Resurgent Stan Wawrinka Eyes French Open Breakthrough - UBITENNIS
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Resurgent Stan Wawrinka Eyes French Open Breakthrough

It has been almost two years since the former top 10 player reached the second week of a grand slam tournament.

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Stan Wawrtinka (photo by chryslène caillaud, Copyright @Sport Vision)

Four years have passed since Stan Wawrinka won the French Open and since then his journey on the tour has been far from plain sailing.

 

A knee injury sidelined the three-time grand slam champion for almost six months between 2017-2018. Upon recovery, he would require an additional three months off in order to continue his rehabilitation last year. A frustrating process that saw him drop to as low as 263rd in the world last June before he made a steady climb back into the world’s top 50.

Fortunately, things are now on the up for the Swiss player, who is currently ranked 27th in the world. In his opening match at Roland Garros, Wawrinka rallied to a 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-3, win over Jozef Kovalik. Earning his first win at the tournament since reaching the final two years ago. In 2018 he crashed out in the first round to Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

“I think in general, the match was quite good.” Said Wawrinka. “I think the third and fourth sets were really good. I was putting more energy into it. I was being more aggressive, playing more simple. And I’m happy in general to have won the first match.”

Heading into the clay-court major, Wawrinka has been far from his best. At both Rome and Geneva he suffered first-match losses. The Madrid Masters is currently the only clay event he has achieved back-to-back wins on so far this season. At the tournament he reached the quarter-finals before suffering a comprehensive defeat to king of clay Rafael Nadal.

“It’s tough to really say where I am right now. I think in practice court I’m playing really well. I didn’t find a way really to play really well in match the last few weeks except maybe Madrid a little bit.” He reflected.
“I’m still believing with myself, I know I’m ready for it, and hopefully it can arrive this tournament.”

Known as somebody who plays his best tennis on the biggest stages of the sport, Wawrinka was once seen as a major contender at every major prior to his injury woes. However, since Wimbledon 2017 he has only managed to score consecutive wins in a major tournament once. Doing so at the US Open last September.

Wawrinnka’s next match will be against Chile’s Christian Garin in what is likely to be a tough encounter. Garin, who is a former top five junior player, has already won two ATP titles on the clay this season. Doing so in Houston and Munich. He was also a finalist in Sao Paulo back in February.

“It’s a beautiful match to play. He’s an excellent player. He’s won a lot of matches this year on clay.” Wawrinka commented about his upcoming clash.

Garin won the French Open boys’ title back in 2013, exactly 10 years after Wawrinka did. In his opening match he dismissed Reilly Opelka 7-6(0), 7-5, 7-6(7), to record his first ever win in the main draw of a grand slam as a professional player.

“I’m really happy. This year has been an amazing year for me, so I’m really happy to be in the second round of Roland Garros.” Said Garin.

The upcoming match will be the first meeting between the two players on the tour.

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Mikhail Kukushkin beat Italian Next Gen star Jannick Sinner in St. Petersburg

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Mikhail Kukushkin beat 18-year-old Italian 18-year-old Italian Next Gen rising star Jannick Sinner 6-3 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 40 minutes. Kukushkin fended off nine of the eleven break points he faced.

 

Sinner, who turned 18 last month and received a wild-card to take part at the next November’s ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan, did not convert three break points in the first game, but Kukushkin saved them to hold his first game.

Kukushkin, who won his only title in St.Petersburg in 2010, was the first to break serve in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Sinner earned three break points but Kukushkin fended them off. Sinner saved a break point in the eighth game but Kukushkin served out the opening set on his first set point.

Kukushkin went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead, Sinner converted his second break-back point to draw level to 2-2. Kukushkin got a break lead for the second time but Sinner rallied from the break down for the second time to draw level to 4-4. Sinner earned set point at 5-4 to force a decider, but Kukushkin saved it to draw level to 5-5. Kukushkin got a mini-break in the tie-break to win the tie-break 7-4.

Adrian Mannarino, who won his first ATP Tour title in s’Hertogenbosch, beat Stefano Travaglia 7-5 6-2 after 1 hour and 19 minutes. Travaglia held his first two service games at love and broke serve to open up a 4-1 lead. Mannarino converted his first break-back point for 3-4. Both players held their serve to draw level to 5-5. Travaglia saved a break point, but he made two double faults to drop his serve in the 11th game for 5-6. Mannarino served out the first set on his first point.

Travaglia saved a break point at the start of the second set, but Mannarino converted his second chance.

Travaglia earned two break-back points in the second game but did Mannarino saved them to open up a 2-0 lead. Mannarino went up a 3-0 lead. The Frenchman saved a break point in the sixth game to race out to a 5-1 lead and sealed the win on his first match point.

 

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Andy Murray To Play Four Tournaments In A Row Following Shanghai Wild Card

It is going to be a busy few week’s for the British player as he continues his comeback to the tour.

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The comeback of former world No.1 Andy Murray is gaining momentum after he received a wild card into the most high-profile men’s tournament in China.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion has been given entry into the Shanghai Masters, which will get underway on October 5th. Murray is one of only three players to have won the title three or more times. His last triumph was back in 2016 when he defeated Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the final. That was also the last time the Brit played in the tournament after being hampered by a serious hip injury over the past two years.

“I’m really looking forward to going back to Shanghai, a tournament I have had success at in the past.” Murray said in a statement.
“Thanks to the tournament for a wild card, it’s great to be able to continue my comeback and play more tennis in China. Shanghai is a great city; I feel comfortable there and the fans are always supportive.”

Murray is continuing his return to the tour after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery earlier this season. The second operation he has had on his hip in as many years. So far in his singles comeback, the 32-year-old has lost his opening matches in Cincinnati (to Richard Gasquet) and Winston-Salem (to Tennys Sandgren). He is currently ranked 415th in the world.

“We are delighted to have Andy return to the tournament where he has been so successful,” Shanghai tournament director Michael Luevano said. “He is incredibly popular with our fans and we are all thrilled to see him back on the courts and heading to Shanghai.’
“He has been through a lot physically in recent times so to see him back doing what he loves is very rewarding for everyone in tennis.”

The addition of Shanghai to his schedule means Murray will play four tournaments in four weeks across two continents. He will also play at events in Zhuhai (ATP 250) and Beijing (ATP 500) prior to the Masters tournament. Then the week after, he will return to Europe to play at the European Open (ATP 250) in Antwerp, Belgium.

Murray is hoping to return back to his top form. So far in his career, he has won 45 titles on the ATP Tour and spent 41 consecutive weeks as world No.1.

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Borna Coric Opens Up About Split With Coach

The Croatian No.1 has criticised his ex-mentor for working with Maria Sharapova earlier this year.

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Borna Coric has said he had differences of opinion with his former coach ‘for some time’ before they decided to go their separate ways.

 

The world No.15 has shed light on the reasons behind his decision to part ways with Riccardo Piatti earlier this month. The two have worked together since 2017. Under Piatti’s guidance, Coric won the biggest title of his career in Halle last year. However, he hasn’t won any more silverware since then.

“There have been differences for some time, since the beginning of the year.” Coric said earlier this week.
“They reached the pinnacle at the US Open, after which we all sat around a table and decided to interrupt the collaboration.”

Piatti is a renowned coach in the world of men’s tennis and has worked with many top names. Including Novak Djokovic, Richard Gasquet and Milos Raonic. He also has his own academy in Italy, where he spent some time with Maria Sharapova during the summer and supported her during the US Open. Something that has been criticised by Coric.

“We can say that, it certainly did not help to resolve the differences and made the situation worse.” He commented on Piatti’s work with Sharapova.
“This was one of the main reasons. He is following several projects and could no longer focus fully on me. Given this and the previous divergences, we assessed that the separation was the best option.” Coric added.

The 22-year-old is hoping to end the year on a high after another injury setback. At the US Open he was forced to withdraw from the second round due to a back injury. His win-loss for the season currently stands at 23-15. Coric’s best runs so far in 2019 were at Doha and s-Hertogenbosch where he reached the semi-finals of both tournaments.

Coric is set to return to action next week in St. Petersburg, where he will be the fourth seed.

“Regardless of the situation, I have to try to make the most of this season . I am working hard in anticipation of the return to the field in St. Petersburg.” He concluded.

For the rest of the season Coric will be coached by Antonio Veic. Although there is a chance that more members will be added to his team in the near future.

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