Wawrinka wins in Monte Carlo
Stanislas Wawrinka claimed the first Masters 1000 title of his career as he came from behind to beat Roger Federer in Monte Carlo.
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In the first all-Swiss ATP World Tour final since 2000, the 29-year-old erased the memories of final defeats by Novak Djokovic in Rome in 2008 and Rafael Nadal in Madrid last year to lift the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters crown.
However, Wawrinka's second ATP victory over Federer in 15 attempts proved hard-fought after he had to battle his way back from losing the first set to take the title 4-6 7-6 (7/5) 6-2.
Wawrinka, who won Jauuary's Australian Open, said: "I'm really happy after winning my first Grand Slam to win a Masters 1000 so quick. I didn't expect to. When I came here, for me it was more like a test. I knew I was playing good tennis, but I didn't expect to win because the draw was so strong.
"I did see I was playing good tennis. It was few little changes to take the advantage. I started to play more aggressive, trying to push him more. When you win a match like this, it's only one or two points, especially in the tie-break.
"But I think I did a great tie-break. I was serving big and being really aggressive. Then I took the advantage at the beginning of the third set. I saw that he was a little bit tired. Me, I was playing better and better, especially moving better."
Federer started strongly, forcing a first break point in Wawrinka's opening service game, but it was not until the fifth game of the set that he nudged into a 3-2 lead, eventually taking it 6-4 in 42 minutes.
Wawrinka's response was concerted as he took a 2-0 lead in the second set, but Federer fought back and, after a rain delay, took it to a tie-break, which his opponent eventually won 7-5 at the third time of asking with an overhead smash.
The momentum was firmly with Wawrinka as he sensed his opportunity, securing a double break on his way to a 4-0 lead in the deciding set.
Federer rallied briefly, but there was nothing he could do to prevent his compatriot from claiming victory in two hours and 13 minutes.
Federer said: "I think it's one of the those finals that I could have won. But Stan was tougher at the end. I think he deserved it just a little bit more. Clearly it would have been nice to win that second set tie-break. I didn't necessarily play a bad one, but also at the same time I didn't quite ever get into the lead where things went my way.
"Of course, I'm very happy for Stan. It's a huge win for him after winning his first Grand Slam this year, also to win his first Masters 1000. To take the opportunities when they're there, that's key in a tennis player's career. So I'm very happy for him.
"I would have loved to have won a second title [this season] because I've come close a few times. That's my next objective, that I get to the very end more frequently. But clearly I'm happy that the claycourt season started so well for me."