Stan Wawrinka defeats Novak Djokovic to win first French Open title
PARIS – Novak Djokovic's quest for the career Slam will have to wait yet another year. No. 8 seed Stan Wawrinka upended Djokovic's quest for his first French Open title, beating the No. 1 in the final 4–6, 6–4, 6–3, 6–4 to win his second major title. The win snapped Djokovic's 25-match winning streak and assured Wawrinka would move up to No. 4 in the ATP rankings on Monday.
The 30-year-old Swiss, who showed little signs of form during the clay lead-ups other than an impressive win over Rafael Nadal in Rome, came into Paris well under the radar. He proceeded to play like a man on a mission, armed with an unstoppable arsenal. He beat No. 2 Roger Federer behind 43 winners in the quarterfinals and blasted 60 to beat No. 14 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals. And then, against the best defender in the game, Wawrinka stepped up on Sunday to fire another 60 winners to beat Djokovic.
The biggest test for both men came in the fourth set. After getting broken to lose the third set and earning a racket abuse warning, Djokovic took advantage of a dip in form from Wawrinka to race to a 3-0 lead. But Wawrinka quickly responded to get the break back and reel off four straight games. Serving at 3-4, Djokovic quickly found himself down two break points. He played two of his best points in the set to save them and hold and then quickly found himself with triple break point in Wawrinka's next service game.
The Swiss, having thrown in a few nervy racket swings to give Djokovic 0-40 on his serve, stepped up to play five big points to hold to 4-4. He rode that wave of momentum to break Djokovic in the next game with a stinging backhand pass down the line and then served out the match.
Stan Wawrinka defeats Novak Djokovic 4–6, 6–4, 6–3, 6–4 to win the 2015 French Open.
Set 4, Wawrinka 6–4.
He needed two Championship Points but Wawrinka does it! The No. 8 stuns the No. 1 to win his second major title, first at the French Open.
With the win, Stan Wawrinka will rise to No. 4 in the rankings on Monday. He now has as many major titles as Andy Murray and he's done it, each time, being seeded No. 8 and beating the No. 1 seed in the final. First it was Nadal in Australia. Now Djokovic in Paris.
6:20 p.m., Wawrinka breaks! Leads *5-4: Down break point, on clay, in the French Open final, down two-sets to one, Djokovic decides to serve and volley. He actually pulls it off to save the point. But then he decides to serve and volley off a second serve at deuce and Wawrinka burns him on the return. Another break point for Wawrinka. After a long protracted rally ends with a stinging backhand pass winner down the line.
Wawrinka will serve for his first French Open title.
6:14 p.m., Wawrinka holds, tied 4-4*: Everything looks to be surging Djokovic's way all of a sudden. Wawrinka finds himself down 0-40 quickly thanks to his own nervous errors. But Wawrinka saves all three with some good tennis and big hitting. That was a gutsy hold from Wawrinka to stop Djokovic's momentum.
6:09 p.m., Djokovic holds, leads 4-3*: Two massive break point saves from Djokovic at the net! The best comes at 30-40 with Wawrinka stinging a backhand pass that looks destined for the open court but Djokovic lunges and gets a backhand volley into the court for a winner. Finally, the Serb lets loose some positive emotion. He goes on to hold.
6:02 p.m., Wawrinka holds, tied 3-3*: Some tired forehands from Djokovic now. This is danger time for the Serb.
5:58 p.m., Wawrinka breaks, trails 3-2*: Wawrinka gets the break off a 30 shot rally that he wins after Djokovic puts a very tired forehand into the net.
5:55 p.m., Wawrinka holds, trails 3-1*: This is a bit of a first set redux for Wawrinka. He played a poor service game then to gift the break and then he played a bad service game here to give Djokovic the advantage. If he cleans things up he should see some chances to break.
5:53 p.m., Djokovic holds, leads 3-0*: Solid as ever from Djokovic. He's taking advantage of Wawrinka's flat start.
5:46 p.m., Djokovic breaks, leads *2-0: Not a good service game from Wawrinka. Too many unforced errors and he misses a volley to give Djokovic break point. Then he misses a backhand wide to hand over the break. He's already hit five unforced errors in this set.
5:43 p.m., Djokovic holds, leads 1-0*: After a short bathroom break from Wawrinka, Djokovic comes out with a clean hold to start the third set.
Here's Djokovic talking about how he's improved as a player from his 2011 season until now:
"I just feel more complete as a player in terms of ability to handle the emotions on the court, to find a way to win the tough matches. Physically just matured. Just mentally knowing what to do, how to approach big tournaments, big matches, and how to keep that consistency going, not to have many ups and downs. Just 2011 was results-wise the best year of my career, no doubt about it. But this year I'm just able to, I'd say, handle things that are on the court and also off the court present in my life in a much better and more mature way. So I like the player that I am today more than the one that I was in 2011, even though I have had the best season of my career."
This is a big mental test here.
Set 3: Wawrinka, 6–3.
In the second and third sets, Wawrinka hit a combined 31 winners and 20 unforced errors (+11). Djokovic hit a combined 13 winners and 23 unforced errors (-10).
Complete Set 3 match stats:
Wawrinka wins the third set 6–3. Leads Djokovic 4–6, 6–4, 6–3: Cool, calm, collected. Wawrinka serves out the set at love. What in the world must Djokovic be thinking? Is he going to fall short of the French Open title once again?
5:33 p.m. STANIMAL! The Swiss just hit a backhand from off the court that curled around the net post and in for his 41st winner. That may have been the shot of the tournament. He's in the zone. Check it out:
5:28 p.m., Wawrinka holds, leads 5-2*: Djokovic snaps a streak of 10 points lost with a zinging backhand return winner to 30-15. Wawrinka sends a forehand long and wide and Djokovic has a look at 30-all.
Wawrinka snufs it out with more heavy hitting to the Djokovic forehand and the Serb can't handle the pace, sending it long. Wawrinka lets loose a big "COME ON!" But the momentum is brief. He throws in a double-fault and it's deuce.
Wawrinka overcooks a forehand long to give Djokovic a break-back point, which he saves with a good one-two combination off a big serve down the tee. That's his 40th winner on the day. He holds when Djokovic sends a lob long.
5:22 p.m., Wawrinka breaks, leads *4-2: Is this happening? Three monster points from Wawrinka and he earns triple break point on Djokovic and he only needs one. He earns a short ball and puts it away into the open court. Djokovic barely reacts. He just stands at the back of the court stunned.
5:18 p.m., Wawrinka holds, leads 3-2*: Love hold for Stan. He's surging ahead.
Then again, that's not how tennis scoring works.
5:14 p.m., Djokovic holds, tied 2-2*: Another good hold from Djokovic. But you still feel like he's vulnerable right now. Can Wawrinka pounce?
5:06 p.m., Wawrinka holds, leads 2-1*: From Wawrinka's side, he has to be happy about his ability to get so many looks at the Djokovic serve in this match. His conversion rate has been poor, but he got the break when he needed it in the 10th game of the second set. He's outhitting Djokovic by a fair margin now, with 33 winners to 27 unforced, while Djokovic has 17 winners to 25 unforced.
5:05 p.m., Djokovic holds, tied 1-1*: Wawrinka starts the set with a hold and then earns break point on Djokovic's serve at 30-40. Djokovic plays a great point to save it, pinning Wawrinka behind the baseline and painting the lines before he earns a short ball that he puts away with a volley into the open court. But Wawrinka earns another break point, which Djokovic saves with a good second serve that gets Wawrinka out of the court and again, Djokovic follows in a fantastic forehand approach to the Wawrinka forehand and puts down a good volley that Wawrinka can't get back.
Djokovic escapes with a hold. That was massive save from Djokovic after ending the second set in a fit of frustration. He has to get his head back on straight.
Set 2: Wawrinka, 6–4.
Wawrinka wins the second set 6–4. Match tied 6–4, 6–4.
There's the break! Slight lapse from Djokovic at 30-all, as he sprays a regulation backhand well wide to give Wawrinka his sixth break point of the day. This time Wawrinka hangs in there and finally gets the break when Djokovic misses a backhand long.
And there goes Djokovic's racket. He'll get a code violation for that double smash.
One set all. Here we go.
Complete Set 2 match stats:
4:47 p.m., Wawrinka holds, leads 5-4*: Good response from Wawrinka after that frustrating missed opportunity. He holds with relative ease.
4:46 p.m., Djokovic holds, tied 4-4*: Wawrinka just can't break. He earns his fifth break point of the match but again he can't convert, pushing a looping ball just long. At deuce, Djokovic gets Wawrinka on a drop shot and then on game point he drop shots him again. Wawrinka's angry. He whacks his racket on the net a few times out of frustration.
No one likes getting drop-shotted once, let alone twice.
4:36 p.m., Wawrinka holds, leads 4-3*: Wawrinka nearly makes a mess of a 40-0 game as he throws in a few unforced errors. The game gets to deuce but he wins the next two points to hold.
4:33 p.m., Djokovic holds, 3-3*: Wawrinka earns his third break point of the set but Djokovic does well to save it. He's winning 77% of his second serve points and he saves the break point when Wawrinka goes for a big second serve return and leaves the court wide open. Djokovic takes control and cleans up the point at the net and goes on to hold.
Wawrinka just not doing enough on these break points.
4:24 p.m., Wawrinka holds, 3-2*: A much-needed clean hold from Wawrinka.
4:21 p.m., Djokovic holds, tied 2-2*: Djokovic saves two break points but again, these were Wawrinka misses he just can't make. Both came off loose backhand errors long. That's the wing that has slowly destabilized as the match has worn on.
4:10 p.m., Wawrinka holds, leads 1-0*: The Swiss has to chastise himself for the poor service game he played to get broken. That was all on him. But he's not playing poorly on the whole.
Djokovic holds, tied 1-1*: No muss, no fuss for Djokovic.
Wawrinka holds, leads 2-1*: Good service game from Wawrinka. These two may just settle down now that the first set is over. The intensity level in the first set was off the charts.
Set 1: Djokovic, 6–4.
4:00 p.m., Djokovic wins the first set 6-4: Djokovic earns two game points at 40-15 after Wawrinka misses a forehand. Hawkeye apparently shows the ball was in but the umpire reads it wide. But with set points in hand Djokovic nearly duffs it. He had a put-away overhead on the net but doesn't do enough with it—and Wawrinka passes him down the line. Then he gets too cute, going for a drop shot on his second set point but Wawrinka tracks it down and eventually stuns him with a spinning backhand that he nets.
Djokovic saves break point and goes on to hold. That's the difference between Djokovic now and Djokovic in years past. He's so mentally strong.
Complete Set 1 stats:
3:50 p.m., Wawrinka holds, trails *5-4: Clean service game from Wawrinka to hold at 15. He unleashed a bazooka of a forehand crosscourt on game point to seal the game.
Djokovic will serve for the first set. He's serving at 82%, winning 83% of his first serve points. That's....very good.
3:47 p.m., Djokovic holds, leads 5-3*: Here come the errors from Wawrinka. He was in the positive for the first few games of this set but the unforced errors are starting to roll off his racket as he tries to hit through the Serbian Wall. He's at seven winners, 11 unforced errors. Djokovic is at five winners and six unforced errors.
3:43 p.m., Djokovic breaks, leads *4-3: The big question for Wawrinka was whether he could sustain a level that would trouble Djokovic. But this is what the Serb does. He keeps the pressure on you by easing through his own service games and waiting for his opponent to blink. Wawrinka just did. He gets broken to love thanks to two backhand unforced errors that set up 0-40, and then he throws in his first double-fault of the day.
3:36 p.m., Wawrinka holds, leads 3-2*: Neither man is taking these first few games lightly. They're hammering each other and making pressure moves from the get-go. Djokovic gets a 0-30 opening after Wawrinka tries to load up a big cross-court forehand and nets it. But Wawrinka sets up a perfect point to win an 11 shot rally and then does it again to get back to 30-all. Djokovic earns his second break point of the set at 30-40 but Wawrinka again comes through in a long rally, winning a 14-shot pounder to get back to deuce.
Djokovic did nothing wrong in that game. Wawrinka's confidence has be growing after finding himself down in his service games and stepping up to play near-perfect points to come out unscathed.
3:30 p.m., Djokovic holds, tied 2-2*: A slight opening for Wawrinka at 0-30 but Djokovic snuffs it out by winning four straight points. Great body serve to handcuff Wawrinka and hold.
3:26 p.m., Wawrinka holds, leads 2-1*: Wawrinka holds at love. Strong start for both men.
Here's what Wawrinka said after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals:
"He's been amazing so far this year winning every big title, playing his best test tennis ever, as he said, also. But, again, he never won French Open. If I have to play him in the final, for sure we both gonna be nervous. That's a fact."
3:25 p.m., Djokovic holds, tied 1-1*: Djokovic responds with a hold at 30.
3:19 p.m., Wawrinka holds, leads 1-0*: Wawrinka has to save break point in the first game but then he loosens up and begins to unload. He wins a 39 shot rally after hitting at least five heavy shots that would have been winners against anyone else. "How do you hit it past this bloke?" I hear a British colleague say mid-rally. Wawrinka finally holds with a big forehand winner down the line after doing well to open up the court.
If he hits like that all day, Djokovic is in trouble.
Warm-ups: It's another perfect day for tennis in Paris. The sun is out and Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka< are on court for their French Open final. Earlier in the day, Lucie Safarova ensured she wouldn't be leaving Paris without a championship trophy. Along with her partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the two won their second consecutive doubles title at a major after winning the first in January at the Australian Open.
So Serena Williams has completed the Aussie/French double. Mattek-Sands and Safarova have completed the Aussie/French double. Can Djokovic follow suit today?
Here's a stat for you before we begin: The No. 1 and No. 8 seeds have faced off in a Grand Slam final just once in the Open Era. It happened just last year at the Australian Open: When Wawrinka beat Rafael Nadal to win his first Slam title.
The Swiss will serve first.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic will try to complete his set of Slams trophies on Sunday when he faces No. 8 seed Stan Wawrinka in the French Open final.
The Coupe des Mousquetaires is the trophy Djokovic wants more than anything. He has fallen short twice at the hands of Rafael Nadal. Even in the face of a tough draw this year he's passed every hurdle with only the slightest of wobbles. In the quarterfinals he finally got his first win over Nadal in seven tries in Paris, throwing down a dominant straight set win. Then, in a tricky semifinal against the only other undefeated man on clay this season, Djokovic overcame a dip in form and a stoppage of play to beat Andy Murray 6–3, 6–3, 5–7, 5–7, 6–1 in a match that finished on Saturday afternoon.
Djokovic came into the tournament as the favorite given his monstrous eight months, which has seen him win every big title since November. In that span he has won the Australian Open, the last five ATP Masters 1000s and the ATP World Tour Finals. He has lost just two matches all season and is undefeated since February.
Of all the players that could have come out of the bottom half of the draw, Wawrinka may be the most dangerous final opponent for the Serb. Djokovic has won 17 of their 20 matches but given Wawrinka's late-career turnaround, their head-to-head is irrelevant. Their last four matches at the majors have all gone five sets, most recently in January in the semifinals of the Australian Open, which Djokovic won 7–6, 3–6, 6–4, 4–6, 6–0. With both men going for their first French Open titles on Sunday, how will nerves affect the match?
Who will take home the 2015 French Open trophy?
This post will be updated.