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Djokovic finally overcomes Murray to face Wawrinka in French Open final

Novak Djokovic moves closer to winning his first French Open after defeating Andy Murray in semifinals

Novak Djokovic squeezed his eyes shut and raised both arms, a rather reserved celebration at the conclusion of his up-and-down, two-day, five-set French Open semifinal victory over Andy Murray.

There's one more match for Djokovic to win if he's going to collect his first championship at Roland Garros and complete a long-sought career Grand Slam, and conserving energy was key.

The No. 1-seeded Djokovic reached his third French Open final the hard way, getting past No. 3 Murray, 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1, on Saturday in the resumption of a suspended match to stretch his winning streak to 28.

The semifinal was halted at 3-all in the fourth set Friday night because of an incoming storm. Murray took that set when they returned, but Djokovic was superb in the fifth, and Saturday's play took 61 minutes, bringing the total count to 4 hours 9 minutes.

"No different from any other match that we played against each other. It's always a thriller, always a marathon," Djokovic said. "Wasn't a physically easy match, that's for sure, but I think I will be fine for the finals. Whatever I have left in me I will put out on the court tomorrow, and hopefully it can be enough."

He already owns eight major titles, but none from Roland Garros, where he lost the 2012 and 2014 finals to Rafael Nadal, the nine-time champion he eliminated in this year's quarterfinals.

On Sunday, less than 25 hours after finishing off Murray, Djokovic will face No. 8 Stan Wawrinka with a chance to become only the eighth man in tennis history to own at least one trophy from each of the sport's four most prestigious tournaments. He already owns five from the Australian Open, two from Wimbledon and one from the U.S. Open.

If he beats Wawrinka for the 18th time in 21 meetings, and Djokovic also would be the first man since Jim Courier in 1992 to win the Australian Open and French Open consecutively, putting him halfway to the first calendar-year Grand Slam in 46 years.

Wawrinka won his semifinal against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday, as scheduled, so he enjoyed a less-stressful Saturday than Djokovic. In 2014, Wawrinka won his first major title at the Australian Open, then showed up in Paris and promptly lost in the first round.

Now he'll make his French Open final debut against Djokovic, who has so much to play for.

"For sure, we're both going to be nervous," Wawrinka said. "That's a fact."

Djokovic and Murray — a two-time major champion who had won 15 consecutive matches, all on clay — stepped out on Court Philippe Chatrier at 1 p.m., a little more than 16 hours after departing under a threatening sky that was shortly followed by a brief rainstorm.

On Saturday, the sky was a crystal blue, uninterrupted by a trace of cloud, the temperature about a perfect-for-tennis 70 degrees.

After 10 minutes, and a trio of love holds, it was 5-4 for Djokovic, putting him a game away. Sounds like a little. Turned out he would need to wait.

Murray suddenly broke for a 6-5 lead. One point contained 33 strokes, most magnificent, none more so than Murray's drop shot that won it when Djokovic's hustling reply landed in the net. Murray added a running cross-court backhand passing shot, and when Djokovic contributed a couple of flubbed forehands, the set was over.

So dominant all season and all tournament, Djokovic found himself on the brink against a fist-shaking Murray.

There was no wilt from Djokovic, though. He'd come so far, thought about this title so much, that if he could possibly handle Murray's indefatigable defense, he would.

And Djokovic did. He cleaned up his game, while Murray blinked a bit, committing a series of errors to allow Djokovic to break for a 2-0 lead in the fifth set.

"A loose game" is the way Murray described it.

"Novak relaxed a little bit after that," he said.

One of Djokovic's two coaches, Marian Vajda, described his man as "reborn" in the fifth set.

"He regroups well during matches," Murray said. "He didn't at the beginning of his career, and now it's something that he does extremely well, physically and mentally."

The 2015 edition of Djokovic is close to unbeaten — and unbeatable.

The 28-year-old Serb, who got married and had a child last year, has spoken about being content off the court and supremely confident on it. Who would argue? He is 41-2 this season with five titles.

"He is a machine," Wawrinka said.

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