Wawrinka Stops Djokovic for 1st ATP Title

Posted on July 31, 2006

Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka claimed his career first ATP crown at the Studena Croatia Open Sunday when No.4 seed Novak Djokovic had to retire with respiratory problems. Wawrinka was down 3-1 in the first set tie-break when Djokovic decided to stop.

The 21-year-old, who is currently No.69 in the INDESIT ATP Rankings reached a career-high of No.46 earlier this season.

This was the Swiss second ATP final appearance. Last year he fell in the Gstaad final (at his home country) to former Roland Garros champion Gaston Gaudio.

With the win Wawrinka became the eighth first-time ATP winner this season: Nieminen (Auckland), Murray (San Jose), Stepanek (Rotterdam), Horna (Acapulco), Almagro (Valencia), Bracciali (Casablanca) and Djokovic (Amersfoort).

Djokovic was riding a nine-match winning streak prior to today's final. Last week in Amersfoort he captured his first ATP crown without dropping a set.

The Serbian teen, who is at a career-high No. 28 in the INDESIT ATP Rankings, slipped to 28-12 on the year. Despite today's loss, Djokovic has been playing his best tennis as of late. In his past five tournaments he has reached the final here, won Amersfoort, reached the fourth round at Wimbledon (where he pushed Mario Ancic to five sets), the second round of 's-Hertogenbosch and the quarterfinals of Roland Garros (l. eventual champion Nadal).
-- ATP