Stan Wawrinka felt Andy Murray was less aggressive and less confident in their French Open semi-final on Friday than he had been a year prior.
Wawrinka was beaten by eventual runner-up Murray in the last four in 2016 but came out on top in a five-set epic at the same stage this time around, securing a 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 victory on Court Philippe Chatrier.
World number one Murray has endured a difficult 2017 but appeared to be rediscovering his best form in Paris until he was stopped in his tracks by the big-hitting Swiss.
Having won the final two sets to come from behind and triumph, Wawrinka spoke about the difference in his opponent from their encounter 12 months ago.
"Well, last year he was much more aggressive," he told a news conference. "When I play Andy, I always want to dictate the game, be aggressive, play in the court, go up to the net. But last year he was stronger.
"He was very aggressive, and he never really let me install my game. That is really what I struggled with and what I found so frustrating last year.
"Today I think he's less confident. He played a bit less fast. He was a little more hesitant, and that gave me a bit more time to actually install my game.
"When you start hesitating, you don't necessarily make the right picks. Sometimes he was very smart at shooting good balls, which made me hesitate."
Wawrinka, the 2015 champion, now stands between Rafael Nadal and a slice of Open Era history as the Spaniard bids to become the first player to win the same grand slam on 10 separate occasions.
"When you play Rafa in the French Open, you're never the favourite," said Wawrinka, who has triumphed in each of his three final appearances at majors.
"If you lose, it's almost normal. But of course you don't want to lose a grand slam final, do you?
"So I'm going to look for solutions, and I'll have to be physically and mentally present and be strong in order to win for the second time here at the French Open.
"I mean, look at his track record on clay. It is just amazing. He's the best player we have ever had."