Stan Wawrinka exacted some revenge on Rafael Nadal in the BNP Paribas Masters quarterfinals in Paris on Friday. Wawrinka slipped past Nadal in two tie breaks just a few weeks after Nadal had crushed him 6-2, 6-1 at the Shanghai Masters.
Wawrinka Rallies To Take Opening Set
The Swiss stumbled to open the match as Nadal broke the fourth seed to jet out to a 1-0 lead. Wawrinka would narrowly avoid falling down by a second break in the third game as he saved a break point to hold to a 2-1 deficit. Nadal looked in control after a 13 point sixth game where he saved a pair of break opportunities for a 4-2 lead. Wawrinka would continue to fight through his service games as he saved a set point in the ninth game to close within 5-4 with Nadal to serve for the set.
Though he had been better at closing sets recently, Nadal fell into a familiar pattern as he struggled on serve and was broken to even the set 5-5. Two simple holds by both players would then send the opener into a tie break. Both players would see multiple set points in a topsy-turvy breaker where the serve won all but three of the 18 points played. Wawrinka cashed in on the third point won by the returner on the 18th point to claim the set win.
Second Set Sees Late Chance For Nadal
Nadal opened the second set with a quick hold of serve to get off to a good start. Wawrinka would counter with a continued fierce first serve that kept him easily in control of his own service games. The Swiss consistently won points when he landed his first serve to the tune of 44 out of 54 points in the match and 19 of 23 in the second set. After six straight holds, it was a double fault from Nadal that would land the fourth seed Swiss in the lead at 4-3. With the match on the line in the tenth game, it was Wawrinka to serve it out. Like Nadal in the opening set, Wawrinka failed to finish the set the first time as the set moved to 5-5. After trading holds again to end the set, it would be another tie break to decide a set.
Everything looked to be pointing to a third set with Nadal moving quickly to a 5-2 lead in the breaker with two serves to come. The Swiss would counter though as he won both points and crawled back within a point at 5-4. Nadal would see the first of three set points on Wawrinka's serve, but struggled as the breaker moved to 6-6. Rafa finally got a hold to 7-6 for his third set point, but Wawrinka controlled his serve to get a look at match point at 8-7. He took it off Nadal's serve to close the match 7-6 (8), 7-6 (7).
Semifinal Showdown Against Djokovic
The win sends Stan Wawrinka into the semifinals in Paris to face Novak Djokovic. The tournament's top seed has defeated Wawrinka in three of four matches this season. The lone loss though was likely the most deflating when Djokovic lost his chance to complete his "career Slam" at the French Open. Wawrinka faces a tough test again with Djokovic riding a 20 match win streak on the season and a 13 match win streak in Paris where he has not lost since 2012.
The Swiss may also be fighting fatigue after his match against Nadal ended after 1:00 a.m. in Paris. Wawrinka was seen sipping on coffee frequently in between the changeovers to help energize himself. Saturday's semifinal is scheduled to start at 5:00 p.m. local time.