Federer sets up Wawrinka final
Roger Federer clinched a 7-5 6-2 victory over defending champion Novak Djokovic to set up an all-Swiss final at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters.
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Federer will face compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka for the title on Sunday after easing past Djokovic, who seemed to be struggling with a right wrist injury.
Even before the semi-final started there were reports Djokovic was injured and when the second seed took to the court in Monaco the whole of his lower arm was wrapped in bandages and tape.
It did not look to be affecting him too much in the early stages as he pushed Federer hard in the 32-year-old’s opening service game, although he did not manage to gain a break.
Djokovic also earned two set points on the Federer serve in the 10th game but could not convert either and in the next game it was the 17-time grand slam champion who broke after his opponent hooked a forehand into the net.
Federer served the set out with ease and as the second began it became clear that Djokovic was beginning to be hindered by his injury.
Federer broke Djokovic’s serve in the third and fifth games before easing across the line to reach his fourth Monte Carlo final. He has never won the event.
The pairing of Federer and Wawrinka in the final means that a player other than Djokovic or Rafael Nadal will win a Masters 1000 tournament for the first time since March 2013, the world’s top two having shared the last nine titles between them.
Wawrinka had earlier reached the final with a 6-1 7-6 (7-3) victory against David Ferrer.
The third seed overwhelmed his opponent in the first set and stepped up in the tie-break after a closely-fought second to complete the win in an hour and 28 minutes.
Ferrer had sensationally dumped out eight-time champion Nadal in the last eight on Friday but could not recreate that form when he took to the court to face Wawrinka 24 hours later.
Wawrinka lost just five points on his first serve during the contest despite employing a high-risk strategy which saw him hit 31 winners and make 40 unforced errors.
Although Wawrinka won the Australian Open earlier this year and is now up to No 3 in the world rankings, this is only the third time he has reached the final of a Masters 1000 event. He finished as runner-up on the previous two occasions.