Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka faced each other in the Monte Carlo final, with each trying to win their first title there.
After hitting a career milestone at the 2013 US Open with his first Grand Slam semifinal, Wawrinka justified the years of expectations thrust upon him a few months later by winning the 2014 Australian Open for his first major title.
That win brought him to No. 3 in the world, and made him the top-ranked Swiss on the ATP Tour, surpassing his more-accomplished countryman, Federer.
When the spring clay-court season arrived, both of them advanced to the final at the Monte Carlo Masters, the third ATP 1000-level event of the year. In the semifinals, Wawrinka defeated David Ferrer, who had eliminated top seed Rafael Nadal, while Federer knocked out former champion and world No. 2 Novak Djokovic.
Going into the match, Federer was the overwhelming favorite, having won 13 of his 14 prior matches against his compatriot. Completely familiar with each other’s games—and comfortable enough with each other to practice together on the day of the final—the two stayed on even ground through the first few games, before Federer secured a break. Maintaining his advantage, Federer closed out the opener 6-4.
In the second set, the two exchanged early breaks, then held on to 6-all. The tiebreaker was a straightforward affair in Wawrinka’s favor as he took it 7-5 to level the match. Buoyed by that performance, the Australian Open champion turned up the aggression, quickly going up 4-0 in the third set. At 5-2, 40-15, Wawrinka blasted an inside-out forehand mid-rally, which Federer had no chance at, giving him the title and the first Masters championship of his career.
This was the second time in his career Federer faced a countryman in a final. The only other time was his first championship match in Marseille in 2000, when he lost to Marc Rosset.
Wawrinka extended his personal best of titles won in a year with three. Before 2014, his other four singles titles came in different seasons for each one.
The last—and only, to this point—time Wawrinka had beaten Federer was in 2009 in Monte Carlo.
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