9-time champ Nadal faces Wawrinka in French Open men's final
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 11, 2017,
Jun 11, 2017, 21:50
He faltered when serving at 5-3 in the first set and wasted a set point in the tiebreak before Murray conjured some magic to snatch the opener. In the Open era the only men who have conceded fewer games before a Grand Slam final are Guillermo Vilas, who dropped 26 in reaching the US Open final in 1977 (when matches were played over the best of three sets in the first four rounds), and Bjorn Borg, who lost 27 en route to the 1978 final here.
Wawrinka will be the 3rd oldest victor of the men's title if he succeeds against all the odds in the French Open.
Nadal certainly won't be taking Wawrinka lightly Sunday, though: He is a ideal 3-0 in grand slam finals, memorably topping the left-hander to open his account in Melbourne in 2014. He's also won the title at the Australian Open and the US Open, so he's no stranger to pressure at this level.
Beating Nadal on any clay surface is an achievement.
Murray admitted that Wawrinka was the stronger player in the end.
It took the fourth-seeded Nadal just over two hours to win 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, with the Spaniard sealing it on his second match point when Wawrinka sliced a backhand volley into the net. Nadal fended off further break points and held for 4-1.
"I'm proud of the tournament I had", Murray said.
Wawrinka is just 3-15 against Nadal and just 1-6 against him on clay.
Wawrinka pointed to his right temple, as he often does to celebrate success on key points, and was on his way to the final.
So Nadal stayed away from that side early, going instead after Wawrinka's forehand.
All the third seed could do was applaud.
That Wawrinka hadn't dropped a set prior to the semifinals helped him against Murray.
He has dropped a measly total of 29 games through six matches, back to his dominating best on clay after withdrawing from the French Open before the third round a year ago with an injured left wrist. Everything Wawrinka tried was returned to him with interest, not that the 32-year-old ever stopped fighting.
He lost the next two points as well to give Nadal another break and the Spaniard raced across the finish line. It's his 15th Grand Slam win, which means he has now surpassed Pete Sampras on the all-time Grand Slam wins leaderboard, trailing only Roger Federer, who has 18.
"But I'm happy with what I did on court, the way I was fighting, even if I was down". "If he can play there without being troubled with his knee, it will be very important". He will be up for keeping Nadal out there for as long as possible.
"The nerves, the adrenaline that I feel when I play in this court is impossible to compare".
"I think I don't make more history".
While Nadal lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires, a huge banner was unveiled in the stands saying, "Bravo Rafa".