Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka earn a Major record in Paris

Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are the rivals on Court Philippe-Chatrier

by Jovica Ilic
Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka earn a Major record in Paris
© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka will compete in one of the most anticipated Roland Garros first-round matches! Andy and Stan will write history on Court Philippe-Chatrier, becoming only the fifth pair of 37-year-old players in a Major match in the Open era!

Murray is playing his final Roland Garros, and he plans to retire at some point this season after struggling to return to his best after surgeries and setbacks. They are the third pair of veterans competing in a Roland Garros match since 2019, with Ivo Karlovic battling Feliciano Lopez five years ago and Philipp Kohlschreiber taking upon Fernando Verdasco in 2021.

Interestingly, Andy will play his third consecutive Roland Garros encounter against his old rival, losing to Stan in that epic 2017 semi-final and again in the first round four years ago!

Andy Murray & Stan Wawrinka, Roland Garros 2020© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Wawrinka claimed the Roland Garros crown in 2015 over Novak Djokovic, and Murray stood as a contender between 2014 and 2017, losing to Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the closing stages before suffering a tight loss to the Swiss seven years ago.

Two rivals battled for over four and a half hours before Stan prevailed 6-7, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6, 6-1. The Swiss squandered a 5-3 advantage in the opening set and wasted a set point in the tie break, falling behind and experiencing a blow.

Wawrinka made a fresh start in the second set, serving well and rattling off four games from 2-3 to level the overall score. Andy overcame a 4-2 deficit in the third set and clinched a late break, winning it 7-5 and moving closer to the finish line.

The fourth set produced fine serving from both players as they arranged a tie break, a must-win one for Wawrinka. The Swiss produced three mini-breaks, clinching it 7-3 and forcing a decider.

Andy Murray, Roland Garros 2020© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are battling in Roland Garros R1!

Carried by this boost, the former champion delivered four breaks in the final set, leaving Murray behind and entering the title clash against Rafael Nadal, notching his last Major final. Andy skipped Roland Garros in 2018 and 2019, returning in October 2020 and facing Stan in the first round.

Two great rivals were already miles away from their best tennis due to injuries and surgeries, but Stan was still a better player on clay. The Swiss ousted the Briton 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 37 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier, claiming his ninth victory over an old rival.

Stan built the advantage in shortest and mid-range rallies, bringing the win home in that segment. Wawrinka landed 42 winners and 27 unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely and leaving Murray on a pale 10-26 ratio. Andy suffered an early US Open loss two months earlier and struggled again on clay, getting broken six times from eight chances offered to his opponent.

Stan Wawrinka, Roland Garros 2020© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Murray served at 36%, and it was a recipe for disaster on the slowest surface. Wawrinka felt no pressure behind the initial shot, fending off all three break points and raising his level following an early Rome Masters loss.

Andy held in the first game of the encounter, and Stan responded with a backhand down the line winner in the next one for 1-1. Murray squandered game points in the third game and got broken after a forehand error. Wawrinka confirmed the break with an ace in game four and gained confidence.

The Swiss clinched another break in the fifth game with a forehand down the line winner, feeling the ball nicely and holding in the next one for 5-1. The Briton served to stay in the set in game seven and experienced the third straight break to propel his rival 6-1 in front after 33 minutes.

Stan wrapped up the set after taking 19 of the last 23 points, eager to maintain that level in set number two.

Stan Wawrinka, Roland Garros 2020© Shaun Botterill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Wawrinka held in the first game at 15 after an ace.

Murray raised his level on serve and produced two fine holds, staying in touch and performing better than in the opener. Stan changed that at 3-2, forcing the rival's error and delivering a break at 15 for a 4-2 advantage. Wawrinka served for the set at 5-3 and closed it with a forehand winner, moving two sets to love in front after an hour and seven minutes and looking good to seal the deal in no time.

Stan placed a perfect drop shot in the first game of the third set for an early break before facing the first issues on his serve in the next one. Wawrinka saved three break points and held for a 2-0 advantage. Murray held in games three and five, remaining within one break deficit and hoping for more return chances.

Instead, Stan unleashed a backhand down the line winner in the seventh game, clinching another break and opening a 5-2 advantage. The Swiss served for the victory in game eight and landed an ace to seal the deal in style. Murray leads Wawrinka 13-9, winning their previous duel in Cincinnati two years ago after a thriller.

Andy Murray Stan Wawrinka