Wawrinka: ‘I can beat the best’

Wawrinka will meet either Murray or Djokovic, who will resume their semi-final on Saturday after play was suspended on Friday night with Djokovic two sets to one up.

The extension means Wawrinka will carry a day’s additional rest into the final and that will be welcome as the world No 14 secured a hard-fought 6-3 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

One previous appearance in a major final, when he won the Australian Open last year, means Wawrinka is less experienced than either of his potential opponents – but the 30-year-old feels confident about his chances.

“When I play my best, I know I can beat all the players,” Wawrinka said.??”It’s changed in the past year. This is what I told Magnus (his coach Magnus Norman).

“If you look at the draw, in the past I’d say, ‘OK, who is going to play against whom? It’s going to be wonderful quarter-finals, semi-finals.

“Maybe I thought, maybe it’s going to be me if I can go deep. It’s true, it’s special. I know if I am here it’s because I’ve played well and because I deserve it.

“I feel this is my role. This is where I should be. But I’m not forgetting that this is huge for me.

“It is normal because I’m not in the ‘big four’ – they have all played 25 finals and won so many of those.”

Both potential rivals are chasing history – a title for Djokovic would complete the career Grand Slam while Murray could become the first British winner since 1935.

“Novak is a machine,” said Wawrinka, still in disbelief that he is one of the three men left standing.

“I still don’t understand what is happening. I look at my career and I have the impression I am saying it’s the final of Roland Garros. Who’s playing? You know, I am going to watch this final.

“And then this time, it’s me. But I am not forgetting that this is huge for me. It’s not normal because I am not in the ‘big four’.”

Tsonga dominated large spells in the sweltering heat on Philippe Chatrier but the Frenchman was made to rue 16 missed break points as Wawrinka dug deep to??hold on.

The Swiss was the more consistent and dominated the baseline, hitting 60 winners during the match to Tsonga’s 39.

“I feel great with my game in general, not only my serve.” Wawrinka said.??”I think today was more my game from the baseline. I feel strong. I’m playing well.

“Today it was a tough battle. Jo is always a tough player to play, especially when he’s playing at home here in Paris.

“The match could have gone his way also when he had so many chances to take advantage in the third set.

“I’m really happy and proud of the way I stayed together mentally.”

Tsonga’s defeat is his fifth in a major semi-final and continues France’s 32-year wait for a French male champion at Roland Garros.

“For sure it’s a little bit different here in France,” Tsonga said.??”Of course a lot of people are behind me and it’s great. They push me a lot.

“I have nothing special to say except thanks to everybody who supported me.

“I’m disappointed. I wish I could have won the match. But I did my best so I don’t have a lot of regrets.”

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