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Djokovic to play French Open semi away from main show court

Tennis - French Open Men's Singles Quarterfinal match - Roland Garros - Novak Djokovic of Serbia vs Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic - Paris, France - 02/06/16. Djokovic returns a shot. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen
Tennis - French Open Men's Singles Quarterfinal match - Roland Garros - Novak Djokovic of Serbia vs Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic - Paris, France - 02/06/16. Djokovic returns a shot. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - World number one Novak Djokovic will play his French Open semi-final on Friday away from the main show court after organisers were forced to stage four semi-finals on the same day in the rain-ravaged grand slam tournament.

Djokovic, looking to win the only major to elude him, will take on Austrian Dominic Thiem on Court Suzanne Lenglen after the completion of the women's last four encounter between Spain's Garbine Muguruza and Samantha Stosur.

Djokovic, who will be contesting his 30th major semi-final, is no stranger to playing a last-four showdown away from main stage. In 2007, his Wimbledon semi-final against Rafael Nadal took place on Court One. World number two Andy Murray and defending champion Stan Wawrinka will face each other on the main Court Philippe Chatrier following the match between women's holder Serena Williams and Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens. Tournament director Guy Forget, who has been criticised for allegedly pushing competitors to play in the rain on Tuesday following Monday's complete washout, said organisers wanted to ensure all players were treated equally.

After announcing that tickets for the Lenglen matches would cost 20 euros, he said: "Our priority is that we can play the finals on Saturday and Sunday.

"There is no ideal solution, you must find compromises. There is a choice to make... Tomorrow the playing conditions will be tough, the goal is to finish tomorrow's matches.

"To ensure fairness, we needed to start both men's semi-final at the same time so that both winners can have the same rest time."

The women's matches will start at 1100 GMT (7 AM ET) and the men's semi-finals will not start before 1300 GMT (9 AM ET).

Women's semi-finals at Roland Garros are usually played on Thursday and the men's on Friday.

The last time a French Open final was completed on a Monday was in 2012, when Nadal beat Djokovic. It was the first time since 1973 that the claycourt major's final was played on a Monday.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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