Monte Carlo, Monaco (SportsNetwork.com) - Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka will meet in an all-Swiss final at the Monte Carlo Masters after both were semifinal winners on Saturday.
Federer has never won this storied clay court event, mostly because of the dominance of Rafael Nadal, but will get a chance on Sunday after a 7-5, 6-2 win over defending champion Novak Djokovic in the second semifinal. The second-seeded Serb battled through an injured wrist in the second set.
Three straight times Federer lost in the final to Nadal, who won this title eight consecutive years before falling to Djokovic in last year's final. Nadal wasn't around for the semifinals this year after losing to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the quarterfinals.
Ferrer, the 2011 Monte Carlo runner-up to Nadal, was unable to duplicate his success from Friday as Wawrinka claimed a 6-1, 7-6 (7-3) victory in the first semifinal.
Wawrinka dominated early on Saturday, winning the first five games. The second set was tight until the tiebreaker, which Wawrinka opened by taking the first four points. Ferrer never recovered.
"I started really well," Wawrinka said about his play Saturday. "I know when I'm moving well and I can dictate the game, I'm always good against him. I did a really good job, especially at the beginning."
Wawrinka won the Australian Open earlier this year for his first Grand Slam title and on Sunday will try for his first Masters crown. He lost to Djokovic in the 2008 Rome final and fell to Nadal in last year's Madrid title match.
The third-seeded Wawrinka will try for his third title in as many finals in 2014. Before taking the Aussie Open, he captured the season-opening event in Chennai.
However, he had a tough time in March on the hardcourts in the United States, suffering fourth-round losses at both Indian Wells and Miami. He'll carry a 6-9 finals record into Sunday's match against Federer.
Federer is 78-38 all-time in title matches and will play in his fourth of 2014. He lost to Lleyton Hewitt in Brisbane to start the year, beat Tomas Berdych in Dubai and lost to Djokovic at Indian Wells.
It took just 75 minutes for Federer to exact a measure of revenge on Saturday.
Federer saved two set points while serving at 5-4 in the opening set, then broke serve in the next game and finished the set with an ace. Djokovic appeared to be favoring his wrist between sets and did not put up much of a fight in the second.
"Of course, I did see that Novak was struggling at one point," said Federer. "For me it was more just making sure that from my side I was playing a good, solid, tough match with some good defensive play sometimes, but mostly trying to stay on the offensive as much as I could."
Djokovic had a 14-match winning streak stopped, a stretch dating back to a semifinal loss to Federer in Dubai. He was trying for a fifth straight Masters crown after pulling off the Indian Wells-Miami double last month.
Federer improved to 18-16 lifetime against Djokovic and will carry a 13-1 mark against Wawrinka into Sunday's final. The lone Wawrinka victory, however, came in the 2009 quarterfinals of this event.
"I think it's incredible that we are in the finals together," Federer added. "We've been playing well for some time now. This one is clearly very special, especially with the way he's been playing the past few months, the number of hours we spent together on court either playing doubles or practicing. It's really wonderful."
Sunday's winner will collect $760,000.