The 2014 clay court season commenced last week in Monte Carlo and Stan Wawrinka inserted notice that he will be a contender for the French Open in May by winning his first Masters 1000 event over close friend and countryman Roger Federer, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.
Number 4 seed Federer broke early in the first set and cruised for a 6-4 lead. Light rain began to pelt the court in the middle of the second set and the muddy conditions and slower conditions seemed to favor Wawrinka’s game as he was able to defend effectively while also taking an aggressive stance – pushing Federer around the baseline.
When Wawrinka took control in the second set tiebreaker, he led 4-1. Federer would close to 6-5 but a strong Wawrinka serve to Federer’s backhand and an overhead winner gave the number three seed the second set and moved the match to a deciding third.
Wawrinka took advantage of an early break chance in the first game of the third set when he rang in a strong backhand winner crosscourt followed by two rallies ending in an outstretched Federer netting a forehand and backhand. After holding comfortably to consolidate the break of service, Wawrinka would come back from advantage down by: chasing down an overhead and passing down the line, bludgeoning a crosscourt forehand winner off a short ball and securing the safety break of service with a beautiful backhand winner and a 3-0 lead.
Wawrinka would close the match at 15 with an inside-out forehand winner and he had secured his second win ever against Federer (both in Monte Carlo).
It was his third title of 2014 including the Australian Open in January.