November 21, 2014
Stan Wawrinka gave Switzerland a dream start in the Davis Cup final by defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets.
Then it was down to Roger Federer to see if he could make it a perfect day for his country at one of the biggest occasions our sport has ever seen.
A world record crowd for a competitive tennis match filled the arena in Lille. And 27,432 spectators couldn’t complain about the level of drama to which they were treated. Tsonga seemed to freeze early on and was broken in the fourth and sixth games by a rampant Wawrinka. It took the Swiss just 26 minutes to take the first set 6-1.
But Tsonga hit back to level with his own self-assured, 6-3 set to create a rousing atmosphere at the very first clash. It was down to who wanted it more and who had the greater mental strength under pressure.
Tsonga blinked first and was broken, allowing Stan The Man to take the third set 6-3.
Could the Frenchman hit back again in front of his own crowd? The answer was no. And the importance of the occasion almost seemed to be too much for him.
Wawrinka closed out the match 6-2 to leave the vociferous Swiss support in raptures, already glad they had made the journey.
Now it was time to see whether Federer’s back would hold and the great man could maintain the momentum.