Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka muscled his way past Spanish spoiler David Ferrer 6-1, 7-6(3) on Saturday to move into the final of the ATP Monte Carlo Masters.
Roger Federer, who has never won the trophy in the principality, beat Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-2 as the holder struggled with a right wrist injury which hindered limited his serve speed to the 150 kph range.
Federer, who has lost three finals in Monte Carlo to Rafael Nadal, will be making his first title bid here since 2008.
Djokovic had a tough time in the quarterfinal too as he overcame Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 .
In the first semifinal, world No. 3 Wawrinka needed just 31 minutes to collect the opening set but had to battle his feisty opponent a day after Ferrer had knocked out eight-time champion Rafael Nadal.
“It was a perfect start for me. I played very well despite the windy conditions,” said Wawrinka. “He was more aggressive in the second set, but that’s when I played tougher.”
Wawrinka will be bidding for his first trophy at the Masters 1000 level after winning both Chennai and Melbourne in January.
The Swiss lost the Rome Masters final to Djokovic in 2008 and went down to Nadal in a Madrid Masters title bid last May. Wawrinka improved to 19-3 on the season and has relegated his post-Australian slump where he lost early in both Indian Wells and Miami to ancient history.
The Swiss had not faced a break point until this meeting with Ferrer, improving his record in the series with the Spaniard to six wins against seven losses.
Wawrinka proved unstoppable in the opening set, firing a forehand winner to the corner to earn the early lead. In the second the famed Ferrer resistance stiffened, with the sixth seed giving the Swiss a battle on the clay.
As the set went into a tiebreaker, Wawrinka lifted his level, taking a 4-0 lead and finishing the victory on the second of four match points as Ferrer put a forehand into the net.
The win marked the 100th for Wawrinka in a Masters 1000 and left him with a 15-6 Monte Carlo record from seven appearances.
The results: Semifinals: Stanislas Wawrinka bt David Ferrer 6-1, 7-6(3); Roger Federer bt Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-2.
Keywords: ATP Monte Carlo Masters