Stan Wawrinka is a 3-time Grand Slam champion! Wawrinka added to his resume today claiming the US Open title stunning top seed and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-7(1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 in 3 hours, 55 minutes.
“This is amazing, for sure, amazing two weeks,” said Wawrinka. “I spend so much time on the court. Today I knew it will be a really tough battle again playing the No. 1 player, Novak Djokovic, who always push you to play your best tennis if you want to beat him.
“Honestly after the match I was completely empty. I put everything on the court. Not only today, but the past two weeks,” he added. “Today I was trying to stay with him. I was trying to be tough with myself. Trying not to show anything. Not to show any pain. Not to show any cramp. Not to show anything. I was suffering on the court, but I’m happy and proud with what I have achieved today.”
The title was Wawrinka’s first at the US Open, adding to his crowns at the 2014 Australian and 2015 French Open. And in all three title runs he beat the World No. 1, twice defeating a top-ranked Djokovic (he also beat Novak in the Australian quarterfinals).
The tournament favorite Djokovic was in his 21st Slam final and seeking a 13th overall Slam and third US Open.
“I lost my nerves in the important moments<” said Djokovic. “He kept his cool. I think that’s what decided the match. I guess sometimes it happens, even though you have the experience and know what to do. Just the heat of the moment and importance of the match, I guess, you know, was too strong for me at certain periods of the match. Just if you lose your cool, the match can go away.”
Wawrinka, though, got off to a rocky start falling behind early 4-1. With Djokovic serving for the first 5-3, a minor shift in momentum took place. Djokovic’s poor summer of serving bit him again, double faulting the break away. Wawrinka pressed to reach the breaker but didn’t win another point after taking one of the best rallies of the night to move to 1-2.
Wawrinka’s confidence continued to climb in the second. This time he broke Djokovic early and went up 4-1. But the lead quickly evaporated.
Djokovic couldn’t capitalize. Serving 4-5 he was once again broken and after almost two hours we were knotted.
The crowd was in full throat as the third began and Wawrinka had to do some work immediately to hang on. He saved three breakpoints in the first game then broke Djokovic again before going up 3-0.
Djokovic fought right back getting the break but late in the set his serve faltered again.
Up 30-0 and headed for a break, Djokovic couldn’t hold the lead and Wawrinka won the last three points to take set 3 for a 2-1 lead.
The Serb was now faced with having to do something he’d never done before: win a Slam from down two sets to one.
Wawrinka, though, continued to gain strength while Djokovic was physically falling apart. In his second service, Djokovic appeared to cramp. Visibly hobbled, he was broken.
Down 3-1, Djokovic went to the chair for a controversial medical timeout for a toe injury. Rules recommend timeouts be taken on changeovers or end of sets, but are allowable if they are “acute”. Nevertheless, Djokovic was granted the time out as a frustrated Wawrinka watched.
“For me I was fine,” Wawrinka said of the time outs. “It was just have to focus on my body and make sure that I was going to be ready for the first point we play after that.”
Stan jumped ahead 30-0 before feeling the tension, and he had to save three break points to hold.
At 5-2, Djokovic had some more medical work done on his toe, which was seen to now be bloody. He held forcing Stan to serve it out.
Wawrinka fell to 0-30 but recovering to win it.
Djokovic finished 3/17 on break points and hit 30 winners to 46 unforced errors. He had just 5 backhand winners to 16 unforced and he had 7 double faults, 3 in the final set.
“I just didn’t capitalize at all on my opportunities,” Djokovic said. “I had plenty of them, break points. It was a terrible conversion of the break points. Just terrible from my side.
“You know, in the matches like this, if you don’t use the opportunities, the other guy comes and takes it. And that’s what he did. That’s why I said he was more courageous, because he stepped in and played aggressive where I was kind of more waiting for things to happen. And that’s it.”
And he also wasn’t pleased with his serving.
“I made a lot of double faults throughout this tournament,” Djokovic said. “I was struggling with that shot and with, you know, with the motion, with the movement and on the serve, with the technique because of what I carried into this tournament.”
Wawrinka ended the day with 46 winners to 51 unforced and in the final set his winner-error ratio was 12-to-4. He also won 32 of 57 rallies 9 of more shots.
The loss does leave the door open for Andy Murray to make a run at Djokovic for the No. 1 ranking.
Wawrinka matches Andy Murray in Grand Slams and is one closer to the Scot to the career Slam now needing Wimbledon to complete it.
Wawrinka also moves ahead of Roger Federer winning his second Slam after the age of 30. And despite a 5-19 shortfall against Djokovic, Stan’s won three of their last four in Slams.
“He loves to play in the big matches,” Djokovic said of the Swiss. “He comes up with his best game. He’s so solid from both corners. He’s got a good slice and amazing one-handed backhand, all corners. Big serve. Moves well.
“He’s a very complete player. Sometimes if he feels right he doesn’t miss much and makes a lot of winners and it’s hard to play him. That’s what happened today.”
Wawrinka has now won his last 11 tournament finals and is a perfect 3-0 in Grand Slam finals.
“Today, before the final, I was really nervous like never before,” he said. “I was shaking in the locker. When we start five minutes before the match talking, last few things with Magnus, I start to cry. I was completely shaking.
“But the only thing I was convinced with myself that my game was there. Physically I was there. My game was there. Put the fight on the court and you will have a chance to win.”
And win he did.
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