"After the match won tonight, I was there," Wawrinka told reporters, drawing laughter. "After the semifinal in the US Open, I knew that I was close to be[ing] there. But still was for me far away to make a final in Grand Slam.
"For me, I was so far. Was not my goal to make final in Grand Slam."
Still, here he is. He has already suspended his disbelief in this tournament, when he beat Djokovic in a stellar four-hour match. That ended a 0-for-14 personal showing against Djokovic and underlined how differently Wawrinka is seeing the ball -- and himself.
"I don't know how I feel for first final," he said. "It's because I beat Berdych tonight. I won against Novak, also. I had some great matches. So, that means I have the level to be there." It almost sounded as if he was trying to convince himself.
"I need to play my best," Nadal said.
If that happens, Wawrinka's best simply will not be enough.