The first men’s Grand Slam champion of 2014 will be crowned Sunday at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Rafael Nadal will bid for history trying to become the first man in the Open Era to win two career Grand Slams. A second Australian Open would also give Nadal 14 overall Slams equaling Pete Sampras and putting him just three behind Roger Federer’s record 17.
Stanislas Wawrinka faces the task of not just beating Nadal in a final but ending a 12-match, 26-set losing streak to the Spaniard. The 28-year-old did just snap a similar skid to Djokovic, halting a 14-match slide to the Serb in the quarterfinals. But Wawrinka’s never beaten (0-15) a world No. 1 in his career.
NO. 1 RAFAEL NADAL (ESP) v NO. 8 STANISLAS WAWRINKA (SUI)
Head-to-head: Nadal leads 12-0
Wawrinka has never taken a set off Nadal in 12 previous meetings. This is their 3rd meeting at a Grand Slam.
This is Nadal’s most successful match-up. He has never defeated another player more times without loss than Wawrinka. Nadal has a 100% win record against 82 players (where multiple matches have been played).
One of Nadal and Wawrinka will become the first man in 8 years to win the title here after winning a pre-Australian Open tournament. Prior to coming here, Nadal won the title at Doha (d. Gael Monfils) while Wawrinka won the title at Chennai (d. Edouard Roger-Vasselin). Petr Korda (1998) and Roger Federer (2006) are the only 2 players in the last 16 years to win the Australian Open after winning a pre-tournament warm-up event. Both won the title at Doha before winning the Australian Open.
Top seed and 2009 Australian Open champion Nadal is bidding to win his 2nd Australian Open title and become the first man in the Open Era – and only the 3rd man in history – to win each of the 4 Grand Slam titles twice. Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only players to have won each Grand Slam on 2 or more occasions. NB: While Laver completed the feat in 1969, some of the titles were won before the start of the Open Era.
Nadal is looking to win his 14th Grand Slam title and equal Pete Sampras on the list of all-time Grand Slam title holders. He is currently 3rd on the list behind Roger Federer (17) and Sampras (14).
If Nadal wins today he would become the youngest man in history to win 14 Grand Slam titles. The Spaniard will be 27 years 237 days old on the final day of the tournament.
Nadal is through to the final here for the 3rd time on his 9th Australian Open appearance. His best performance at the Australian Open is winning the title in 2009 (d. Federer). He also reached the final in 2012, losing to Novak Djokovic in the longest men’s Grand Slam final on record at 5 hours 53 minutes. He is playing at the Australian Open for the first time since 2012, having missed the event last year with a knee injury.
At the 2010 US Open, Nadal became the 7th man in history to win all 4 Grand Slam titles. He was the 3rd-youngest in history and the youngest man in the Open Era, to do so.
By reaching his 19th Grand Slam final in his 37th major, Nadal has joined Ivan Lendl in equal-2nd place on the all-time list of most appearances in Grand Slam finals.
WAWRINKA is bidding to win a Grand Slam title for the first time in his first major final. He would be the 36th man in the Open Era to win their first Grand Slam title in their maiden final.
Wawrinka is the 99th different man in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam final. The last man to win a Grand Slam title in their maiden final was Juan Martin del Potro at the 2009 US Open.
If Wawrinka wins the title for the first time in his 36th Grand Slam appearance he will be in 2nd place for most Grand Slam appearances before winning the title behind Goran Ivanisevic (48). He is already in 2nd place for the most appearances at a major before reaching the final (36) behind David Ferrer (42).
If Wawrinka wins the title for the first time on his 9th Australian Open appearance, he will be in joint-1st place with Petr Korda for most Australian Open appearances before winning the title.
SUNDAY AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena 4:00 pm Start Time
1. Mixed Doubles – Final
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) vs. Sania Mirza (IND)
Daniel Nestor (CAN) Horia Tecau (ROU)
Not Before: 7.30pm
2. Men’s Singles – Final
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)
Rafael Nadal 1.14 v Stanislas Wawrinka 5.50
WEATHERUNDERGROUND MELBOURNE FORECAST
Sunny. High near 27C. Winds SE at 10 to 15 kmh.
Tonight: Clear skies. Low 19C. Winds NE at 15 to 25 kmh.
U.S. TELEVISION SCHEDULE
ESPN has live coverage of the men’s final starting at 3:30am Sunday morning. ESPN3.com will offer live streaming of Wawrinka-Nadal.
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