Stan Wawrinka must get past Rafael Nadal to remain perfect in Grand Slam finals
It’s no Federer-Nadal, but the most textured sub-rivalry in tennis puts Andy Murray against Stan Wawrinka. They’ve each won three major titles. They both would be once-in-a-generation players, were it not for the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic triad. They were at No. 1 and 3 in the seedings entering the 2017 French Open. They added to compendium on Friday.
A rematch of last year’s semifinal—which Murray won in four sets—the two exchange tracer fire, but also nuance and momentum, for four-and-a-half-hours. When Murray failed to close out the match in the fourth set tiebreaker, he had no more ammo left in the chamber. Still well armed, Wawrinka squeezed off another round of aces and winner and closed out a demi-classic 6-7, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6, 6-1. In the end, he didn't just beat Murray; he broke him.
Wawrinka has achieved a great deal in tennis. Three majors, including Roland Garros in 2015. He’s made an enviable habit of playing his best tennis at the biggest events. He’s been particularly strong at the French Open, where’s won 18 of his last 19 matches. One thing he’s never done: lost in a Grand Slam final. He’ll try and keep it that way on Sunday.