Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka fought back from a set down to claim the second Grand Slam title of his career with a thrilling victory over Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros in Paris.
Wawrinka, winner of last year’s Australian Open, demonstrated why he is considered among the top players in the world with a brilliant display to shock Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 to the delight of the crowd on Phillipe Chatrier.
Despite dropping the first set, the Swiss, who also beat compatriot and 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer on the way to his first French Open crown, rallied to overcome the Serbian in superb style.
The 30-year-old produced a truly breathtaking performance of brutal groundstrokes and unparalleled accuracy that left Djokovic unable to find his usual depth and rhythm.
The Serbian, unbeaten in 28 matches going in to the final, was bidding to become only the eighth man in tennis history to seal a career Grand Slam but the French Open title remained elusive due to a magnificent exhibition from Wawrinka.
“It was an incredible atmosphere on court and I felt emotion like I never have before,” the victorious Swiss said.
“I would like to thank my coach Magnus Norman.
“You played in the final twice without winning but this victory is yours as well as mine.”
Djokovic, forced to play for three straight days following an interruption due to stormy conditions in his semi-final win over Britain’s Andy Murray, started in commanding fashion on his way to taking the first set 6-4.
The second set was one which proved to be a wasted opportunity for Wawrinka until he broke the Djokovic serve in the 10th game to level proceedings at one set all.
This gave the Swiss star renewed vigour and he turned the contest on its head by securing the third set with an outrageous forehand winner.
The Serbian raced into a 3-0 lead in the fourth as Wawrinka found himself struggling to match the level he reached in sets two and three, before he managed to claw his way back to restore parity.
With the tense set all square at four games apiece, Wawrinka produced two rasping backhands, a shot that has become his trademark over the years, to give himself the chance to serve for the title.
It was one he took despite Djokovic’s refusal to give in and he clinched the French Open crown with a beautiful backhand down the line.
"There are things that are more important in life than victories and that is character and respect - Stan you are a great champion with big heart," the beaten Serb said.
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