Sunday, January 26, 2014


We all know by now that Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka, world number 8, has won the men's championship at the Australian Open!  He defeats Rafael Nadal, number 1 in the world, known as the nemesis of other Swiss champion and world record, history breaking player Roger Federer. The scores, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. A solid win.

This is Stan's first grand slam, congratulations!

photo courtesy Aaron Favila, Associated Press

So, what happened?  Both players, so much promise walking on court, so much what they do day to day, and now on the stage of championship caliber. Stan is loosening up doing crunches and upper body movement with a long  bar above his shoulders, and now doing the walk.  He is ready. Rafa enters the arena, so cute walking in with his tennis gear.  Rafa takes nothing for granted.  Doing squats before he enters, and now here they both are. Unpacking, and set for a confrontation.

SET 1~

Stan opens up the match serving.  He is quick and fit, moving around the court nicely.  Rafa hits long twice but now 30-15. Rafa hits long again, 40-15. Now, game Wawrinka, 1-0.

We already know by looking at the scores in this set, that Stan holds serve and breaks Rafa once, hence the score of 6-3. Let's see when that happens.

Rafa serving now. 40-0. Let serve. Rafa gets to net and puts away. Game Nadal, 1-1 now.

15-0, Stan.  Rafa is moving well at the baseline. 'Perseverance and resilience' tattooed on Stan's arm.  We can all heed that advice! 30-15 now. These are quick points , 40-15. Great down teh line winner, game Wawrinka, 2-1 now.

Rafa serves, double fault, poorly executed drop shot, down, 1540 now. Back and forth, about 4 times over the net, then Rafa nets the ball. This is the break we, and Stan, are looking for :)
Game Warinka, 3-1 now.

Stan serving, 0-15 now.  15-15. Ace! 30-15.  Stan is relaxed, he is playing strong and loose.  4-1 now, Wawrinka.

Rafa serving at 40-0, 40-15 now.  Stan totally attacks Rafa's Backhand, then gets to net and puts away to Rafa's short forehand side. Deuce.  Ad Nadal.  Now game.

Stan serving now, 15-0.  Warinka is getting to net, a lot!  Another down the line shot for Stan, forehand. Stan is out here to win this match, says commentator.  Rafa does his inside out forehand, 40-30 now.. Stan gets the game, 5-2, Wawrinka.

  Rafa serves an ace, up 40-15 now.  Stan hits long, game Nadal, at 3-5 now.

Stan is serving for the set. Definite advantage to serve first.  Here we go~ first serve fault, medium pace second, then Stan nets the ball, 0-15.  This is a big game, let's see how Stan manages it.  Fault, second serve, Rafa attacks the ball and returns a winner down the line.Rafa really is looking to break Stan here. 0-40 now.  Rafa nets, 15-40.  How does Stan hold?  Fault. Second serve. Rafa returns long.  30-40 now. A chance.  Serves long.  Second, Rafa returns long, DEUCE!  Rafa looks like a beast! Rafa returns long.  Too much on the ball. Set point now.  ACE!

What a way to close out the set!

About 45 minutes.

SET 2~

Rafa serves first, down 0-30.  Stan hits a winner!  Stan wants to win. Period. 0-40.  Game Wawrinka.

Stan serves up. Ace!  This player is hot! As Swiss chocolate! 30-0 now.  Rafa has lost 11 poonts in a row.  Rafa not timing the ball at all.  40-15 now.  Fault.  Hits long going for another down the line, 40-30 now.  Stan serves and volleys, gets the point! Game Wawrinka, 2-0 now.

Rafa serving now.  Back and forth, 15-0. 15-15 now.. Stan is pushing Rafa around the court, and you can be sure Rafa knows it.  Over the net at least 6 times, then Stan hits wide and out.  30-15.  40-15. 40-30 now.  Rafa hits his buggy whip shot, but indicates his back is not right.  Here we go.  The back injury that will bring him down.  never take a match for granted, anything can happen.  Deuce now, nothing on his serve.  Game Rafael, 1-2 now.

Referee comes on court, not good.  Rafa goes to training room off court.  He is walking okay, but a back injury manifests in multiple ways.  seven minute delay, back on court.

Stan serving, 30-0 now.  Game. 3-1, Wawrinka. 

Rafa serving, weak serve,, 15-30 now.  Rafa having trouble moving.  Goes for a drop shot, but Stan gets there in plenty of time for the game.  4-1, Wawrinka.

Rafa is on his tummy, with a trainer, face in the crook of his arm, this is not good.  he knows the match is gone for him.  Time is over. 

Stan serving, 40-0 now.  Rafa not making a move, it will take time for the pain killers to work. 40-15 now.  30-40 now. The crowd has empathy.  Fault. Stan shanks out, deuce! Ace! Ad In. Fault.  Stan is missing a lot of first serves, but this second serve is good!  Game Wawrinka, 5-1 now.

Rafa serving, 15-0.   Shanks long, 15-15.  Wawrinka hitting in Rafa's backhand, 15-30.  Rafa hits long.  15-40.  Sift first serve, nets.  Serves and volleys for the point. 30-40. Stan hits long, deuce!  Rafa hits long and wide, Ad out.  Rafa plays smart, corners Stan then the winner. Deuce!  At least 5 times back and forth, Stan hits long, Ad Nadal.  Stan hits out! Game Nadal, at 2-5. 

Stan is serving for the set.  here we go.  15-15 now.  30-15.  At least Rafa is getting some points here. 40-15. Set point.  Ace!

Stan knows when to serve up those aces!

SET 3~ 

Rafa serves first for this set.  Rafa is trying, but this is clearly not his game style.  At deuce now.  He is playing valiantly from the baseline.  Ad in.  Stan hits long! Game Nadal, 1-0.

Stan serving, Nadal is working him around the court, at 0-30.  Ace, 15-30.  15-40! Nadal is getting Sta moving him side to side.  Ace!  Could this be Nadal's lucky break?  Serve, then Stan nets! The crowd cheers for Nadal, and al that is going on here. Game Nadal, 2-0.

Nadal is serving, 15-0.  Stan has to pick a way to win. 30-0.   Rafa is moving better, but serve is weak.Stan beat shim u on this point ,30-15.  30-30 now. 40-30.  Rafa serevs to teh midle, Stan nets.  3-0, Nadal.

Stan serves. 40-15, quick points here. 40-30.  Ace! Game Wawrinka, 1-3 now.

Rafa serves.  0-15. Great inside out forehand of Nadal, 15-15.  Too good.  30-15 now.  40-15.  Rafa is moving Stan side to side. Game Nadal, 4-1.

Stan serving.  15-30!  Nadal is working him.  Serves out wide, Rafa weak return, Stan puts away from the net.  40-30 now. Okay, game Wawrinka! 2-4.

Nadal serving. Nadal is really only playing from the baseline. 0-15.  Great to teh T serve, 15-15 now.  Fabulous backhand crosscourt from Stan, 15-30.  Nadal's serve has returned somewhat, 30-30 now.  40-30.  Stan hits out, game Nadal! 5-2.

Stan is serving now.  15-0.  30-0.  Ace! 40-0.  great serve, game Wawrinka! 3-5.

Nadal serving now.  Stan switches racquets.  New balls.  Not much on Rafa's serve, second is stronger than the first. Still easy for Stan.  0-15. Four times over the net, 15-15.  Nadal shanks out, 15-30.  15-40.  Rafa's shots are off.  Great serve, 30-40. Now 40 -40, deuce!  Ad in, Nadal now.  set point!!  Deuce again.  Stan hits long after three times over net. Ad Nadal.  Sweating.  Stan nets!  Set, Nadal!

SET 4~

Stan serves first.  Easy points, 40-0. Now, game Wawrinka, 1-0.

Where will the first break be, favoring Wawrinka?

Rafa is serving.  15-15 now.  These are quick points.  This IS the Australian Open final, Rafa will not let this go if he has any chance.  He must be in pain at 15-30.  This is clearly not his playing.  He has teh class to finish the championship, who wants to be one of the few as 'retiring' a championship?  Nadal is brave and true.  Okay, 15-40 now.  Stan nets, 30-40.  Stan hits long, a 113 mph serve, deuce!  Stan hits long. He is wondering.... Rafa serves and volleys for the win, game Nadal, 1-1 now.

Stan serves, faults, great second serve, 15-0.  Stan nets, 15-15.  Great serve, 30-15.  40-15.  Stan gets to teh volley and puts away. greta shot, game point.  Second serve now.  Wonderful serve and volley, away form Rafa on his left forehand side. Game Wawrinka, 2-1.

We are 2 hours into the match now.

Rafa serves. 15-0. 30-0.  Fault. second serve okay. 5 times back and forth, a challenge from Nadal, yes the ball is out! 40-0. Serves long, second okay, Stan gets the point, 40-15.  Rafa nets, 40-30.  He is clearly not himself.  Stan shanks wide, game Nadal! 2-2.

Stan serves. Rafa gets to net, 0-15.  Ace! 15-15.  Ace number 18, wow! Ace! 30-15.  Ace number 19! Rafa hits long. 40-15.  Rafa nets, game Wawrinka, 3-2.  Both players on serve.

Rafa serving!  15-15 now. This IS a battle.  Playing ni Rod laver arena, Rod known as the "Rocket.' 15-30.  Is this where Rafa breaks? 15-40. Quite possibly.  The trophy awaits.  Stan hits his classic down the line from the forehand side, game Wawrinka! Hoe so loves that ball when he makes contact, a lesson for us all. 4-2, now.

Stan serves. 0-15. 0-30. Really tough out there!  First serve out.  Ball seven times over the net, Stan shanks out, 0-40!  Oh my!  Fault.  Oh my goodness!  Rafa breaks Stan!  Both players back on serve, game Nadal at 3-4. These have to be end of match jitters, you just want it over with!  And instead, you lose the game. Ugh, truly, nothing is easy.  learn form Li Na, and only play your game, do not think of the score, and instead be in the point only. Easier said than done! A 'serious show of nerves.'

Rafa serves. 15-0, easy point. Rafa nets, 15-15.  A lot riding on this game here.  Rafa is working Sta, about 9 times over the net, but Rafa hits high and short. 15-30.  Rafa is grunting again, our same old Rafa!  Ugh, Rafa hesitates and misses the point, 15-40.  Stan hit low, tough to return.  great shot! Game Wawrinka! Corners Rafa then the short winner up the line. Wow! 5-3, Wawrinka.

Stan serves for the championship. New balls. 15-0.  One point at a time.... Rafa nets, 30-0. Fault.  great serve, 40-0, championship point!  Fault.  Serves to the T, Nadal returns short, while Stan moves in and puts it away down the line to the deuce court.

The victor!  Stan is the Man!  I am sure he is really, really, really, really happy!!!!!

Rafa says he wants Stan to enjoy his win, and he certainly deserves the trophy, he has earned it, the "reward for perseverance and skill"- J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter series, bequest of snitch from Professor Dumbledore to Harry Potter.

Congratulations, Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland!

And Rafa, you are so brave to continue the match and finals as injured, no whining, you played your best and we are impressed. You stood tall, no one would have known what you were battling, you are a valiant tennis warrior.

photo courtesy Associated Press
Wawrinka, tennis great Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal

☞ For more on Stan at the Australian Open 2014, you may want to read my post DUELING GLADIATORS II, Stan's epic match against Novak Djokovic!

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