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Stan beats Nadal jinx to claim first Slam title

By Agence France-Presse in Melbourne | China Daily | Updated: 2014-01-27 08:16

Wawrinka finally vanquishes Rafa after 12 straight head-to-head losses

Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka claimed his first Grand Slam title in dramatic style on Sunday when he upset injury-troubled world No 1 Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final.

It was a stunning triumph for Wawrinka, who had not beaten Nadal in their previous 12 matches but rallied to win the fourth set and take the championship.

Stan beats Nadal jinx to claim first Slam title

Stanislas Wawrinka poses with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after defeating Rafael Nadal in the singles final at the Australian Open on Sunday. Bobby Yip / Reuters

The eighth seed roared through the first two sets, overcoming the distraction of a back injury to Nadal and the loss of the third set, to take it 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours, 21 minutes.

Nadal, who was chasing his 14th major title, looked as if he might pull out with the back injury but he fought back to take the third set and force the match to go further.

"For me it is the best Grand Slam ever; I am enjoying very much to play here," said Wawrinka, who lost in five sets to Novak Djokovic in last year's fourth round.

"In one year a lot has happened. Right now I still don't know if I am dreaming or not. We will see tomorrow morning."

Wawrinka took 36 Grand Slam appearances to win his first title, second only to Goran Ivanisevic, who played 48 before he won Wimbledon in 2001.

Nadal was in tears as he said: "Many thanks Stan, you deserve it. I am very happy for you. I had bad luck today, but you really deserve it. "To my team, I tried hard, thank you very much. Without them it would be impossible to be where I am today. Sorry to finish this way. I tried very, very hard. This is one of the more emotional tournaments of my career."

After beating Djokovic in the quarterfinals, Wawrinka became the first man to defeat the top two seeds at a Grand Slam since Sergi Bruguera at the 1993 French Open.

Nadal has had injury problems in the past in Melbourne. He missed the 2006 and 2013 editions, had to retire injured in the 2010 quarterfinals and was hit by a muscle strain during his 2011 semifinal loss to David Ferrer.

"The last thing I wanted to do was quit," said Nadal. "At the same time, it is tough. During the whole year you work for a moment like this, and it arrives and you feel that you are not able to play at your best."

Despite rallying to unexpectedly clinch the third set, with Wawrinka apparently unsettled by the medical timeout, Nadal said he was never going to win.

"I tried everything until the last moment, but it was impossible to win this way. I'm obviously disappointed and very sad about what happened. But that's life, that's sport."


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