Nadal just 1 step away from 'La Decima' in Paris
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 10, 2017,
Jun 10, 2017, 10:23
At 32, Wawrinka is the oldest men's finalist at Roland Garros since 33-year-old Niki Pilic in 1973, but Wawrinka is built like an ox and has the stamina of a marathon runner. I know I was dominating even though I was down two sets to one.
"With this sort of atmosphere, this sort of crowd, it was incredible to play in this match", Wawrinka said courtside.
It was probably sweeter for Wawrinka because he managed to win despite blowing break leads in the first and third sets.
There were plenty of opportunities to break in the penultimate set, but with neither player able to capitalise, a tie-break loomed large for the second time in the semifinal. Not only that, but no opponent has taken more than four games in a single set.
"Physically I didn't feel my best at the end".
Murray absorbed everything Wawrinka threw at him for most of the four hour and 34 minute match but after winning a tense fourth set Wawrinka steamed ahead in the decider as Murray's armour was finally pierced. Wawrinka made his intentions clear from the off, crushing 12 winners in the first five games, majority off his forehand.
Wawrinka finished a total of 87 winners, also suffering 77 unforced errors, with 36-36 for Murray.
The Scot won five of the last six games to take the set, and looked favourite to claim the fourth with Wawrinka showing his frustration. Even when you're playing well, you're not going to win every match you play, but I put myself in a position to reach a slam final.
Wawrinka may have benefited from good fortune in that contest - Nadal sustained a back injury in the warmup and far from 100% - yet there is no doubting Wawrinka's ability to blow winners past anyone.
This year marks Nadal's 10th French Open final in 13 tries, and he has never fallen short of the title upon reaching this juncture.
Murray won the first set 7-6 (6) and Wawrinka won the second 6-3. "I wasn't always happy with that", Wawrinka said through a grin.
Murray battled grimly to avoid a love set but Wawrinka finished the match in the manner in which he had played it, with his 87th victor.
Fish defeated Nadal one time in nine career matches (on Cincinnati hard courts in 2011), but was reminded of something that he might have been trying to forget.
They will be second on Court Philippe Chatrier, after top-ranked Andy Murray takes on third-seeded Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 champion.
"I just want to enjoy this and make the most of the moment".
But it turns out that Wawrinka's match with Andy Murray - a battle between veterans who've won three majors - was the standout encounter. Few who saw him power through a Novak Djokovic at the peak of his powers in 2015 could doubt what Wawrinka brings his best to the biggest stages.
Just the two games later, Nadal found himself serving for the opener up 5-3.
Things reversed in the seventh game: a couple of missed lines by Murray and a couple of winners from Wawrinka, and the Swiss had a love break. "It is obvious that you need to combine a lot of things, and a lot of things have to come together to have that record".
The 30-year-old admitted that Wawrinka was the stronger of the two.