Paris, France (SportsNetwork.com) – Stan Wawrinka won his first French Open title and denied Novak Djokovic a long-sought career Grand Slam by beating the world’s top-ranked player in four sets on Sunday.
The eighth-seeded Wawrinka captured his second Grand Slam title by rallying for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win on Court Philippe Chatrier.
“For me, this one is very special for sure,” said Wawrinka, who won his first grand slam title at the 2014 Australian Open. “Especially the way I played and the way I finished the match.”
Djokovic, bidding to become the eighth man to win all four Grand Slams, fell to 0-3 in Roland Garros finals.
The past four grand slam meetings between the two went five sets, and it looked as though they would go the distance again.
Djokovic raced out to a 3-0 lead in the fourth set before Wawrinka answered by winning the next three games. Wawrinka then used powerful ground strokes to set up a double-break chance, but Djokovic saved them both with volley winners and eventually held.
The eight-time grand slam champion missed a chance to go up 5-3 as Wawrinka rallied from being down love-40 to hold.
Djokovic then found himself on the brink against Wawrinka, who broke the Serbian’s serve with a backhand winner down the line. After fighting off a break point, Wawrinka hammered another backhand winner on the second match point.
Wawrinka had a 60-30 edge in winners, and the match lasted three hours and 12 minutes.
The 30-year-old Wawrinka won his 10th career title and third this year, adding to triumphs in Chennai and Rotterdam. He picked up his second win over a No. 1 player in 19 tries and beat Djokovic for just the fourth time in 21 meetings.
Djokovic had a 28-match winning streak snapped, suffering his first loss since falling to Roger Federer in the Dubai Final in February.
He received a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd during the trophy presentation.
“I respect the appreciation that they showed me,” Djokovic said. “This is something that definitely gives me even more motivation to come back and keep on trying.”
Wawrinka was fresher, last playing on Friday. Djokovic played on back-to-back days after winning a rain-delayed semifinal over Andy Murray on Saturday.
Leading 2-1 in the opening set, Wawrinka won the first two points in the next game before Djokovic battled back to hold. They remained on serve until a double fault by Wawrinka gave Djokovic a 4-3 lead.
Djokovic consolidated the break with strong service game and appeared to be on the verge of closing out the set with ease, leading 40-15 in the 10th game. He suddenly was facing a break point but saved it with a service winner. Djokovic added a backhand winner and the set was over after Wawrinka sent a forehand beyond the baseline.
Wawrinka became increasingly frustrated in the second set as he squandered four break-point chances, but he finally prevailed on the fifth one to level the match. He won the final two points in the 10th game on backhand errors by Djokovic.
The Swiss star broke again for a 4-2 lead in the third set, following a scintillating backhander with a cross-court forehand winner. He fought off a break point in the next game and took the set when Djokovic’s backhand return sailed long.