Wawrinka oldest French Open finalist after beating Murray
PARIS, France (AP):
Battering the ball as if each shot would determine the match's outcome, 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka came back to beat number one-ranked Andy Murray 6-7 (6), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-1 yesterday and become the oldest French Open finalist in 44 years.
The number three-seeded Wawrinka, a 32-year-old from Switzerland, reached the fourth Grand Slam final of his career. He has won the previous three: at Roland Garros two years ago, the US Open last September, and the Australian Open in 2014.
A year ago at the French Open, Wawrinka lost to Murray in the semi-finals. This time, Wawrinka managed to wear down the seemingly tireless Murray, himself a three-time major champion. It was a triumph of offence over defence as Wawrinka used his sublime one-handed backhand and hammer of a forehand to send Murray scrambling and sliding all over the red clay at Court Philippe Chatrier for a tad more than four-and-a-half hours.
Over and over again, Murray would lean, or even lunge, and somehow manage to put his racket strings on seemingly unreachable shots. Murray used plenty of drop shots and lobs, often to great effect. He deflected overheads. In sum, Murray generally made Wawrinka work very hard to get any shot past him.
Wawrinka does not discourage easily. He kept absolutely walloping his strokes, resolute in his intention to attack and attack and attack.
Wawrinka ran away with the fifth set, taking 16 of the first 21 points and going up 5-0. He ended it, appropriately, with a backhand down the line, his 87th winner of the day, 51 more than Murray accumulated.