Stan Wawrinka claimed his first French Open title on Sunday afternoon in Paris, pulling off an unexpected win over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
Djokovic seemed to be taking over to start the fourth, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. Wawrinka quickly broke him twice to get back in it. Leading 4-3, Djokovic earned three break point opportunities.
But when Wawrinka fought him off to even the set at 4-all, he seemed poised to take the title. Wawrinka broke Djokovic in the next game, taking the 5-4 lead, then held again to close out the match.
“I played the match of my life,” Wawrinka later said.
Djokovic has now been runner-up in Paris three years in a row. He had not lost a tournament final since the birth of his son in October. He came into the match with a 28-match win streak, and was looking to complete the career Grand Slam.
The eighth seed, Wawrinka hails from Switzerland, home of 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. The Davis Cup teammates are now the only two men other than Rafael Nadal to win Roland Garros since Nadal started his dominance in 2005.
“In life some things are more important than victories: character and respect. I have a great respect for you Stan," Djokovic said during the awards ceremony.
Wawrinka had only beaten Djokovic three times in 20 previous meetings. The win makes him the second man to win the juniors and main draw in Paris since Mats Wilander did so in 1988.
"He completely deserves to be the winner today. He was courageous," Djokovic said afterwards. "It some important moments he came up with big shots and I didn't, and that's what makes the difference."
The last time a player beat the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds en route to a Grand Slam championship was also Wawrinka. That year, he won his first Grand Slam title, the 2014 Australian Open. It was his only other Grand Slam final appearance.