Stanislas Wawrinka signalled his French Open ambitions by beating Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 in an all-Swiss Monte Carlo Rolex Masters final.
Wawrinka, the Australian Open champion and No.3 seed, recovered from the loss of the opening set to claim his maiden Masters title on the Monte Carlo clay just six weeks before the grand slam tournament in Paris from May 25-June 8.
"I can see that when mentally I'm there and I'm fighting, I can play tennis, I can beat all the players," Wawrinka said. "When I came here, for me it was more like a test. I knew I was playing good tennis, but I didn't expect to win because the draw was so strong. Clay, it's natural for me. It's easy. I'm always happy to come back on clay. It's always easy."
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Federer, whose only defeat in 14 previous matches against Wawrinka was in Monte Carlo in 2009, said: "I had a great week. Congratulations to Stan; I hope it will continue for you like that for years."
Federer, the No.4 seed who beat an injured Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, was his brilliant old self for almost an hour but was eventually overwhelmed by his opponent's power. "I don't think I served quite so well early on in the third set," Federer said. "He gave me a couple cheap points in the first couple sets while he later on really didn't give me any more."