Stan Wawrinka battled to a 7-6(6) 5-7 6-4 3-6 8-6 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in a five-hour epic in the fourth round of the French Open.
The Swiss, 34, had to draw on every ounce of determination and energy in his body to get the better of his talented young foe, who impressed everyone watching with his superb shot-making abilities.
And there will be a lot resting on the World No.28’s recovery if he is going to continue his bid for a second title at Roland Garros. His quarter-final opponent will be friend and compatriot Roger Federer, who will be feeling fresh after he breezed past Leonardo Mayer in straight sets.
In the first set, Wawrinka and Tsitsipas virtually matched each other stroke for stroke. Their serving percentages were very high and very similar, their winners (11) and unforced errors (12) tallies were identical and there was only one break point in the entire set.
Consequently, the set was dominated by the respective server throughout. The inevitable tie-break followed the same pattern, and there was nothing between the players until the Greek gifted the set to the Swiss with a double fault when he was 6-7 behind.
Tsitsipas wins thrilling second set
While the match did not really catch light in the opener, that soon changed in the second set. Tsitsipas adopted a more aggressive approach. He went for his shots more from the baseline and came into the net whenever possible.
For the first three games, it worked superbly as he held twice and wore Wawrinka down in between to earn a break and establish a 3-0 lead.
However, the Swiss player responded superbly. He battled to a hold in game four. Then he fashioned a break point opportunity and seized it with a brilliant cross-court backhand pass.
There was a brief lull in the drama as both players held comfortably. But then it all kicked off again in game eight as a fired-up Tsitsipas produced some great shots to earn his second break of the set.
After Wawrinka raised his level to break back immediately, the Greek did not react well. He smashed three water bottles and received a code violation warning from the umpire.
That release of frustration almost enabled Tsitsipas to break the Swiss in game ten, but the three-time Grand Slam champion saved four break points and clung on to make it 5-5.
As it turned out, that hold only delayed the outcome that had seemed likely for a while, as the World No.6 broke Wawrinka in game twelve to level the match at one-set-all.
Wawrinka responds like the champion he is
The 24th seed realised he needed to improve in the third set. He started that process by serving better than he had in the second set and continued it by putting pressure on Tsitsipas’ serve.
Consequently, Wawrinka almost broke in game three and game five. However, while the Greek survived on both those occasions, he could not do anything in game seven.
First, the Swiss player hit a brilliant backhand winner that landed right on the sideline. Then, at 15-30, he unleashed a powerful forehand winner that bounced just inside the same line. And finally, when he was faced with two break points against, Tsitsipas missed a backhand.
After another comfortable hold, Wawrinka forced break points on the Greek’s serve for the fourth time in succession. And for the third time in four tries, Tsitsipas clung onto his serve.
This only delayed the inevitable, as the Swiss remained rock-solid on his serve to close out the third set.
Tsitsipas forces a decider but Wawrinka wins it
Tsitsipas made a great start to the fourth set. He broke Wawrinka in game two and saved a break point in game three to forge a 3-0 lead.
The World No.28 steadied himself to hold and then broke back in game five. However, the Greek applied a lot of pressure in the next game and Wawrinka faltered to enable him to break again.
That virtually finished the set, as the Swiss made no impression in Tsitsipas’ next two service games. The World No.6 held twice to clinch the set 6-3 and take the match into a decider.
For the first ten games, the decider was a mostly cagey affair as neither player took too many risks when their opponent was serving. The exceptions to this were games one and five when Wawrinka saved break points.
And, when the set came to life in game eleven, the Swiss found himself in trouble on serve again. Tsitsipas earned three separate break point chances. However, he squandered them all and the set continued.
After two comfortable holds of serve, Wawrinka led 7-6. That enabled him to swing freely on the Greek’s serve, which is exactly what he did.
He hit a succession of powerful cross-court shots which led to errors from Ttitsipas and a 15-40 scoreline. Then he knifed a superb backhand just beyond the grasp of the World No.6 to seize his first match point.
Marcos Baghdatis And Iga Swiatek Among Initial Wimbledon Wildcards
Marcos Baghdatis and Iga Swiatek have received a wildcard for Wimbledon as the third grand slam of the year approaches.
Marcos Baghdatis and defending Juniors champion Iga Swiatek are among the initial wildcards for Wimbledon.
The initial wildcards for Wimbledon have been announced this morning with former Wimbledon semi-finalist Marcos Baghdatis among the Men’s wildcards.
Having not played since May and not appeared on the main tour since February, Baghdatis is a surprise choice for a wildcard spot given the options.
Players such as Nicolas Mahut, Feliciano Lopez and Dustin Brown were seen as candidates for a main draw wildcard but it seems that at the moment that spot has been given to the Cypriot.
Joining Baghdatis as main draw wildcards on the men’s side is the British trio of James Ward, Jay Clarke and NCAA champion Paul Jubb.
Meanwhile on the women’s side, last year’s Women’s junior champion Iga Swiatek has been given a wildcard after her incredible rise.
Since winning the Juniors title last year, Swiatek has reached her maiden WTA final, risen to number 65 in the world and reached the fourth round at Roland Garros.
Joining Swiatek, as the British wildcards are Harriet Dart, Heather Watson and Katie Swan as there are four more spots to be announced.
As more wildcards are yet to be announced, the likes of Feliciano Lopez, Dustin Brown and Katie Boulter could still receive a main draw wildcard.
Meanwhile in the doubles event Lleyton Hewitt has once again received a doubles wildcard despite ‘retiring.’ The 2002 singles champion will team up with compatriot Jordan Thompson.
Here are the wildcards below, with the singles draws taking place a week on Friday:
— Michal Samulski (@MichalSamulski) June 19, 2019
Greg Rusedski Tips Tsitsipas To Become The Next Federer
The Greek sensation has been backed to rise to the top of the world rankings.
Former US Open finalist Greg Rusedski has praised Next Gen star Stefano Tsitsipas by saying he has characteristics similar to that of Roger Federer.
The former world No.4 believes the greek has what it takes to conquer the men’s tour. So far this season Tsitsipas has played in four ATP finals, winning titles in Marseille and Estoril. In total, he has won 32 matches on the tour this year. The joint-highest alongside Rafael Nadal. At the age of 20, he is already the first man from his country to reach the semi-final of a grand slam and crack the top 10.
“He’s so much better as a player than he was a year ago and he’s getting better,” Rusedski told Amazon Prime.
“His transitioning game coming forward, playing doubles so much more this year. I think he will be a Wimbledon champion as well as a world number one. He’s that good.”
Continuing his tribute to the world No.6, the Brit believes he plays similar to some of the stars of the game. Tsitsipas is currently 10-15 against top 10 opposition in his career and has defeated every member of the Big Three at least once. The most recent being against Nadal at the Madrid Open.
“He reminds me of a young Roger Federer. A guy who’s got that full package.” Rusedski analyzed.
“He looks a little bit like Bjorn Borg the way he walks around the court but what I like, he’s a complete player and he has this mental fortitude where he believes he belongs.”
Tsitsipas is the top seed at this week’s Fever-Tree Championships in London. He will be hoping for a strong run ahead of the Wimbledon championships, which he reached the fourth round at last year. Looking ahead to the grand slam, he is optimistic about the prospect of ending the dominance of Nadal and Co. It has been 16 years since a player outside of the Big Four (counting Andy Murray) has won Wimbledon.
“I want to be honest. I would love to see something different this year,’ he said.
‘Hopefully, it can be me, but I think it’s good for the sport to have a bit of variety, something different. It’s boring to see all these guys winning all the time. Djokovic is the reigning champion.”
Tsitsipas will play Kye Edmund in his first match at Queen’s.
Nick Kyrgios Confident of Inflicting ‘Damage’ At Wimbledon, But Not With Andy Murray
The Australian explains why he doesn’t want to play doubles with Murray at The All England Club.
LONDON: The grass courts of London feels like a second home for Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.
It is a time of year he relishes. Five years ago at Wimbledon, he made his first breakthrough with a run to the quarter-finals. Stunning Rafael Nadal on route. Since then, his love affair with the surface has only got stronger. Even if he is yet to contest a final of a grass-court event on the ATP Tour.
“It’s quite similar to Australia. Ultimately it feels a little bit like home.” Kyrgios told reporters on Monday.
“This is probably my favorite time of the year. Obviously, the Aussie summer is pretty good, but just being in London when the weather is like this is pretty hard to beat. Just playing on grass every day, it’s a lot of fun.” He added.
The 24-year-old kick-started his grass campaign two weeks ago in Surbiton at a Challenger event. Playing in the doubles tournament with Thanassi Kokkinakis, the duo won a match before falling in the quarter-finals. Following on from that, in Stuttgart, he crashed out in the first round to Matteo Barattini, who went on to win the tournament.
The results may not be groundbreaking, but Kyrgios’ belief and confidence remains unhinged heading into the next grand slam of the season. Currently ranked 39th in the world, it is touch and go if he will be seeded at Wimbledon. Depending on how he performs this week at Queen’s.
“I definitely feel like I can do damage.” The former top-20 player commented about his Wimbledon prospects. “I have had a lot of good wins on grass. Obviously made a quarterfinal run when I was a little bit younger, but I think if the stars align, for sure I can do damage there.”
It will take a lot for Kyrgios and his rivals to break the dominance of the Big Four, who has won the Wimbledon trophy every year since 2003. However, he feels that should a shock happen in a grand slam. It is more likely to take place at the grass-court major.
“I’d probably say it is. I say if somebody is serving big and feeling themselves that week, I think for sure they could probably make more of a run.”
The return of Murray
Besides his own goals, Kyrgios is also relishing the return of one of his rivals and friends. Andy Murray is set to play in the doubles at the Fever-Tree Championships alongside Feliciano Lopez. It will the first test for the three-time grand slam champion after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery.
“He’s a warrior. I hit with him a couple times in London, obviously when I took a spell from the French.” Kyrgios said of the former world No.1.
“He’s still hitting the ball unbelievable. I think he’s well good enough to do damage in any doubles of any players, especially this week with Feliciano. I’d almost pay to watch that match. They’re going to be tough to beat.”
Looking further ahead, Murray is still pondering who he will team up with in the doubles at Wimbledon. It will be only the second time he has played doubles at the major and first since 2005. Among the candidates for a partner was Kyrgios, who has now ruled himself out.
“It’s just good to see him back, but I don’t think I want to carry him for Wimbledon dubs. I think he can find someone else to do that for him.” He explained.
“When I hit with him in Wimby a couple weeks ago, we spoke about it. But it’s best-of-five sets, which is tough. I don’t know if my body — if I happen to go deep at Wimbledon, it’s too tough to play doubles.”
Flying solo, Kyrgios is hoping for a boost this week at the Fever-Tree Championships. In his first round on Tuesday, he plays Adrian Mannarino. A player who won an ATP title in s-Hertogenbosch on Sunday.
Back From The Brink Of Retirement, Andy Murray Lights Up Queen’s In Comeback
Furious Nick Kyrgios Slams Court Officials After Queen’s Exit
Berrettini Stops Seppi In A “Mat” Versus “Andy” Battle
Stefanos Tsitsias Draws Positives From Huge Scare At Queen’s
Rafael Nadal’s French Open Dominance In Numbers
Controversial ITF Ranking System To Be Scrapped Following Player Backlash
Anna Tatishvili Fined For Failing To Meet ’Professional Standards’ At French Open
Serena’s Coming: Dominic Thiem Forced To Stop And Move His French Open Press Conference
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