The jinx continues for Roger Federer at Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. For three consecutive years in 2006, 2007 and 2008, Federer lost in the final to Rafael Nadal and yesterday, compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka deprived him of another chance. In the men’s singles final played yesterday night, Federer lost to Wawrinka after winning the first set and fighting out a tie-break in the second. In the last 14 years on the ATP World Tour, it was the first ever all-Swiss final, which the 29-year old Wawrinka won 4-6, 7-6, 6-2. The last such final involving two Swiss players was in 2000 at Marseille, when Marc Rosset met the same Roger Federer but on that occasion too, Federer had lost to his compatriot. For Wawrinka, it was the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy in his third final. Earlier, Wawrinka lost the Rome Masters in 2008 to Djokovic and in the Madrid Masters 2012, Rafael Nadal had beaten him.
With his victory in Monte-Carlo, Wawrinka has broken up the domination of the Big Four in the ATP World Tour Masters 1000, in which 34 out of the last 36 such tournaments have been won by someone from the quartet comprising of Nadal, Djokovic, Federer or Murray. The only exceptions have been Robert Soldering and David Ferrer, both of whom won at BNP Paribas at Paris; Soldering won in 2010 and Ferrer in 2012.
Until now 2014 has been a great year for the 32-year old Roger Federer, who has won the Dubai Duty Free tournament and has already defeated Novak Djokovic twice this year in ATP majors. In Monte-Carlo, Federer had to first contend with Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinal. Tsonga was almost on the verge of victory, when Federer dug in his heels and fought from the brink to win the hard-fought battle. In the semifinal, Federer defeated Djokovic, who had upstaged world no.1 Rafael Nadal in the 2013 final. Djokovic was suffering from a wrist injury and Federer took full advantage of the Serb’s reduced capability. The straight sets victory came in 75 minutes and it looked as if Roger Federer might add the Monte Carlo title to his repertoire at least this year. But Wawrinka had other ideas.
In the men’s doubles final player earlier, the legendary Bryan Brothers won against Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 6-3, 3-6, 10-8. In a match lasting 72 minutes, the Bryans began well by easily taking the first set but ran into trouble in the second, when the third seeded Croatian/Brazilian pair fought back. They broke the Bryan’s serve in the seventh game and when the brothers tried to force the break-back later, Dodig and Melo saved three break points to level the match. The match went into the deciding tie-break with Bryans going up 4-1 at one stage. Dodig and Melo raised their game and brought the score to 9-8 in Bryan’s favor. But an untimely double fault from the Croatian/Brazilian team gave the brothers their 98th title. The tally for Mike Bryan, however, reached 100, since he had two additional victories in 2002 with different partners, when Bob was unavailable for some reasons. In an amazing achievement, the victory at Monte Carlo was Bryans’ fifth consecutive title; after their triumph in the final at Memphis, held in February this year. They have now extended their unbeaten streak to 21 matches.