Wawrinka pow­ers through slugfest

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

PARIS: World No 3 Stan Wawrinka came out on top in his slugfest with Ukraine’s Alexandr Dol­go­polov, win­ning 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 yes­ter­day and move into the French Open third round.

The 2015 cham­pion may have won in three but it was tougher than it looked with Dol­go­polov giv­ing him a run for his money.

“He pushed me, he pressed me and I had to stay con­cen­trated,” Wawrinka said in a court­side in­ter­view. “It was a big game and the level was ex­tremely high.

“I had to keep push­ing back. I served well and that helped so I am sat­is­fied,” said the Swiss, who fired 16 aces com­pared to the Ukrainian’s six.

Wawrinka and Dol­go­polov broke each other once early in the first set and both play­ers ag­gres­sively looked for quick win­ners with their ral­lies last­ing an av­er­age of 2.8 shots.

But the 32-year-old Wawrinka squeezed in an­other break to snatch the first set with a fierce back­hand down the line.

The pair traded blows in a finely bal­anced sec­ond set be­fore tak­ing it into a tiebreak, with Wawrinka again emerg­ing vic­to­ri­ous. He sealed the sec­ond set with an ace.

It was a sim­i­lar story in the third set with both play­ers pum­melling each other un­til Wawrinka broke Dol­go­polov a sec­ond time to clinch vic­tory.

Mean­while, ninth seed Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska lived up to her nick­name as the ‘Pro­fes­sor’ when she dug deep into her tool­box of tac­tics to re­pel tena­cious qual­i­fier Ali­son Van Uyt­vanck 6-7 (7/3), 6-2, 6-3 yes­ter­day.

The Pole said she had a point to prove at Roland Gar­ros af­ter her 2016 melt­down in a shock fourth de­feat against Tsve­tana Pironkova.

“Un­fin­ished busi­ness, you said it well,” Rad­wan­ska told re­porters when asked about her 2016 exit. “I am hop­ing the weather stays like that this time. I feel good in this heat.”

Rad­wan­ska was taken by sur­prise in the first set on a sun-drenched Court Suzanne Len­glen when the ag­gres­sive Bel­gian went 3-1 up and squan­dered four break points to go 4-1 up.

De­spite fight­ing back, the Pole could not han­dle her op­po­nent’s big kick­ing serve and stream of drop shots and Van Uyt­vanck bagged the tiebreak with a smash.

“She started very well and on clay she can do a lot of things,” Rad­wan­ska said. “She was mix­ing up a lot of shots. She can hit the ball re­ally well.

“In the sec­ond set I had to play my game and not wait for her mis­takes.”

Rad­wan­ska de­cided to change tac­tics and mixed it up as well, rush­ing to the net more of­ten and at­tack­ing the Bel­gian’s high-bounc­ing serve early to race through the sec­ond set 6-2.

The 23-year-old Van Uyt­vanck was bro­ken in the third game and the Pole never looked back.

Rad­wan­ska won her match when her op­po­nent dumped a back­hand into the net af­ter two hours and 23 min­utes.

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