bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x8) 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/0), 6-1

Wawrinka

1st rd: bt Jozef Kovalik (SVK) 6-2, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3

2nd rd: bt Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5

3rd rd: bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x28) 7-6 (7/2), 6-0, 6-2

4th rd: bt Gael Monfils (FRA x15) 7-5, 7-6 (9/7), 6-2

QF: bt Marin Cilic (CRO x7) 6-3, 6-3, 6-1

Rafael Nadal (ESP x4) v Dominic Thiem (AUT x6)

Nadal has spent just under eight hours on court through five rounds and dropped just 22 games so far. Bjorn Borg surrendered just 32 games on his way to the 1978 title, but Nadal insisted he has no interest in such records. Thiem condemned Djokovic to a first straight-sets loss at a major in four years in his stunning quarter-final triumph, avenging his defeat to the Serb in the 2016 semi-finals. He is the only man this year to have defeated Nadal on clay this year with his last-eight win in Rome offsetting losses in the final in Barcelona and Madrid.

Head-to-head: Nadal leads 4-2

Nadal says: "I'd like to thank all those who say that I'm a favourite, but I know that each day there is a different match and there is a different opponent."

Thiem says: "It's a joke how tough it is to win a Slam. I beat Novak. On Friday it's Nadal."

Fast facts

Nadal: Age - 31; World ranking - 4; Prize money - $83,573,172; Career titles - 72, Grand Slam titles - 14, French Open best - Champion (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)

Thiem: Age - 23; World ranking - 7; Prize money - $7,049,918; Career titles - 8, Grand Slam titles - 0; French Open best - Semi-final (2016, 2017)

Paths to the semi-finals:

Nadal

1st rd: bt Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-1, 6-4, 6-1

2nd rd: bt Robin Haase (NED) 6-1, 6-4, 6-3

3rd rd: bt Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 6-0, 6-1, 6-0

4th rd: bt Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x17) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2

QF: bt Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP x20) 6-2, 2-0 - retired

Thiem

1st rd: bt Bernard Tomic (AUS) 6-4, 6-0, 6-2

2nd rd: bt Simone Bolelli (ITA) 7-5, 6-1, 6-3

3rd rd: bt Steve Johnson (USA x25) 6-1, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3

4th rd: bt Horacio Zeballos (ARG) 6-1, 6-3, 6-1

QF: bt Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-0

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