Wawrinka powers through slugfest
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.