Stanislas Wawrinka came from behind to beat Roger Federer in the all-Swiss final of the Monte Carlo Masters and lift the trophy for the first time in a 4-6 7-6 6-2 victory.
The Australian Open champion recovered from losing the opening set to bounce back and signal his intent for the French Open, which starts next month.
In an arena where Rafael Nadal has ruled for so long, Wawrinka’s valiant display has shown that the Swiss is a serious contender on the big stage as he looks to add a second Grand Slam title at Roland Garros.
For Federer, it was his second ever loss against his compatriot and denied him the chance of also winning the title for the first time after previous final defeats to Nadal in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion certainly started the more determined of the two men, blitzing his way to the first set and looking like the imperious player of days gone by.
But Wawrinka showed the spirit of a champion and edged a tight tie-break before waltzing to the final set with his opponent never threatening a comeback. Speaking after the encounter, Wawrinka was delighted at having managed to win a third title of the year after previous triumphs in Australia and Rome.
“It’s exceptional to win my first masters here,” he said.
On his opponent, he told the beaten Federer: “Roger you’re the best player ever. It’s always special for me to play against you and I hope we will have a great year, you and me.”
It was Federer’s third final loss of the season after previous defeats to Novak Djokovic and Leyton Hewitt in Indian Wells and Brisbane respectively, and the Swiss star will be hoping for better fortune in Paris before making the trip to Wimbledon in June.
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