By Thomas Dodd
- Swiss third seed chasing third Grand Slam title and first US Open against Novak Djokovic on Sunday night
- Wawrinka had to save a match point to beat Brit Dan Evans in Round Three
- 31-year-old is two for two in career Grand Slam finals
NEW YORK, USA – Can Stan Wawrinka make it two wins in a row over Novak Djokovic in a Slam final?
Without doubt one of the prettiest shots on Tour and when it fires, one of the most deadliest too. Just ask Djokovic, who was powerless to do anything against the Swiss’s single-hander in the 2015 French Open final. Wawrinka has hit 285 winners throughout the tournament, proving he is a force to be reckoned with off both wings.
While many who choose to hit the backhand with one one hand on the racket struggle with the higher lopping balls, Wawrinka’s exceptional timing and power means it can be very difficult to get the ball out of his comfort zone.
His record in Grand Slam finals
Two finals. Two trophies. That’s how Stan’s Grand Slam final record reads ahead of Sunday’s showpiece. His 2014 Australian Open title was impressive, but victory in Paris 21 months later against Djokovic on the clay was superb, and proved he deserved his place in the upper echelons of the men’s game.
If you need any more proof that the World No. 3 is a big game player consider this: Dating back to 2014, Wawrinka has won 10 straight finals on the ATP Tour.
He is the Swiss number one
And loving it. He has obviously played in and won tournaments with compatriot Roger Federer in the draw but as the 17 time major winner ticks down towards the end of his career, Wawrinka – hardly a spring chicken at 31 himself – has embraced the opportunity to go deep in the bigger events.
Furthermore, he has handled the mantle of Swiss number one superbly and after initially needing a few months to realise his place as a Grand Slam winner on the ATP Tour, Wawrinka now knows he belongs.
His recent record against Djokovic
With Federer and Murray both on shocking runs of form against Djokovic, tennis fans have been crying out for a player who isn’t intimidated mentally by having the Serb on the other side of the net. In Wawrinka, they have such a man.
Despite trailing the head to head convincingly 19-4, Stan has won two of the last six and both of those have been on the biggest stage in Melbourne and Paris. If you were going to pick anyone going into the fortnight to give absolutely everything against Novak Djokovic, then Stan really is your man.
He will have the crowd on his side
This point is two fold. First of all, the Americans love and underdog and a fighter. Djokovic remains the favourite ahead of the final Slam final of 2016 but Wawrinka endeared himself to those in New York when he came back from match point down to beat Briton Dan Evans in round three.
Secondly, while he may have denied crowd favourite Juan Martin Del Potro in the Quarter-Final, those in the Ashe stands will look to get on Djokovic’s back if Stan can grab a foothold in the match early on.
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