Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray were tied two sets each. Both had a chance to reach their second French Open final. But only one made it. Murray had a glorious journey in the match but the destination did not seem the same. Wawrinka had an answer to all his returns and in the end, the Swiss sealed a 6-7(6) 6-3 5-7 7-6(3) 6-1 win over the Briton in Paris on Friday.
The 2015 French Open champion showed impeccable game to come back from tie the match twice before finishing it with a brutal fifth set in which he gave Murray no chance to play the tennis he had in the previous four sets.
Even the numbers favoured Wawrinka, who hit 87 winners. He showed exemplery game in the fifth set, hitting down the line and producing brilliant shots with spin. With the win, he avenged his 2016 semi-final loss to Murray.
For most part of the match Murray held an upper hand mainly because of his defence which helped him win the first set. Both players were part of a tiebreak but Murray came out on top 8-6. He could not maintain the same level and became a bit complacent as Wawrinka won four straight games to win the second set 6-3.
Murray, the finalist from last year in Paris, re-grouped himself. But, it was Wawrinka who took a 4-2 lead in the third before Murray produced one of his defensive brilliance and made it 5-5 before sealing it 7-5.
This is where the problem arose for Murray. He could have closed it in four sets but such has been the form of the world number one since US Open semi-final loss that he lost the fourt in tie-break. That was his fourth loss after winning two of the first three sets.
Into the fifth and Wawrinka produced some stunning backhand that Murray defied but failed to close out.