27 Jan 2014

Wawrinka wins Australian Open

6:11 am on 27 January 2014

Unfancied Swiss tennis player Stanislas Wawrinka has won the Australian Open with a dramatic upset victory over wounded world number one Rafael Nadal.

Having never taken a set from Nadal in 12 previous meetings, Wawrinka prevailed in 4 sets after the Spaniard ended last night's final as a virtual passenger.

Nadal's movement was severely limited after he suffered a back injury early in the second set.

At one point, Nadal seemed certain to become the first man to retire from an Australian Open final since Stefan Edberg called it quits with an abdominal injury while trailing Ivan Lendl in the 1990 championship match.

But the top seed gallantly played on and even snatched the third set as Wawrinka - contesting his first-ever major final - struggled to cope with the bizarre situation.

But the world number 8 pulled himself together to win the fourth set, the match and his maiden grand slam title after two hours and 21 minutes of high drama at Rod Laver Arena.

After defeating second seed and four-time champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals, Wawrinka becomes the first man in 21 years to beat the world's top two players en route to a grand slam title.

The 28-year-old's breakthrough triumph also snapped a streak of 16 majors won by either Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer or Andy Murray.

All up, the so-called Big Four had won 34 of the past 35 grand slam titles stretching back to Marat Safin's Australian Open final victory over Lleyton Hewitt in 2005.

Argentine Juan Martin del Potro at the 2009 US Open was the only other man to have broken their dominance in the past nine years.