Stan overwhelmed Novak in every phase of game - UBITENNIS
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Stan overwhelmed Novak in every phase of game



FRENCH OPEN – Stan is just too tough.The shorts. The striped shirt. The bearded look. The court demeanor. The carefree  look. The pure power in every aspect of his game: one-handed backhand, awesome serve, brute-force forehand. He even beat Novak Djokovic at his own game. He smothered Djokovic’s cute drop shots. He “pushed” just like Novak until it came time to win the point. He practically lived at break point against Novak’s serve. James Beck


Stan who? Wawrinka! He’s no longer Roger Federer’s understudy. He’s the man, Stan The Man. He’s the most dangerous player in men’s tennis.  Forget about a calendar Grand Slam for Novak. No career Slam either, at least for now. Even No. 1 may be in danger sooner than expected.

The ATP Tour just got a little less predictable on Sunday with Wawrinka’s 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 domination of Djokovic in the French Open final. And that’s not even considering that Rafa Nadal may still have something to say about the immediate future of the men’s game. Don’t rule out Rafa making a difference, even as early as Wimbledon. He might have beaten Djokovic, too, if he hadn’t taken his foot off of the pedal when he fought back to 4-4 in that first set of their French quarterfinal. But Wawrinka showed Djokovic that two can play the rope-a-dope game, better known as pushing until an opening comes along.

Why waste all of those big shots just to see the ball come back from Djokovic? But 50 winners! The TV analysts couldn’t stop talking about Stan’s one-handed backhand. Only 11 of those winners were backhands. This one was almost too easy for Wawrinka. John McEnroe and crew kept saying how quickly Djokovic was going to wear out Stan. But it was the other way around. Stan was just too tough, physically and mentally for Novak.

Perhaps, it really was the one-handed backhand that did Djokovic in. Why do you think Wawrinka never showed any true weariness? The TV guys’ assertion that Djokovic was working on Stan’s legs was just TV chatter. While Djokovic spent so much energy running around backhands, Stan just simply nailed backhands. Forget what the TV odometer registered. It obviously wasn’t programmed for one-handed backhanders. Stan showed frustration only once when a drop shot return failed to carry the net. He banged the net a couple of times. Otherwise, he was all business, except the time he smiled while chatting up close with the chair umpire about a line call that the umpire ruled missed the sideline by a fraction of an inch.

That was Stan The Man, looking so pleasant and smiling within himself after having the point taken away that could have tied the ninth game of the first set at 30-all, but instead gave Djokovic double set point. Djokovic won the set a few points later, while Wawrinka won the match as well as the heart of probably millions of viewers across the globe.

Of course, this didn’t just happen on Sunday. It started at the 2013 U.S. Open when Wawrinka practically hit Djokovic off the court before losing in five sets in the semifinals. Sitting in Arthur Ashe Stadium that day, I was suddenly convinced that Stan was the player no one would want to play in the future. He could win Grand Slams, even maybe challenge for the best player in the game. Before then, I just considered Wawrinka to be wins for the likes of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. Stan continued to achieve his potential the following January by winning the Australian Open, sending Djokovic packing in a five-set quarterfinal. He crushed Rafa on clay a few weeks ago in Rome, and then Roger Federer in Paris.

Now wearing the always elusive French crown, Wawrinka may soon be contending for a career Grand Slam himself.

James Beck is the long-time tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspaper. He can be reached at

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Karen Khachanov edges Mikael Ymer in marathon match in Melbourne



Karen Khachanov battled past Mikael Ymer 6-2 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (10-8) in a marathon match after 4 hours and 14 minutes.


Ymer broke serve twice in the second and fourth games of the fourth set to open up a 4-1 lead. Khachanov broke back in the seventh game, but Ymer broke for the third time to take the fourth set 6-3.

Khachanov broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2, but he was broken back in the next game.

Khachanov was not able to serve out the match at 5-3 in the fifth set before trailing 6-8 in the decisive match tie-break. Khachanov came back by winning four consecutive points to clinch a thrilling win.

Australia’s Alexei Popyrin beat Spain’s Jaume Munar 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after 2 hours and 4 minutes setting up a third round match against Danil Medvedev. Popyrin broke twice in each of the first and third sets and saved all four break point chances.

Taylor Fritz came back from two sets down to beat Kevin Anderson 4-6 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-2. Anderson was leading by two sets and 4-2 in the third set, but Fritz broke back before winning the third set at the tie-break. Fritz cruised through the fourth and fifth sets. Fritz will face Dominic Thiem in the third round.

“That was huge for me. He played a really tough five setter just the other day and then obviously coming back. Going back to back five setters is going to be tougher for him than usual. I felt fresh, so I just told myself that I have to keep running”,said Fritz.

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Stan Wawrinka battles past Andreas Seppi in five sets to reach the third round in Melbourne



Former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka rallied from losing the first set to beat Andreas Seppi 4-6 7-5 6-3 3-6 6-4 after 3 hours and 36 minutes reaching the third round for the first time in three years.


Wawrinka went up an early break in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Seppi broke back in the fifth game and held his serve to draw level to 3-3. Seppi broke for the second time with his forehand after two deuces in the 9th game and served out the first set at 15 in the 10th game.

Wawrinka earned three break points at 2-3 in the second set, but Seppi saved them. The Italian player saved another break point chance with his backhand at 3-4, before breaking serve in the ninth game.

Wawrinka broke back in the 10th game, when Seppi was serving for a two-set lead at 5-4 in the second set, and earned his second consecutive break in the 12th game to win the second set 7-5.

In the third set Wawrinka earned two break points with a forehand return. The Swiss player converted his second chance with a crosscourt forehand return winner and held his next service games to win the third set 6-3.

Seppi saved four break points in the seventh game of the fourth set before breaking serve in the eighth game. After going down a break at 3-4 in the fifth set, Wawrinka claimed two consecutive breaks in the 8th and 10th games to seal the win. Wawrinka secured his spot in the third round, where he will face Chile’s Alejandro Tablio 6-4 6-3 6-3.

“It was a tough five-setter that could have gone either way. I kept fighting and I am super happy to get through. The match against Isner will be tough. He is a very dangerous player. You don’t get a lot of opportunities. You need to stay strong, be aggressive, try to make him play as much as possible. That’s it. Stay positive all the match”,said Wawrinka.



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Andrey Rublev overcomes Yuichi Sugita to reach the third round at the Australian Open



Number 17 seed and this year’s Doha and Adelaide champion Andrey Rublev extended his winning streak to ten consecutive matches with a 6-2 6-3 7-6 (7-5) win over Japan’s Yuichi Sugita after 1 hour and 53 minutes.


Rublev won 38 of his 42 first-service points and 8 of his 10 net points. Rublev earned two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games to win the second set. Both players held serve in the third set. Sugita saved the only break point in the 12th game to hold his serve. Rublev sealed the tie-break 7-5 on his second match point.

The 22-year-old Russian player has dropped just three sets in ten matches and won back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide in the first two weeks of the 2020 season.

Rublev hit 20 aces and dropped only four first serve points and never faced a break point.

“The back injury was really tough. Even when I already started to play, I was feeling that I was still not there. Even when I came back after the back injury, it took me four, five months to start again to feel I am here, I am playing tennis again. I started telling to myself: “Try to enjoy, you are on court. Then, when the wrist injury happened, at the beginning it was even worse. Finally, when I play my first tournament, and actually I lost my first match, it was in Halle, I was 7-6 in the third against Mats Moraing. Inside I was feeling that even though I lost, I was a little bit happy that I am here. I am playing. I am enjoying it. From that time, I started to play better and better every week”.  

Rublev set up a third-round match against David Goffin, who beat Pierre Hughes Herbert 6-1 6-4 4-6 1-6 6-3. Rublev earned two breaks of serve in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. The Belgian player went up a double break in the fifth and seventh games to take a 5-2 lead. Herbert pulled one break back in the eighth game at love for 3-5. Goffin served out the second set in the 10th game. Goffin got an early break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Herbert broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Herbert sealed the third set 6-4 with a break in the 10th game. Herbert earned two breaks to race out to a 4-0 lead. Goffin got one break back in the fifth game at deuce, but he dropped his serve for the third time to lose the fourth set 1-6.

In the fifth set Herbert broke serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead, but Goffin broke straight back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Both players traded breaks in the sixth and seventh games. Goffin sealed the win with a break in the eighth game to seal a thrilling win after 3 hours and six minutes.

Ernests Gulbis beat Aljaz Bedene 7-5 6-3 6-2 in 2 hours and 20 minutes. Gulbis saved all eight break points and broke four times. Gulbis sealed the first set with a late break at 6-5. The Latvian player got another break in the fifth game to clinch the second set 6-3 and raced out to a 6-2 win in the third set with two breaks of serve.

Gael Monfils came back from losing the first set to beat Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic 4-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 7-5. Monfils dropped his serve in the first game of the opening set. Karlovic missed a set point in the tie-break of the second set. Monfils earned two breaks in the third and fourth games to close out the match.

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