Wawrinka surprised injured Nadal in his way for his first Grand Slam title


[notice noticeType=”info”] Stanislas Wawrinka with the trophy | Tennis Australia Photo, © by Ben Solomon[/notice]

This is it. The first Grand Slam of the season is officially closed. The tournament that was full of of surprises closed with the biggest surprise when the Swiss world number eight, Stanislas Wawrinka surprised the favorite of the tournament, world number one, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
nadal injured

Rafael Nadal suffering during the match | Tennis Australia Photo, © by Ben Solomon

The Swiss won with 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 in a match that will be remembered as a great surprise. During the match Nadal suffered by a left lower back injury and was close to during the second set before battling on.

It was the first victory for the Swiss over Nadal in 13 meetings between them. Wawrinka, who is 28-year old had not won a single set against the Spaniard before Sunday night. This victory placed Wawrinka as world number three when the rankings were released on Monday.

It was Wawrinka’s first Grand Slam title after 36 attempts. While Nadal was betrayed by his back and played bad match, Wawrinka’s play was worthy of a Grand Slam winner, especially during the opening set where he crashed Nadal and hit one great winner after another.

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“I feel I play my best tennis during one set and one break, that’s for sure,” said Wawrinka after the match and added  “I was feeling really good on the court. I was moving well, feeling really aggressive, and I play my best set for sure by far. Then (it) wasn’t easy. He wasn’t serving at all, he wasn’t moving during one set. Then (it) was a completely different match. I had to focus on myself, to try to find the way just to win it. I saw that and I knew it was really, really difficult for him. I was unhappy for that because normally that’s not the way I want to win the match. But it’s a final. At the end I won in four sets. I think I finish well the match. To get the win, it’s just amazing for me.”

Nadal pulled up short in the third game of the second set, clutching at his lower left back and suffering from pain. Grimacing from pain, the Spaniard left the court for a medical treatment and could barely serve when he returned to the court. Wawrinka won the second set in just 38 minutes, while Nadal’s face regularly contorted in pain. 

After the match, Nadal admitted that his back began to bother him from the early stages at the pre-match warm-up. The pain worsened after the 37th minute at the first set.

“At the beginning of the second (set) was the key moment that I felt, during a serve in a bad movement, is very stiff, very bad,” said world number one. (The) last thing that I wanted to do was retirement. I hate to do that, especially in a final. Same time, is tough to see yourself during the whole year you are working for a moment like this, and arrives the moment and you feel that you are not able to play at your best. Was not an easy situation for me to be on court like this, but I tried hard until the end, trying to finish the match as good as I can for the crowd, for the opponent, for me. So that’s what I did: tried everything until the last moment, but was impossible to win this way.”

Wawrinka moment of victory

Stanislas Wawrinka at the moment of the victory | Tennis Australia Photo, © by Ben Solomon

During the third set Wawrinka lost focus, while the Spaniard used it for his advantage. The top seed broke the Swiss in the second game and rserved for increasing his advantage. Wawrinka had chances to break Nadal in the ninth game, but netted a forehand to gift to Nadal the third set with his 15th unforced error.

During the fourth level,Wawrinka increased his game level but Nadal fought back.  Rafa who continued his momentum from the third set finally was broken in the sixth game when Wawrinka shot a clean forehand winner to take the decisive break. The Spaniard immediately handed the break back with a nervy error-strewn service game, but the Swiss quickly broke Nadal again, amd was one serving game from the title.

Wawrinka shot two great first serves for 30-0, and sealed the biggest win of his career with his 51st winner of the match in two hours and 21 minutes. Beside the trophy and the prize money, the Swiss took the third place in the world which is his higher ever ranking.

Nadal lost god chance to become one of just three men, along with Roy Emerson and Rod Laver, to win all four Grand Slams at least twice, and missed out on drawing level with Pete Sampras who has 14 Grand Slam titles for being second on the all-time list behind another Swiss, former world number one, Roger Federer who has 17 and lost to Nadal at the semifinals of the tournament.

titles photo

Stanislas Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal with the prizes and Pit Sampras | Tennis Australia Photo, © by Ben Solomon

It was second loss for Nadal in an Australian Open final, the 27-yearold Spaniard lost in five sets to the Serbian Novak Djokovic in 2012. Nadal also retired in the quarterfinals of Australian Open 2010, and was injured in at the same stage one year later, and missed last year’s tournament altogether with a knee injury.

“It is true that I was not very lucky and this is a tournament that is painful for me,” he said. “Is a tournament that I feel the conditions are good for me, warm conditions that I like, good crowd. Is a tournament that I really had some troubles physically in my career and is something that is painful for me. But that’s part of life, that’s part of sport. Is not the end of the world, is just another tough moment.” Added the unlucky world number one.

Nadal VS Wawrinka

[notice noticeType=”info”] Match stats | Source:[/notice]

Match highlihts

Aleksejus Podpruginas
Aleksejus Podpruginas is The Baltic Review author based in Israel

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