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Swashbuckling Gulbis to challenge Djokovic in French Open semis


PARIS, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Ernests Gulbis of Latvia will challenge Novak Djokovic for a berth in the French Open final after beating sixth seed Tomas Berdych with a swashbuckling performance on Tuesday.

Second-seeded Djokovic stayed firmly on course to win his first Roland Garros title by taming big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic.

Gulbis, 25, known for his colorful behavior and funny comments off the court, stormed to a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win.

"It was my best match of the tournament so far. Everything worked. Tomas was getting angry because I was hitting the lines all the time but, sorry, that's part of the sport," said Gulbis who dismissed Swiss legend Federer in the fourth round.

Djokovic worked hard to hold off Raonic 7-5, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.

"It was very complicated against his serve which is so precise and powerful but I'm really happy," said the six-time Grand Slam title winner.

"It was difficult to return and important for me to keep concentration but I'm delighted to be in the semi-finals," he said.

In the women's draw, Maria Sharapova is into the semi-finals of the French Open after the former champion came from a set down to beat Garbine Muguruza 1-6 7-5 6-1.

"There was little I could do in the first set as Garbine was playing so well," said Sharapova.

"I needed to pick up my energy and start moving my feet. It was tough losing the final last year and it has given me greater motivation to go one step further this time," she said.

In the semi-final, the seventh-seeded Russian will face Bouchard, who overcame Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro in three sets.

Bouchard edged the first set on a tie-break but lost the second set before bouncing back to claim a 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 7-5 victory and book her place in the final four.