Stan Wawrinka has spent most part of his career in the shadow of his great co-patriot Roger Federer. The Swiss however has been successful in carving of a crusader image due to his great wins and his ultra aggressive style of playing. It was this style that pumped Wawrinka to his 3 Grand Slam wins, where he would defeat the World Number 1 in each one of those wins. Let’s look back at those 3 times when Wawrinka was able to unwind his magic on the tennis court.
3. Australian Open 2014
The 2014 Australian Open marked the highest point of Stan Wawrinka’s career. The Swiss Number 2 who was seeded 8th in the tournament had never been to a Grand Slam final till then. In the 2nd week Wawrinka looked at the top of his game. He took down a firm favorite and the defending Champion Novak Djokovic in a 5 set epic in the quarter-finals. Wawrinka then faced some resistance from the Czech Tomas Berdych in the semis but was able to advance in 4 sets.
In the final the then World Number 1 and tournament favourite Rafa Nadal awaited. Wawrinka had not taken a set of Nadal in their previous meeting but had other ideas that day. Nadal looked in some discomfort due to some back injury but that would take nothing away from the Swiss who dispatched the Spaniard with some aggressive baseline power-hitting to lift his 1st ever Grand Slam title and denying Rafa a double career slam.
2. Roland Garros 2015
This was another match where Wawrinka denied his opponent a chance to make history. Novak Djokovic was a man on the mission in 2015 French Open looking to complete the elusive career slam. He had already beaten the 9 time champion Rafa Nadal in the quarter-final and then went past Andy Murray in a 5 set semi-final.
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On the other side was Stan Wawrinka, a raging force of nature who looked in blistering form. Wawrinka had taken out fellow countryman Roger Federer in the quarter-final and followed that with a win over local hero Jo-Wilferd Tsonga in the semis. The match started with the obvious with Djokovic taking the 1st set and looking good to lift the title.
In the next 2 hours what followed was a Wawrinka master class. On the slow clay of Paris, the Swiss produced blistering forehand and backhands. He took the next 3 sets and denied his Serbian counterpart the elusive French title. This was Wawrinka’s 2nd success at the Grand Slam level.
1. US Open 2016
The 2016 US Open gave Stan his 3rd Grand Slam title. Wawrinka was seeded 3rd in the draw and breezed through the forst week. In the quarters he would take down the 2009 Champion del Potro before scoring a win over the 2014 finalist from Japan Kei Nishikori.
In the final again the World Number Novak Djokovic awaited for the last year’s French Open defeat. Djokovic had completed the career slam in Roland Garros 2016 and was now on course for his 15 slam win. He took the 1st set this time also and stage was set for Wawrinka to take charge.
The next 3 sets saw a repeat of the 2015 Roland Garros final. Stan played with no holds barred and hit his shots with pin point accuracy. The Swiss wrapped the match in 4 sets denying Novak and revenge. Wawrinka took his own tally of Grand Slams to 3.