By Ros Satar
- Five Reasons why Stan Wawrinka will win 2017 Roland Garros
PARIS, FRANCE – The time has come to bring the curtain down completely on the 2017 European clay court season, and what a conclusion in store as Rafael Nadal targets La Decima with Stan Wawrinka standing in his way.
Wawrinka confounded expectations before
When Stan Wawrinka squared up against Rafael Nadal for the first time in a Slam final, everyone thought he was just there to make up the numbers as the Spaniard sought to add a second Australian Open to his collection.
Bur Wawrinka came to play taking the first two sets while Nadal struggled with a back injury, and after getting one of the sets back, Wawrinka closed out his first Slam win. By the way he did it again when he beat Novak Djokovic, twice, to claim his first French Open title, and his first US Open title.
When it comes to upsetting the apple cart, count on Wawrinka – and by the way he is 3-0 in all Slam finals.
Wawrinka is on a 10-match winning streak
Sure, Wawrinka was a little slow to start with no back to back wins until he defended his Geneva title. While Nadal has been extremely consistent throughout the entire clay court season with the exception of Rome, Wawrinka has looked as though he is peaking at just the right time, and he is a big occasion player. He could be the first to really test Nadal on Sunday.
The power to break down the Nadal forehand
Wawrinka’s backhand will try and pepper the Nadal forehand, which has sometimes been his more vulnerable side (if there is one). He is one of the more aggressive foes that Nadal has faced but it will be a huge challenge for Wawrinka.
Nadal has been formidable but he has not been unbeatable as Dominic Thiem demonstrated in the Rome quarter-final. The pressure will be on Nadal to win and as Wawrinka showed in the semi-final against World No. 1 Andy Murray, he has the sticking power to take the battle time and again to Nadal.
Wawrinka is the one to push Nadal to the limit
It is fair to say that Nadal has pretty much breezed through the tournament. He has not met anyone who can come close to taking him the distance. Wawrinka did not drop a set either, until he faced Murray and at the end of that match he looked as though he was still as fresh as a daisy.
As soon as he takes this past straight sets territory you have to give him the edge. Although he is mainly an aggressive player, he showed how nimble he could be around the court and some of the rallies in the match against Murray defied belief. He will be up for keeping Nadal out there for as long as possible.
But what about that head to head?
Yes, indeed Nadal completely dominates that head to head. Wawrinka snapped his incredibly impressive 12-match winning streak with that win at the Australian Open. Let’s face it, if you are going to do that, a Slam final seems like the perfect place, no?
Since then they have been slightly more on a par and there has even been a win on clay in Rome a couple of years ago. If Wawrinka can bring the variety he showed against Murray, then whatever happens we should be in for a treat of a men’s final.
Wawrinka and Nadal will play the Roland Garros final on Sunday, not before 3pm (2pm BST).
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