Andy Murray v Novak Djokovic: Lowdown on French Open semi

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Roland Garros
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray
Djokovic (l) holds the aces in head-to-head terms, winning 18 of their 26 meetings

Andy Murray will attempt to end a two-year losing streak against Novak Djokovic when the pair meet in Friday's French Open semi-finals.

The Briton, seeded third, faces the world number one in the second match in Paris at around 15:00 BST.

Home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga plays Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka in the first semi-final at 12:00.

Storms and temperatures exceeding 30C are forecast to hit Roland Garros on Friday afternoon.

Murray v Djokovic - the numbers
The pair have met 26 times
Djokovic leads 18-8 and has won the last seven matches
The Serb is on a 27-match winning streak and is 40-2 this year
Murray is on a 15-match winning run on clay
They have met twice on clay, with Djokovic winning both times, most recently in Rome in 2011
Djokovic is trying to complete his set of major titles and become the eighth man to win the career Grand Slam of Wimbledon, Australian, French and US Opens
Murray beat David Ferrer for the first time on clay in the semis, Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal for the first time at Roland Garros
Murray's last victory over Djokovic was in the 2013 Wimbledon final

Mercury rising

After a settled fortnight in Paris that has seen one significant rain delay, Friday looks far more unpredictable.

A temperature of 32C is forecast, with scattered thunderstorms expected from mid-afternoon.

"If it does get up to that temperature, it will obviously make it tougher physically and it will change the way that the court plays," said Murray, 28. "It obviously makes it quicker.

"That's a very, very significant difference to the beginning of the tournament. We were playing in 14, 15 degrees."

Murray prepared for pain

"It's going to be extremely difficult, I'm aware of that," Murray made clear when asked to give his thoughts on the semi-final.

The British number one has lost to the Serb at the last two Grand Slams, both times in four sets, in their 2014 US Open quarter-final and the Australian Open final this year.

Andy Murray on serve at the French Open
Murray has been in solid form at Roland Garros, but says the Djokovic match will "not be plain sailing"

Both matches saw Murray's challenge fade in the third and fourth sets, and the Scot added: "If I want to win the match, it's not going to be plain sailing.

"It's very unlikely that you'll be comfortable physically. It will be difficult, and you need to prepare yourself mentally before you go out on to the court."

Djokovic's fighting talk

"I know his game," said Djokovic. "I'm going to try to prepare myself well."

Djokovic appears to be a man intent on winning in Paris, the only question being whether he has peaked too early with that straight-sets victory over Spaniard Rafael Nadal.

Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal
Of the four Grand Slams, only the French Open title so far eludes Djokovic (l)

"I'm aware that this is a big win," said the Serb. "But tomorrow is a new day and I have to move on.

"It's only the quarter-finals and I want to fight for the title. That's what I came here for. I have to kind of direct my thoughts to the semis."

France expects

The focus of attention for those on Court Philippe-Chatrier is likely to be the first semi-final, as Tsonga continues his bid to become the first Frenchman since Yannick Noah in 1983 to win the title.

His semi-final against Wawrinka has been scheduled first, after Tsonga suffered a straight-sets loss to Spaniard David Ferrer at the same stage two years ago.

Analysis, BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller
"If beating Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros used to be the toughest challenge in tennis, it's now beating Novak Djokovic ... anywhere.
"Since his son Stefan was born last October, Djokovic has won the Australian Open, the World Tour Finals and all five Masters events he's contested.
"Murray has promised to take control of his side of the net and to remain mentally strong - as he was unable to do for long enough in January's Australian Open final.
"It may help that none of the seven defeats Djokovic has dished out to him since Wimbledon 2013 have come on clay. Murray is playing exceptionally well, and may convince himself that he has nothing to lose."

That match was played in an almost empty stadium as it followed an epic Nadal-Djokovic encounter, and organisers do not want Tsonga's second opportunity to be as sparsely attended.

"I think Wawrinka has a real chance for this title," said 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash. "He's so full of confidence, beating his hero Roger Federer in straight sets in the quarter-finals.

"Tsonga hasn't got a lot of 'runs on the board' this season, so I'm wondering if his legs will finally give out and the [need for] concentration will just get a bit too much for him, with the [home] fans and everything."

Can Murray win?

"The numbers for Andy Murray have been very strong but it's a big call," said Mark Woodforde, Australia's 12-time Grand Slam doubles champion.

"It's going to be a close first set but I just think over the five-set format, Novak has shown us a whole lot more this tournament.

"Winning Munich and Madrid against strong player fields, Andy's arrived here in the best clay-court form. He's just beaten someone he's never beaten on clay before.

"It's building for Andy but, boy, he's going to have to play three sublime sets of tennis against someone who is playing at an incredibly high standard."

Follow live text commentary of Friday's French Open semi-final here from 11:30 BST approx.

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