Stan Wawrinka defeated Andy Murray in a five set thriller on Friday to storm into the Roland Garros final. The 2015 champion prevailed 6-7(6), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-1 in a gruelling four-and-a-half-hour contest.
In a match that was always going to be a tussle between Wawrinka’s brilliance and Murray’s resilience, it was the Swiss who drew first blood in the first set, breaking Murray in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead.
However, he failed to serve out the set allowing Murray take the set into a tie-break. After both traded mini-breaks earlier, an unforced error from Wawrinka at 6-6 proved decisive.
In each of Wawrinka’s three Grand Slam finals, he has been the underdog, which is exactly the way he likes it. Though he may take some time to recover from the effort of beating Murray 6-7 (6), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-1, the two sets Wawrinka dropped to the Scot are the only two he has dropped here this fortnight.
Wawrinka is enormously dangerous and does not lack for confidence, even if only two men have beaten Nadal on the court at the French Open: Robin Soderling in 2009 and Djokovic two years ago.
“When you play Rafa in the French Open, you’re never the favorite,” Wawrinka said. “If you lose, it’s almost normal. But, of course, you don’t want to lose a Grand Slam final, do you?