Zee Media Bureau/ Suyash Srivastava
Melbourne: Stanislas Wawrinka was supposed to play his best tennis in the men's singles final against World No. 1 Rafael Nadal. And the Swiss did exactly that to defeat the mighty Spaniard 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 at the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.
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The 26-year-old was too good for Nadal, who was seen struggling with a back problem in the latter part of the match. Right from the word go, Wawrinka was dictating terms as he didn't give Nadal an inch to free his arms.
Wawrinka broke Rafa's serve early in the first set, in the fourth game. He had another break point in the sixth game of the same set but the Spaniard held his serve.
Nadal missed out on a big opportunity when he had three break points in the ninth game of the first set. Wawrinka was trailing 0-40, but he won four consecutive points and served an ace to win the first set in just 37 minutes.
Wawrinka continued to show his brilliance even in the second set where he immediately broke Nadal's serve in his first service game, which was the first game of the set.
But the turning point of the match was probably when trailing at 1-2 in the second set, Nadal called for his physio and took a medical time out which left Wawrinka annoyed to an extent. When Rafa resumed play, he wasn't at his best and their was a huge drop in the speed of his serves which was an added advantage for the Swiss who went for the kill.
At one stage, it looked as if Nadal won't be able to complete the match, but the Spaniard not only hung there, but also won the third set. Rafa required medical attention on his back on a few other occasions as well, where the physio was seen helping him on the court.
By the end of the third set, Rafa was slowly getting back in his groove and he gave a tough fight to the Swiss in the nine games of the fourth set, before bowing out in four sets.
Despite not having won a single match against Nadal in their 12 outings, a lot was expected from Wawrinka since the Swiss knocked out the defending champion and Nadal's old nemesis Novak Djokovic in their quarter-final match. And Stan lived up to all those expectations and didn't let the pressure of playing in his first Grand Slam final affect his game.
Wawrinka has now become the first player to defeat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in a Grand Slam. The victory has also done wonders to his ATP ranking and he is the new No. 3.
The defeat shattered Nadal's hope of becoming the first player in modern era to have won all the Grand Slams twice. The victory would have also tied him with Pete Sampas's record of 14 Major titles.