Sunday, January 26, 2014


Centre of attention: Photographers from all over the world clamber to get a shot of the champion

Seventh seed Stanislas Wawrinka won his first Grand Slam title with victory over an injury-hit and favourite, Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final. 

Wawrinka withstood a fightback from the world number one, who was struggling with a back problem, to come through 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3.

The 28-year-old Swiss becomes only the second man from Switzerland to win a Grand Slam singles title after 17-time champion and compatriot, Roger Federer. 
Champion: Stanislas Wawrinka celebrates after beating Rafael Nadal 3-1 to win the Australian Open title

He is the first new men’s Grand Slam champion since Andy Murray and he is the first man outside the 'big four' to win a Grand Slam since Juan Martin Del Potro at the 2009 US Open. 
Respect: Nadal and Wawrinka shake hands at the end of the match

Fortunes fluctuated wildly over the course of two hours and 21 minutes as Wawrinka opened in scintillating form before a tearful Nadal appeared close to quitting at two sets down, only to stage a remarkable recovery in the third.

Emotional: Nadal gives a speech after losing in four sets to Wawrinka
Nadal showed great spirit to hit back once again from a break down in the fourth, but a forehand winner gave Wawrinka the decisive break at 5-3 and he served out the biggest win of his life with a love game. 
Focused: Nadal concentrates on the ball as he plays a double-handed backhand

Even two hours after winning he could scarcely believe what he had done. ‘It’s quite crazy what is  happening now. I never expected to win a Grand Slam,’ he said. 

‘I never dreamt about it because, for me,  I wasn’t good enough to beat  these guys. It’s an amazing feeling. I saw Roger winning so many. 
In control: Wawrinka plays a powerful backhand down the line

But at the end of it, even if Rafa was injured, I still deserve it because I won here against the No 1 and No 2. There’s a big chance I will get drunk now.’

Wawrinka needed the wherewithal to control his mind in the face of all that was going on at the other end of the court with the most intimidating competitor in tennis, who was not going to give the match away.
Thinking game: Wawrinka reacts after winning a hard-fought point against Nadal
Nadal, who revealed he felt the back problem in the warm-up, said: "It is a tournament that I really had some troubles physically in my career and is something that is painful for me. 
Ouch: Nadal receives treatment on the side of the court for a back injury sustained during play
"But that's part of life. That's part of sport. It's not the end of the world. Is just another tough moment."
"The last thing that I wanted to do was retire. No, I hate to do that, especially in a final. 

"It's not the moment to talk about that. It's the moment to congratulate Stan. He's playing unbelievable. He really deserved to win that title."
Wawrinka had never won a set, let alone a match, in 12 previous attempts against Nadal, and was making his Grand Slam final debut against the Spaniard in his 19th. 
Legend: Pete Sampras (middle) poses with Wawrinka (left) and Nadal (right)
So much for the tattoo on his forearm, a  quotation from Irish poet Samuel Beckett: ‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’
Victory: Li Na won the Australian Open at the third attempt - she lost in 2011 and last year
Meanwhile, China's female tennis star Li Na had, a day earlier, won her second Grand Slam title with victory over Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova at the Women single final of the Australian Open. 
Finally: Li was defeated in the final of this tournament by Kim Clijsters in 2011 and by Victoria Azarenka last year
Li Na, had to hold her nerve together long enough to overcome pocket rocket Cibulkova to win her second grand slam title.
Tie break: The pair traded games in the first set but eventually Na won 7-6

The fourth seed came through an edgy first set from both women to dominate the second and win her world number 24 opponent, 7-6 (7-3) 6-0.

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