at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Monaco – Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final on Sunday.
The Australian Open champion had lost his previous two Masters finals and looked like losing a third until Federer's level dropped suddenly late in the second set, and Wawrinka began troubling the 17-time Grand Slam champion with his aggressive backhand.
The fourth-seeded Federer, who accepted a wild card invitation to play in the tournament, was also looking to win it for the first time after losing his three previous finals here to eight-time champion Rafael Nadal from 2006-08.
Wawrinka has beaten Federer only twice in 15 matches but both victories have come here. He also beat him in the third round in 2009.
“It's exceptional to be able to win my first Masters title here,” Wawrinka said.
With the third-seeded Wawrinka serving for the match, Federer shouted in frustration as he missed an easy forehand on second serve at 15-15. On the next point, Federer's backhand went wide and Wawrinka clinched victory with a crisp forehand winner that landed on the line.
The players, who are good friends, shared a warm hug at the net.
“I had a great week here,” Federer said. “Congratulations to Stan.”
It is the seventh title of the 29-year-old Wawrinka's career, and his third this year. He lost his previous Masters finals at Madrid last year and Rome in 2008.
Federer was seeking the 79th title of an illustrious career, and his 22nd Masters title. The 32-year-old Swiss has lost three of his four finals this year, with the other defeats against Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells and to Lleyton Hewitt at Brisbane.
The next two Masters events on clay are at Madrid and Rome leading up to the French Open, which starts on May 25. – Sapa-AP