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Wawrinka beats injured Nadal to capture Aussie Open title

Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Stanislas Wawrinka defeated an injured Rafael Nadal in Sunday's men's final at the 2014 Australian Open.

The eighth-seeded Swiss upset the world No. 1 star 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 at Melbourne Park's Rod Laver Arena, where the Spaniard labored mightily with a back injury on Australia Day.

Trailing a set and a break, Nadal actually left the court for a medical timeout in the second set, only to return to a chorus of boos.

The Grand Slam title is the first of Wawrinka's career, in his 36th major event, as he becomes only the second-ever Swiss to corral a major singles championship, joining the great Roger Federer, who was blown out by Nadal in a semifinal here on Friday.

"Rafa, I'm really sorry for you, I hope your back is going to be fine, you're a really great guy, good friend and really amazing champion," Wawrinka said during the trophy presentation. "Last year I had a crazy match, I lost it. I was crying a lot after the match. But in one year a lot happened -- I still don't know if I'm dreaming or not but we'll see tomorrow morning."

In the fourth and final set on Sunday, Wawrinka broke Nadal for a 4-2 lead, only to see the gritty Spaniard break right back to hang around.

Wawrinka, however, promptly broke Nadal again and then served out the bout on his first match point by swatting one final forehand winner.

Wawrinka blew through the first set and was ahead in the second when Nadal first showed signs of a back problems. A retirement looked like a real possibility at the time, with mighty left-hander striking sub-80-mile-per-hour serves.

The Lausanne native Wawrinka was aggravated during Nadal's medical timeout, demanding that officials tell him why the Spaniard needed the break.

Wawrinka then aggressively finished off the second set before Nadal fought back in the third.

Nadal saved break points to hold in the opening game of the third set and then broke Wawrinka and held for a 3-0 lead.

He won the third set as Wawrinka started piling up some errors, with the Swiss appearing unable to handle the pressure of being in his first Grand Slam final.

But Wawrinka composed himself once again in the fourth and ultimately cruised to victory.

The Swiss slugger prevailed in 2 hours, 21 minutes by firing 19 aces among his 53 winners (53-19) and tallying three more service breaks (5-2) than Nadal on Day 14.

"He deserves to win the title," Nadal said of Wawrinka. "I'm very happy for him, he's a great guy.

"I'm obviously disappointed and very sad about what happened. But that's life, that's sport. I've really had a lot of great moments in my career. That's a tough one. Just accept it and try to keep working hard for what's coming."

Nadal has had a tough go of it with injuries at the Aussie Open. He missed last year's edition during a seven-month layoff with knee injuries and illness, and his quarterfinal losses in 2010 and 2011 were affected by injuries.

Wawrinka had been 0-12 lifetime against Nadal, including a round-of-32 Aussie Open loss in 2007, and had never taken a set off the Spanish great prior to Sunday.

The 2009 champion Nadal was playing in his third career Aussie Open final (1-2) and second in three years.

Wawrinka appeared in his first career Grand Slam final.

Nadal played in his 19th career Grand Slam final overall (13-6), tying Ivan Lendl for second on the men's all-time list.

The 28-year-old Wawrinka will move up to a career-high No. 3 in the world on Monday after beating the top-two players in the world this week. He improved to 6-9 in his career finals overall, including 2-0 already in 2014, as he has yet to lose this year (10-0).

Wawrinka became the first player to beat both Nadal and Djokovic at a major event.

The last player to beat the top-two seeds at a Grand Slam was Sergi Bruguera at the 1993 French Open.

The 27-year-old Nadal fell to 61-25 in his career finals, as he was trying to become the first man in the Open Era to win each Grand Slam twice.

The "Big Four" of Nadal, Djokovic, Andy Murray and Federer had won 34 of the previous 35 Slams.

American legend and 14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras was on the court for the trophy presentation Sunday. A win by Nadal would have tied him with Sampras on the men's all-time list.

Wawrinka colleted $2.35 million for the biggest win of his career, while Nadal settled for $1.175 million.