Wawrinka ready for Murray rematch


Stan Wawrinka feels he is in better form heading into this year's French Open semi-final with Andy Murray than he was 12 months ago, when the Briton won in four sets.

Wawrinka, then the defending champion, was beaten 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-2 in 2016 before Murray lost to Novak Djokovic in the final - the Serbian completing a career grand slam in the process.

Twelve months on Wawrinka and Murray meet again in the last four after quarter-final victories over Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori respectively.

Wawrinka has yet to drop a set in this year's tournament at Roland Garros and he hopes that stands him in good stead against the world number one.

"Hopefully it's a different result [against Murray]," Wawrinka joked in his post-match media conference after beating Cilic 6-3 6-3 6-1. "That's what I expect and I hope.

"It's going to be interesting match, for sure. Last year I was playing really well. I was confident.

"He was playing better than me I remember that. In the semi-final, he was really aggressive in his game. He was pushing me all the time, so it was tough for me to find any solution last year. 

"But again, it's a different year. I think he's been struggling a little bit since the beginning of the year, but he's in the semi-final. A champion like him, they find a way to win matches.

"He's playing better and better. So I expect him to play his best tennis. But again, I know the way I'm playing so far, and hopefully I can win this match. I think I'm playing better than last year."

On the other side of the draw, Rafael Nadal will face Dominic Thiem after the latter ousted Djokovic 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-0.

Wawrinka was surprised to see the sixth seed win so easily, particularly picking up a bagel in the third set against the reigning champion.

"For sure, no one expected Djokovic [to lose] 6-love in the third set," he added. 

"I watched a little bit of the first set. He [Djokovic] had some [chances] to take it, to be a little bit more confident, little by little.

"But the fact that Thiem took that set and started to be a little bit more [confident] and going a little bit more for his shot, he killed the match."

But Wawrinka backed Djokovic to bounce back from the upset heading into Wimbledon.

"Novak is still looking [to find] his way back," said the Swiss. "He's still fighting, trying to find the right way to find his tennis. He didn't find it yet, but we all think he's going to find it. 

"Hopefully [it will be] soon, because he's a great champion. It's always nice to see him play well."