A spot in the French Open final is up for grabs on Friday when Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray’s grand slam rivalry enters uncharted waters in a first-time meeting between the pair in Paris.
The top-ranked Serb and third-seeded Scot have clashed in the finals of all three other majors, with Djokovic triumphing in three Australian Open deciders, including this year, and Murray reigning at the US Open in 2012 and at Wimbledon in 2013.
Both are unbeaten on clay this year and both are eyeing a small slice of tennis history at Roland Garros.
Twice a losing finalist to Rafael Nadal, Djokovic’s breakthrough quarter-final victory over the Spaniard has him two wins away from completing a rare career grand slam.
Already the first British man to make the last four three times in Paris, Murray is now striving to become the first from his country since Bunny Austin in 1937 to reach the final.
To do so, he must snap a seven-match losing streak against Djokovic, the rampant world No.1 enjoying a 27-match winning run in 2015.
“It’s going to be an extremely tough match,” Murray said after ousting former finalist David Ferrer in the semi-finals, the 28-year-old’s first success on clay against the tough Spaniard.
“I feel like to put yourself in position to win against the best players in the world, it’s not just about one day before the match; it’s about what you do in the whole of the build-up to it.
“And going into the match having not lost on clay this year and having some big wins on the surface is important for me.
“I will just keep doing what I have been doing: have a good practice tomorrow, recover and come up with a good game plan.”
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Stan Wawrinka will square off in Friday’s first semi-final starting at 1pm local time (9pm AEST).
Tsonga, the 14th seed, is hoping to become the first local finalist since Henri Leconte lost to Mats Wilander in 1988.
But he must break a sequence of four grand slam semi-final defeats since losing the 2008 Australian Open decider to Djokovic.
He lost to Ferrer in straight sets in the semi-finals in 2013 in Paris and was in little mood to celebrate his latest foray to the last four.
“It’s all very nice, but I’ve not yet won it,” Tsonga said after taking out Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori in five sets.
“My ambition is to go as deep as I can. I play to try and see how far I can go. I never set myself limits in terms of my results.”
Eighth-seeded Wawrinka, last year’s Australian Open champion who sent his Swiss Davis Cup-winning teammate Federer crashing out in the quarter-finals, is bidding to become the first man since Albert Costa in 2002 to make the final after falling in the first round the previous year.