No. 5 Match of the Year: Wawrinka vs. Murray, French Open

The Grandstand has compiled its list of the Top 10 Matches of the Year for 2017. Matches were ranked from a combination of Top 10 lists made by the Grandstand’s Ricky Dimon, Joey Hanf of Cliff Drysdale Tennis, voting at MensTennisForums, and Twitter user Ben Conti.

No. 5: Stan Wawrinka d. Andy Murray 6-7(8), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-1, French Open semifinals

They were all playing for second place at the French Open–just as they did at Wimbledon one month later. But that doesn’t mean there was a lack of entertainment along the way to Sunday’s inevitable conclusion.

Battling for the right to finish runner-up to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, Wawrinka and Murray slugged it out on the terre battue for four hours and 34 minutes over five sets. It was a back-and-forth affair right from the start, as Wawrinka served for the first set at 5-3, got broken, and also failed to convert a set point in the ensuing tiebreaker before losing it 10 points to eight.

The 2015 French Open champion fired 18 winners in the second set and rolled through it with two breaks. Wawrinka and Murray traded breaks in the third before the Scot earned another one in the 11th game and served it out at 6-5. That paved the way to a high-quality fourth, in which each man finished with five more winners than unforced errors without yielding a single break-point chance to the other. A dominant performance in the tiebreaker proved to be the final turning point in Wawrinka’s favor.

With momentum in hand, there was no letup from the Swiss throughout the fifth. He struck 15 winners to Murray’s three, fought off all four of the break points he faced, and clinched match point at 5-1, 40-15 with a crushing down-the-line backhand.

Highlights:

“I think it was quite a tough match today,” Wawrinka assured. “A big battle…. For sure it was amazing match I felt on the court. I enjoyed playing this match. For sure when you win, it’s better after. We had some crazy points with some good rallies, with some good level of tennis. And to play a semifinal here, at the French Open against Andy, No. 1 in the world, that’s something really special. So for sure I (will) enjoy it. I want to enjoy it a lot, because, as I say, it’s not all the time you can say you’re going to play a final of a Grand Slam, especially in Paris. I really want to enjoy that.”

“I came in playing garbage,” Murray said of his pre-French Open form. “I’m proud of the tournament I had; I did well considering. I was one tiebreak away from getting to the final when I came in really struggling. So I have to be proud of that.

“Maybe the lack of matches hurt me a little bit in the end today. That was a very high intensity match–a lot of long points. When you haven’t been playing loads, over four-and-a-half hours, that can catch up to you a little bit.”


6 Comments on No. 5 Match of the Year: Wawrinka vs. Murray, French Open

  1. I had forgotten that their match was almost 5 hours long…what a great battle…maybe Stan’s best match of the year. Can’t wait for Australia!!!

      • This match was very interesting but it hurt S. Wawrinka and made it easy for Rafa.

        I wish Rafa had met A. Murray, Andy might lose but that guy is a fighter and he would have depleted rafa’s energy.

        Rafa was lucky but he also played well.

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