Wawrinka condemns Nadal to quarter-final defeat
Stan Wawrinka recovered from 6-2 down in a first set tiebreak to beat Rafael Nadal in a late sensation at Foro Italico.
Nadal had made the final at least on each of his last six tournaments in Rome but his indifferent form continued in the clay court season as Wawrinka claimed a dramatic first set on the ‘breaker 9-7 after he had saved four set points and then took the second set 6-2 thanks to some power hitting.
It means Nadal has not won a clay court tournament this season heading into the French Open, where he will now be seeded outside the top four although his spirits were still high afterwards.
“I was happy with the way I played,” he said. “He played some amazing shots. I’ve lost in the quarter-final but I had two weeks in a row playing well and only one bad match with Andy Murray. I’m not playing bad.
“The only thing I’m sure is I will try in Paris, I feel like I’m playing well and if I continue practicing the way I am, I am confident. I have not been playing with nerves and that’s the most important thing.
“I am ready to accept the challenge but if I don’t play well I lose, life goes on, I have still won there so many times before.”
But for Wawrinka this victory set up an all-Swiss semi-final against Roger Federer.
“It was a great match for sure,” he said. “I’m really happy. I think the first set was really important for him. I’m doing the right thing for a few weeks now.
“He was missing something, the forehand shot on the baseline especially in the first set. To beat Rafa on clay is something amazing for me.
“I’m excited to play Roger, it’s always nice to play each other. It’s never easy for me to play him though, his game is not something I like. He is mixing it a lot and serving well and I will need to be at the top to have a chance of beating him.”