STANISLAS Wawrinka defeated an injured Rafael Nadal in a dramatic Australian Open final to win his first grand slam title.
Wawrinka was a huge underdog having never won a set in 12 previous matches against Nadal, but he played superbly to break that sequence and was in control of the second when the world number one suffered a back injury.
Remarkably Nadal managed to win the third set but Wawrinka eventually got his focus back in the fourth to clinch a 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 victory.
Pete Sampras had been expecting to mark Nadal’s equalling of his 14 grand slam titles but instead the American presented the trophy to a disbelieving Wawrinka.
The Swiss is the first man to beat Novak Djokovic and Nadal at the same grand slam, and turning to the Spaniard he said: “I’m really sorry for you and I hope your back is going to be fine.
“You’re a really great guy, a good friend and an amazing champion. It’s always a pleasure to play with you.
“Last year I lost a crazy match and I was crying a lot. I still don’t know if I’m dreaming but we’ll see tomorrow morning.”
Nadal had hoped to become the first man in the Open era to win every grand slam title at least twice, but that will have to wait.
The 27-year-old said: “Many thanks to Stan, you really deserve it and I’m very happy for you. We have a great relationship. Bad luck was against me today but you really deserve this.
“It’s been a very emotional two weeks and I’m sorry to finish this way. I tried very, very hard.
“Last year was a very tough moment when I didn’t have the chance to be playing here. Playing this year has been one of the most emotional tournaments in my career.”