Federer, Wawrinka fight for Monte Carlo crown

FINAL HURDLE: Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka meet for the 15th time when they battle for the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters trophy on Sunday. Federer has enjoyed the upper hand in their rivalry, leading their Head to Head series 13-1, but it was Wawrinka who emerged victorious in the pair’s only previous meeting in Monte Carlo in 2009. Federer, who is seeking his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown since winning in Cincinnati in 2012, is looking to add a 22nd Masters 1000 title to his collection, while Wawrinka is hunting for his first. This will be the first all-Swiss ATP World Tour final since Marc Rosset defeated Federer in Marseille in 2000.

WHAT'S AT STAKE: The champion receives $549,000 and 1,000 ATP Ranking points. The finalist receives $269,150 and 600 ATP Ranking points.

NO. 3 RANKING ON THE LINE: Wawrinka needs a win on Sunday if he’s to hold on to his spot at No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Victory for world No. 4 Federer, who dropped out of the top three on July 8 last year, would see him leapfrog his Davis Cup teammate into third place.

FEDERER CHASING ELUSIVE CROWN: Monte Carlo is one of three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles missing from Federer’s collection (along with Rome and Shanghai). The Swiss, who is chasing a 79th title overall, has a 27-10 record in the Principality, reaching three finals from 2006-'08 (l. to Nadal each time). At 32, he’s trying to become the oldest Masters 1000 titlist since Agassi (34) in Cincinnati in 2004.

THIRD TIME'S A CHARM? Wawrinka will be looking for a first Masters 1000 title in his third final after falling at the final hurdle in Rome in 2008 (l. to Djokovic) and Madrid last year (l. to Nadal). Wawrinka’s semi-final victory over Ferrer was his 100th ATP Masters 1000 win. The ten other active players that have 100 match wins at this level all have at least one Masters 1000 title: Federer (295), Nadal (272), Djokovic (213), Murray (143), Ferrer (142), Haas (139), Berdych (136), Hewitt (127), Robredo (121) and Davydenko (103). Wawrinka is looking to become the 59th different Masters 1000 winner.

BIG FOUR DOMINATION: In the past 36 Masters 1000 tournaments (since 2010 Monte-Carlo), the Big Four of Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Murray have accounted for 34 titles (28 of the past 29 since 2011). The only exceptions over the last four years came in Paris-Bercy in 2010 (Soderling) and 2012 (Ferrer). Sunday’s final will bring an end to Djokovic and Nadal’s stronghold over the Masters 1000 events during the past year. The world No. 1 and 2 currently hold all nine Masters 1000s between them: Monte Carlo 2013 (Djokovic), Madrid 2013 (Nadal), Rome 2013 (Nadal), Montreal 2013 (Nadal), Cincinnati 2013 (Nadal), Shanghai 2013 (Djokovic), Paris 2013 (Djokovic), Indian Wells 2014 (Djokovic) and Miami (Djokovic).

2014 MATCH-WIN LEADERS: Federer bids to extend his lead at the top of the 2014 wins leaderboard. The Swiss has 28 wins to his name this season; last year his 28th win did not come until his opening match in Hamburg in July. Here’s a glance at those with the most wins this year:

2014 TITLE LEADERS: Wawrinka seeks to become the first player to win three titles this season. Federer is looking to join the list of multiple-title winners having won in Dubai in February. Just four players have won more than one title this season: Marin Cilic (Zagreb, Delray Beach), Nadal (Doha, Rio de Janeiro), Wawrinka (Chennai, Australian Open) and Djokovic (Indian Wells, Miami).

CLAY-COURT TITLE LEADERS: Federer is looking to join Ferrer and Robredo as active players who own 11 clay-court titles. The active clay-court title leaders are: Nadal (43), Almagro (12), Ferrer (11), Robredo (11), Davydenko (10) and Federer (10). Three of Wawrinka’s six titles have come on clay.

MASTERS 1000 WINS: Federer has won the most matches at Masters 1000 level. He is also second in Masters 1000 titles won with 21: Nadal (26), Federer (21), Djokovic (18), Agassi (17), Sampras (11), Murray (9), Muster (8) and Chang (7).

ALL-COUNTRYMEN FINALS: This is the fourth time this season that players from the same country have met in the final. The first all-countrymen meeting came in Montpellier in February when Gael Monfils defeated Richard Gasquet in an all-French affair. The other two took place last weekend when Spanish players contested both finals in Casablanca (Guillermo Garcia-Lopez d. Marcel Granollers) and Houston (Fernando Verdasco d. Nicolas Almagro). Last season there were six all-countrymen finals throughout the entire year: Montpellier (French), Acapulco (Spanish), Barcelona (Spanish), Munich (German), Roland Garros (Spanish) and Metz (French).

NUMBERS GAME: Wawrinka has yet to be broken this week, holding in all 27 of his service games while facing just two break points. Here’s a look at how the finalists’ numbers stack up this week: (Note:Wawrinka has played one match less than Federer.)

[3] Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) vs [4] [WC] Roger Federer (SUI)

Head to Head: Federer leads 13-1

• Wawrinka is seeking his first ATP Masters 1000 title (0-2 in M1000 finals) and seventh overall (6-9 in finals). His two previous appearances in Masters 1000 finals came in 2008 in Rome (l. to Djokovic) and in Madrid last year (l. to Nadal).

• Wawrinka reached his first final in Monte-Carlo with a 6-1, 7-6(3) victory over Nadal’s conqueror, David Ferrer, winning 85 per cent of points behind his first serve. The Swiss, who hasn’t dropped a set this week, posted a 7-6(5), 6-2 win over Milos Raonic in the QF; received a walkover from Nicolas Almagro in the 3R; and cruised past Marin Cilic 6-0, 6-2 in his opening match.

• Wawrinka has yet to have his serve broken this week. He has faced just two BPs, both of which came against Ferrer. He ranks in the top three this week for points won behind the first serve (82%) and second serve (66%).

• Wawrinka is making his seventh appearance in Monte-Carlo (15-6). His best showing prior to this year came in 2009 when he defeated world No. 2 Federer en route to the SF (l. to Djokovic). He has fallen at the QF stage in his last two visits: 2012 (l. to Nadal) and 2013 (l. to Tsonga).

• Wawrinka has compiled a 19-3 record this season, opening his year with titles in Chennai (d. Roger-Vasselin) and at the Australian Open. In Melbourne, Wawrinka posted three top 10 wins in a row - No. 2 Djokovic, No, 7 Berdych and No. 1 Nadal - en route to his maiden Grand Slam victory. His 13-match winning streak came to an end at the hands of Kevin Anderson in the 4R in Indian Wells. In Miami, the Swiss fell to the in-form Dolgopolov in the 4R also.

• Wawrinka’s QF victory over Aljaz Bedene in Chennai this year was his 300th victory on the ATP World Tour. He became just the fourth Swiss player to reach the landmark after Roger Federer (951), Marc Rosset (433) and Jakob Hlasek (432).

• Wawrinka enjoyed a standout season in 2013. The Swiss native won a personal-best 51 matches (nine vs. top 10 opponents) and was the lone new addition to the year-end top 10. His prize money total of $2,880,925 was his highest return in a single season.

• Wawrinka reached the QF or better on 14 different occasions in 2013, including a SF appearance at the US Open. The 29 year old was also just one of three players, including Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer, to end the year with 20+ wins on both clay and hard courts.

• Federer is bidding to win his 22nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title (21-14) and 79th overall (78-38). He is also chasing an elusive Monte-Carlo crown (0-3 in finals here).

• Federer improved his win-loss record over Novak Djokovic to 18-16 with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over the Serb in the SF. The Swiss held serve throughout the match, saving the two BPs he faced.

• Federer clinched his 950th career win with a 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-1 win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the QF. The Swiss was just two points from defeat at 5-6, 0/30 in the second set before he came storming back. He posted a 6-4, 6-1 win over Lukas Rosol in the 3R after opening his account with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Radek Stepanek, his first clay win of 2014.

• Federer became the third player in the Open Era to reach 950 wins after Jimmy Connors (1253) and Ivan Lendl (1071). The 32 year old tops the 2014 wins leaderboard with 28 victories to his name this year. Last year his 28th win came in his opening match in Hamburg in July.

• Federer is playing Monte-Carlo for the 11th time and for the first time since 2011 (27-10). He reached the final here in 2006, 2007 and 2008, falling to Nadal each time.

• Federer clinched his first title of the season and 78th overall in Dubai in February (d. world No. 2 Djokovic in SF and No. 6 Berdych in F). The Swiss moved clear of John McEnroe (77 titles) into third place on the all-time title list with the win, behind Jimmy Connors (109) and Ivan Lendl (94).

• Federer advanced to his 116th ATP World Tour final in Indian Wells before falling to No. 2 seed Djokovic in three sets. In Miami, he was upset in three sets by Kei Nishikori in the QF.

• Federer opened his season with a run to the final in Brisbane (l. to Hewitt). At the Australian Open, he defeated No. 10 Tsonga and No. 4 Murray en route to the SF (l. to No. 1 Nadal).

• In 2013, Federer became the oldest player to finish a season inside the top 10 since Andre Agassi (35) in 2005. He was also the first player since Pete Sampras (1990-2001) to finish in the top 10 for 12 years in a row. His streak of 11 straight years inside the top five came to an end, however.

Date: 20th April 2014, Source: ATP


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