A severe storm warning left Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray on tenterhooks with their French Open semi-final suspended midway through the fourth set on Friday night.
Djokovic was leading two sets to one, 6-3 6-3 5-7 3-3, with games on serve in the fourth set when play was stopped under threatening dark clouds and fading light at Roland Garros.
Swiss eighth seed Stan Wawrinka will face the winner in Sunday’s title match after ending home hopes for another year with a tense 6-3 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first semi.
Djokovic had been cruising towards his third final in Paris after taking the first two sets against Murray in a canter.
Having succumbed to the world No.1 in their past seven meetings, Murray appeared ready to fold again after gifting Djokovic three service breaks to be staring down the barrel.
But chasing an elusive first French Open crown to complete his grand slam set, Djokovic grew nervy and began to misfire with the finish line in sight.
Out of nowhere, Murray broke Djokovic in the 12th game of the third set to breath fresh life into the contest.
Tensions rose as Murray became visibly agitated at Djokovic’s extended time out in the locker room after losing the set.
The top seed had Murray at love-40 in his first service game upon the resumption, but the former Wimbledon and US Open champion dug in to hold and then break Djokovic to love amid a run of 10 straight points for the underdog.
After a relatively dull first couple of hours as Djokovic dominated, suddenly both players grew more and more animated with every point won – or lost.
Alas, the pair must return on Saturday to resume battle at 1pm (9pm AEST) as Wawrinka awaits.