Wawrinka conquers Djokovic to take French Open title
Swiss slugger overwhelms the world number one to record a stunning second Grand Slam title
Stanislav Wawrinka produced a huge upset in the final of French Open final to deprive overwhelming favourite Novak Djokovic of a career Grand Slam, as he defeated the Serbian world number one 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 at Roland Garros.
The final had been expected to be a procession for Djokovic who was bidding to become only the eighth man ever to win all four major tennis titles. Having dispatched Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray on his way to the final, he was expected to see off his Swiss opponent with ease.
Indeed, Wawrinka seemed destined to be remembered more for his garish choice of shorts than his tennis as Djokovich won the first set, capitalising on a poor service game at 3-3.
But from there on in the 28-year old Wimbledon champion could not match the aggression of Wawrinka, as he hit a total of 60 winners and forced the Serb into uncharacteristic errors from the baseline. A barrage of winners overpowered Djokovic in the second set and the world number one was left helpless as Wawrinka's devastating backhand began to dominate proceedings.
The shot of the tournament sealed the third set as the Swiss star hit an outrageous backhand winner around the net post. There was still a feeling that Djokovich would somehow prevail, but that began to fade as he wasted a 3-0 lead in the fourth set Wawrinka came storming back with yet another onslaught of baseline winners.
Even in the face of a break point when serving for the championship, Wawrinka remained ice cool and a big serve got him out of trouble before he sealed the victory with another trademark backhand down the line.
Wawrinka's win means his Grand Slam final record is played two, won two in a career which has been overshadowed by that of his compatriot Rodger Federer – who he beat in this year's quarter-finals.
After the match Wawrinka declared he had played the "game of his life" but many in the stands and watching at home were left wondering if Djokovic was feeling the effects of his rain-affected five-set victory over Andy Murray in the semi-finals. To his credit, the Serb refused to blame tiredness on the defeat insisting Wawrinka was "the better player who deserved to win".
According to The Guardian, the victory marks a change in fortunes for Wawrinka, who announced that he had split from his wife in April and suffered a dip in form afterwards. However, the Swiss, who has a "fail better" tattoo inked on his left forearm, has now won two of the last six Grand Slam titles.
His triumph will once again raise questions about the demise of the so called 'Big Four' in the game and Wawrinka now has the same number of Grand Slam titles as Murray, even though the Scot has appeared in 16 semi-finals (compared to Wawrinka's four) and eight finals.
Luck may have played a part in Wawrinka's results, particularly considering Djokovic had to beat Nadal and Murray to get to the final while Wawrinka only had to beat the declining Federer and an inconsistent Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
But Wawrinka's ability to get the job done against the very best should not be discounted, after all it was he, not Murray, that managed to defeat the world number one in both his Grand Slam victories.