Tennis  

Wawrinka wins U.S. Open for third Grand Slam title

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Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland powered his way to victory over defending champion and tournament top seed, Novak Djokovic, in a battle that lasted four hours. In the end, the answer was finally given to a question that dominated the second week of the tournament. On his way to the battleground, Djokovic said, “all matches have questions.” It was after his 6/7; 7-5; 6 /3; 6/3 loss that he finally divulged the answer concerning his battle–readiness.

As the match kicked off, Djokovic opted to serve. He won the first three points, though requiring a second serve. Wawrinka delivered an ace and a bomber (129 mph) to reach 40-30 but aggressive returns forced a deuce and the early break. Djokovic held easily for a 3-0 lead.

Wawrinka dropped but one point to take his service game and Djokovic held to extend the lead. As he delivered a good first serve at 40-30 in the sixth game, Wawrinka was called for foot-fault; an unsettling thing that caused a deuce but he claimed the game with an ace. He also survived break point at 2-5, serving with new balls. It was a turning point in the set, as he broke Djokovic to take the ninth game and held to level five games apiece. Both players held their serves to take set into tie-break. Serving first, Djokovic took his point. Wawrinka dropped one of his first two service points and did not get another point as he conceded the set 7/6.

The second set ushered better serving with both players holding in the first three games. Djokovic was broken in the fourth game and Wawrinka held to lead 4-1.

In the seventh game, Wawrinka delivered a first serve clocked at 114, but Djokovic hammered a crosscourt forehand winner to take the first point and eventually the game to reduce the tally. He did not drop a point in taking the eighth game. Warwinka held at love and Djokovic needed to hold serve. However, he fell behind 15-40 on the sheer power and accuracy of Wawrinka, who dictated the rallies and had the world champion scrambling from side to side.

Djokovic failed to make a first serve at break point and his second delivery was ripped for a winner. Djokovic walked to his seat and banged his racket, which broke. Quite atavistic, for the cool and controlled but it was an expression of frustration.

In the opening game of the third set, Wawrinka survived four break points before delivering a service winner and an ace to hold. Did the disappointment of missing the break opportunities linger in Djokovic’s mind? This could explain why he lost his service game to fall behind 0-2. Wawrinka continued hammering big serves and powerful ground-strokes as he extended the lead 3-0. Djokovic was behind 0-30 but leveled with an overhead winner and a service winner to register in the score tally. Although he led 40-15 in the fifth, Wawrinka was forced to deuce and when he took the first advantage point, his opponent shook his head in dismay, though he won the game for the break of service.

Djokovic held serve to level three-all and Wawrinka won the seventh game. In the ninth game, Djokovic cancelled two game points, but lost on a service winner. At the change-over, Djokovic was barking (inaudible words) at his team. However, he regained his composure to take the tenth game at love.

Wawrinka lost the first point and was behind 15-30, because of great defense by Djokovic. But at 30-all, two consecutive net cord balls went Wawrinka’s way and he got the game, for which he bounced and hopped to his seat in jubilation. Serving to save the set in the 12th game, Djokovic had game point at 40-30 but got deuced, offering Wawrinka the next advantage that he clinched for the set, seven games to five.

Wawrinka opened serving in the fourth set and held without dropping a point. Djokovic lost the first point on his next service game. It was noticeably, bouncing the ball up to 10 times before tossing to serve. At 30-15, he lost the next point and limped slightly on his left leg. He muffed the next two serves to drop the game. It was clear that he was unable to push up off the left foot. Wawrinka took the first point of the third game and won the next three points on aces that Djokovic did not attempt to return.

At the change over, Djokovic robbed ice on his thighs. He got up to serve, and lost the first point and double faulted to 30-40. But an overhead gave him deuce. He lost the first advantage point on double fault, lost the next advantage point but clinched the game courtesy of two service return errors.

At that point, the medical trainer came to attend to Djokovic. His shoes were taken off and while his toes were being taped, Djokovic apologized to Wawrinka, who had complained to the Chair Umpire that medical time out should have been taken before Wawrinka served at 0-3. Wawrinka lost the fifth game on his serve but broke Djokovic to lead 4 – 2.

Wawrinka won the seventh game without dropping a point on his serve. The trainer came back on court to treat Djokovic’s right foot and he got up to take the eighth game in which he dropped one point by a double fault.

Serving for the match, Wawrinka fell behind 0-30 but leveled with a service winner. He lost the first game point. In the ensuing exchange of ground strokes at match point, Djokovic slipped near the back fence, as Wawrinka put away an easy volley.

The new champion is ruthless in title matches, having won 11 consecutive finals, including three in Grand Slams, two of which had Novak Djokovic as the runner-up.



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