Paris: World No.9 Stanislas Wawrinka claimed his second Grand Slam title and maiden French Open crown after beating world No.1 Novak Djokovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in the final here on Sunday.
Djokovic’s dream of completing the career Grand Slam went in vain as the Swiss outplayed the eight-time Grand Slam champion in a four-set thriller here, thus claiming his second Grand Slam crown after winning his first in 2014 Australian Open.
Wawrinka staved off an immediate break point in the opening game of the match, and a pulsating 39-shot rally punctuated a hard-fought hold for the Swiss.
But Djokovic’s efforts to take a first-set lead would not be thwarted two games later, breaking to love when Wawrinka double faulted down 0/40.
With former World No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten and Bjorn Borg in attendance, along with Mansour Bahrami and actor Clive Owen, Djokovic, with some top shots, claimed the first set 6-4.
Wawrinka came back strongly in the second set, winning a pair of break chances to take a 3-1 lead.
With Djokovic serving at 4-5 30/0, the Swiss struck a sublime return on a leaping kick serve and laced a backhand winner.
A backhand unforced error would give Wawrinka his sixth break point of the match – and first set point – and this time he would not let it slip, forcing the top seed to misfire from the baseline after a grueling exchange of backhand power. Four straight points from 30/0 down for the eighth seed and the match was drawn level at a set apiece.
As the third set began, the Swiss continued to apply the pressure on Djokovic. But the World No. 1 was ruthless with his back against the wall, saving an additional three break points in the second game.
With the momentum vacillating between the two competitors in the early stages of the third set, Wawrinka saw another opening on Djokovic’s serve and finally converted.
A near-flawless return game granted him a 0/40 lead behind two roped backhand winners and he would break to love, pulling ahead 4-2. He ripped 15 winners and won 19 of 21 first serve points in the third, claiming all six points when venturing to the net.
Wawrinka’s fortunes at the net would change momentarily in the second game of the fourth set as a netted approach followed by a backhand error gave the Serb an immediate 2-0 lead.
Djokovic would consolidate for 3-0, but that’s where his run would come to an abrupt end. Wawrinka reeled off 12 of the next 15 points to break back and draw level at 3-all.
An ill-advised Djokovic serve and volley on a second serve at 4-all deuce gave Wawrinka his 15th break point of the match.
The Swiss would not be denied the break, nor the match, converting on his second championship point at 5-4 with his 60th winner of the match, a rifled backhand down the line.
With the title, Wawrinka also become the sixth former Roland Garros boys’ champion to win the men’s title.