The current reality of Stanislas Wawrinka is very different from the one he experienced a few years ago. In 2014, the Swiss won the Australian Open and reached number three in the ATP ranking, while in the following years he also lifted a Roland Garros and a US Open. Nevertheless, two surgeries on his left knee in 2017 meant that ‘Stan’ was off the track for a long time. Last year, two more operations, this time on his left foot, put the Swiss on the brink of retirement. These setbacks have not made Wawrinka give up, and the Swiss continues to compete despite being totally removed from the glory he experienced just over five years ago. Today, the player who is now the 284 in the world, surprised Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-7(7) and 6-3 in 2h24 of the match in the round of 16 of the ATP 250 in Metz. The one from Moscow, in addition, had an ugly gesture with the French public.
This Thursday’s is Wawrinka’s most important triumph since in 2020 he beat Andrey Rublev, eight in the world at the time, at the Masters 1,000 in Paris. The last few years have been very complicated for the Swiss, who in 2021 ended his season in March. In this 2022, ‘Stan’ returned to the courts also in March, although this round was not easy at all: in his first 12 matches on the ATP circuit, he had only won three of them. Arriving in Metz, Wawrinka had accumulated six consecutive losses, several of them in renowned events such as Wimbledon or the US Open. the swiss had to go to the preliminary phase to access the final table of this tournament, and he achieved it by imposing himself on Djere and Piros. These victories brought back the smile of the winner of three Grand Slams, who yesterday took advantage of the moment to unseat Sousa, and today he did the same against Medvedev, number four in the world.
Wawrinka took advantage of Medvedev’s serious mistake with the serve, a problem that reappears in the Russian’s tennis. The former world number one committed 12 faults, and barely won 31% of the points played with his second serve (13/42). In addition, the Swiss was able to overcome not having closed the match in the tie-break of the second set, in which he had a ‘match-ball’. This victory gives a great shot of confidence to a Wawrinka who, counting the games of the previous phase, already has four consecutive victories, something he had not achieved since 2020 (when he reached the quarterfinals in Australia and won the Prague Challenger). Stanislas will face Sweden’s Ymer in the next phase, in what will be the first quarter-final of an ATP tournament for Wawrinka for the first time since January 2021, when he reached this round in Melbourne (although he did not play the match due to injury). .
This defeat is another setback to the difficult year that Medvedev is going through. The Russian, who just over a week ago relinquished world number one to Alcaraz after being eliminated in the round of 16 at the US Open, has only won the Los Cabos tournament this season. In fact, this triumph in Mexico is the only one that the Russian has achieved since last year he lifted the first Grand Slam of his career in New York. His attitude on the track this Thursday left something to be desired again, and that is that Daniil returned to face the stands, as he has done several times in the past. On this occasion, after giving up his serve in the third set, Medvedev slammed his racket against the ground and, being reproached by the French public, the Russian addressed them by putting his thumbs down and putting his hands in his armpits. It did not sit well with the fans, who continued with the boos.
In the other big game of the day in France, Dominic Thiem was unable to get a win similar to Wawrinka’s. The Austrian, winner of a Grand Slam and very burdened in recent years by injuries, today faced the player with the highest ranking since his return to tennis in 2022. The Pole Hubert Hurkacz (10 in the world) did not give Thiem an option, and prevailed in just an hour and a quarter by 6-3 and 6-4, truncating the dream of the now 182 in the ATP ranking. The local was not able to advance either Gilles Simon, former world number six and three-time champion in Metz. The Frenchman, who will retire from professional tennis at the age of 37 once his participation in the next Masters 1,000 in Paris ended, he could not beat the Italian Lorenzo Sonego, winner 7-6(2) and 6-4.