MONTE CARLO, Monaco: Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Swiss compatriot Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 on Sunday (Monday in Manila) to win the Monte Carlo Masters as the Australian Open champion laid down a marker as a French Open dangerman.
It was just Wawrinka’s second win over his close friend in 15 career meetings and his first title at the Masters level. His last win over Federer came at the same venue in 2009.
Wawrinka also held on to his world number three ranking as a result of his success in two hours, 13 minutes. Federer would have taken the third spot with a victory at one of the three Masters events he has not won.
It was the first all-Swiss final on the ATP since 2000, when the teenaged Federer lost to Marc Rosset in Marseille.
Wawrinka, who fired 33 winners on Sunday, lost his previous two Masters finals—in Rome in 2008 to Novak Djokovic and last year in Madrid to Rafael Nadal.
The title was Wawrinka’s third of the year after trophies at Chennai and his maiden Grand Slam breakthrough in Melbourne in January.
“I did an amazing job, I’m really happy after winning my first grand slam to now win my first Masters 1000. I didn’t expect it to go this quickly,” said the winner.
“I came here this week as a test, I didn’t expect to win because the field was so strong. But when I’m there mentally and fighting and playing well, I can beat anyone. It was important to be ready to fight.”
Wawrinka added that he hoped he and Federer can share glory later this year with their Swiss team already through to the Davis Cup semifinals.
“I hope this will be a fine year for Switzerland,” he said.
Switzerland’s Davis Cup captain Severin Luthi sat in the Federer box with no complaints from Wawrinka.
“I think it’s a big match, regardless of the opponent, because it’s a finals. Playing Stan just adds to the excitement in some ways,” said Federer, now 0-4 in Monte Carlo finals after losing three to Nadal 2006-2008.
“I’m not really disappointed since it was Stan I lost against. I’m very happy for him. 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.”
The Swiss pair, who won Olympic doubles gold at Beijing in 2008, hugged after Wawrinka’s victory which delivered the seventh title of his career.
Wawrinka lost the opening set but roared to life in the second with a break to start, though Federer quickly got it back.
The set went into a tiebreaker, which Wawrinka controlled to level the match.
Wawrinka started the third with a 4-0 led from two breaks of serve and claimed the victory on the first of two match points.
Wawrinka now stands 20-3 on the season while Federer leads the ATP with 27 victories.