In the men’s semifinals on Friday, No. 2-seed Andy Murray will face defending champion Stan Wawrinka for a spot in the final. Murray leads their head-to-head 8-7, but Wawrinka has won the last three meetings. This is a classic matchup of offense vs. defense. Wawrinka is the ultimate heavy hitter with power off both sides and the ability to open up a point with a single shot. Murray is a great defender and counterpuncher who covers the court and has the foot speed to make his opponents go for higher risk shots. Last year in Paris, Wawrinka proved that when he’s at his best he can blow through even the toughest defenses—just ask Djokovic and Federer. The challenge for Wawrinka will be to not go for too much too soon in the rallies.
The question for Murray will be does he try to get more aggressive to keep Wawrinka from taking charge? Can Murray impose his game on Wawrinka and keep the defending champion in a defensive position without making too many errors himself? It's a tough call. Play solid and steady and hope that Wawrinka makes enough mistakes or go big and risk giving away points trying to take control away from Wawrinka. One thing you can count on is Wawrinka will not be a "defending" defending champion—he will be attacking.
Wawrinka French Open highlights:
• Strong serving: 52 aces, 76% 1st serves won, 63% 2nd serves won, broken just 8 times in 5 matches
• Power and aggression from both forehand and backhand: 116 forehand winners, 65 backhand winners
• Three hours less on court than Murray
Murray French Open highlights:
• Strong 1st serve: 45 aces, 76% first serve points won
• Solid ground game: 73 forehand winners, 53 backhand winners
• On court for over 15 hours to reach the semifinals
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