Coming into the 2015 French Open, Novak Djokovic likely thought the biggest hurdle he'd have to clear to finally win the tournament was beating the dominant Rafael Nadal, who'd won nine of the last 10 titles at Roland Garros.
Instead, it was Stan Wawrinka he should have been worried about.
Wawrinka, the No. 8 seed in the field, shockingly upset Djokovic, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, winning his second Grand Slam title and preventing Djokovic from earning his career Grand Slam. He made a little history along the way, per ESPN Stats & Info:
After, both players spoke about the match, per Christopher Clarey of the New York Times:
Wawrinka blasted 60 winners, nine aces and won 76 percent of his first serves, per RolandGarros.com.
He was simply the better player throughout, creating 15 break-point opportunities and converting on four. Djokovic created 10 but converted just two. Wawrinka was also clinical at the net, winning 23 of his 33 net approaches.
After Djokovic took the first set and Wawrinka matched him in the second, the Swiss underdog started to dominate in the third. His strong serve, powerful forehand and incredibly effective backhand down the line—which frustrated Djokovic throughout the match—were too much for the world No. 1 to overcome.
Some of the shots he hit in that set were simply ridiculous, and Roland Garros on Twitter passed them along:
The fourth set was a masterpiece at times and a wild ride at others. Djokovic breezily took the first three games and looked to have seized momentum before Wawrinka dug deep, using his power to even the set.
Then came the crucial moment.
Facing two break points in the next game, Djokovic managed to hold serve. Again, he appeared to have swung the momentum and in the next game had three break points to take a 5-3 lead. But Wawrinka wasn't about to be cornered, either, shockingly recovering to hold serve.
And that was that. Wawrinka broke Djokovic in the next game and served out to earn the victory.
It was tennis at its finest, per Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated:
For Djokovic, the loss has to be devastating. After finally getting past Nadal at Roland Garros—and beating Andy Murray in the semifinals, too, no small feat—the stage seemed set for Djokovic to complete the career Grand Slam. Instead, he'll now have to turn his attention to maintaining his world No. 1 ranking and taking titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Nonetheless, he was a class act in defeat, as always, and the Roland Garros crowd rewarded him with a lengthy round of applause, per SI Tennis on Twitter:
For Wawrinka, this victory served notice that he might be ready to break into the top four elite players in the game, often considered to be Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and Roger Federer. When Wawrinka plays like he did Sunday, he's incredibly difficult to beat given his power.
For just the second time in 11 years, Nadal wasn't triumphant in France. The script called for Djokovic to unseat the king. Instead, it was Wawrinka who decided to insert himself into the story in the most dominant fashion.