Wawrinka beats injured Nadal to capture Aussie Open title|
Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Stanislas Wawrinka defeated an
injured Rafael Nadal in Sunday's men's final at the 2014 Australian Open.
The eighth-seeded Swiss upset the world No. 1 star 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 at
Melbourne Park's Rod Laver Arena, where the Spaniard labored mightily with a
back injury on Australia Day.
Trailing a set and a break, Nadal actually left the court for a medical
timeout in the second set, only to return to a chorus of boos.
The Grand Slam title is the first of Wawrinka's career, in his 36th major
event, as he becomes only the second-ever Swiss to corral a major singles
championship, joining the great Roger Federer, who was blown out by Nadal in a
semifinal here on Friday.
"Rafa, I'm really sorry for you, I hope your back is going to be fine, you're
a really great guy, good friend and really amazing champion," Wawrinka said
during the trophy presentation. "Last year I had a crazy match, I lost it. I
was crying a lot after the match. But in one year a lot happened -- I still
don't know if I'm dreaming or not but we'll see tomorrow morning."
In the fourth and final set on Sunday, Wawrinka broke Nadal for a 4-2 lead,
only to see the gritty Spaniard break right back to hang around.
Wawrinka, however, promptly broke Nadal again and then served out the bout on
his first match point by swatting one final forehand winner.
Wawrinka blew through the first set and was ahead in the second when Nadal
first showed signs of a back problems. A retirement looked like a real
possibility at the time, with mighty left-hander striking sub-80-mile-per-hour
The Lausanne native Wawrinka was aggravated during Nadal's medical timeout,
demanding that officials tell him why the Spaniard needed the break.
Wawrinka then aggressively finished off the second set before Nadal fought
back in the third.
Nadal saved break points to hold in the opening game of the third set and then
broke Wawrinka and held for a 3-0 lead.
He won the third set as Wawrinka started piling up some errors, with the
Swiss appearing unable to handle the pressure of being in his first Grand Slam
But Wawrinka composed himself once again in the fourth and ultimately cruised
The Swiss slugger prevailed in 2 hours, 21 minutes by firing 19 aces among his
53 winners (53-19) and tallying three more service breaks (5-2) than Nadal on
"He deserves to win the title," Nadal said of Wawrinka. "I'm very happy for
him, he's a great guy.
"I'm obviously disappointed and very sad about what happened. But that's life,
that's sport. I've really had a lot of great moments in my career. That's a
tough one. Just accept it and try to keep working hard for what's coming."
Nadal has had a tough go of it with injuries at the Aussie Open. He missed
last year's edition during a seven-month layoff with knee injuries and
illness, and his quarterfinal losses in 2010 and 2011 were affected by
Wawrinka had been 0-12 lifetime against Nadal, including a round-of-32 Aussie
Open loss in 2007, and had never taken a set off the Spanish great prior to
The 2009 champion Nadal was playing in his third career Aussie Open final
(1-2) and second in three years.
Wawrinka appeared in his first career Grand Slam final.
Nadal played in his 19th career Grand Slam final overall (13-6), tying
Ivan Lendl for second on the men's all-time list.
The 28-year-old Wawrinka will move up to a career-high No. 3 in the world
on Monday after beating the top-two players in the world this week. He
improved to 6-9 in his career finals overall, including 2-0 already in
2014, as he has yet to lose this year (10-0).
Wawrinka became the first player to beat both Nadal and Djokovic at a major
The last player to beat the top-two seeds at a Grand Slam was Sergi Bruguera
at the 1993 French Open.
The 27-year-old Nadal fell to 61-25 in his career finals, as he was trying to
become the first man in the Open Era to win each Grand Slam twice.
The "Big Four" of Nadal, Djokovic, Andy Murray and Federer had won 34 of the
previous 35 Slams.
American legend and 14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras was on the court
for the trophy presentation Sunday. A win by Nadal would have tied him with
Sampras on the men's all-time list.
Wawrinka colleted $2.35 million for the biggest win of his career, while Nadal
settled for $1.175 million.
01/26 09:39:53 ET