French Open 2019: Stan Wawrinka Vs Stefanos Tsitsipas, Round of 16, preview and prediction
On Court 1 in the ongoing French Open, Stan Wawrinka played a highly entertaining, absorbing, captivating and perhaps the best match of the tournament so far to get past resilient Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in three tense tie-break sets 7-6(7-5), 7-6(7-4), 7-6(10-8).
Following his phenomenal efforts to beat Dimitrov in straight-sets, Wawrinka meets rampant Greek young sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas in their upcoming fourth round match-up which has all the making of yet another fascinating, engrossing contest.
The sixth-seeded Tsitsipas has just dropped two sets en route his journey to the upcoming Round of 16 clash against the formidable Swiss and is enjoying a dream season on clay, having clinched the Estoril Open and finishing as a runner-up in Madrid after beating Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.
For starters, to make the things interesting, Wawrinka and Tsitsipas have never stood on the opposite sides of the net against each other. Wawrinka’s resurgence and rise above the gloom of defeats and injury-scares in the ongoing French Open so far is what makes their upcoming first ever meeting much more fascinating, adding an altogether different dimension to the fortunes of Roland Garros.
Just as his previous opponent Dimitrov, Tsitsipas, who idolizes Roger Federer, has a serene yet sensational single-handed backhand. With two single-handed backhanders occupying the court at the same time on clay, the upcoming clash promises to be a magnificent tussle between Wawrinka’s power and strength against finesse and precision from Tsitsipas.
Moreover, the evident stark contrast between the veteran Swiss and the exuberant Greek next generation star has the potential to engage the crowd and get them deeply involved. While the youngster Tsitsipas wears emotions on his sleeves, displaying passion, exuberance and vulnerability of the youth, his 34-year old opponent is always calm and composed, stable and level-headed not only in emphatic wins but also in ignominious and heart-breaking defeats.
Among the next gen stars, this year has undoubtedly belonged to Tsitsipas, having already defeated Federer at Melbourne and Nadal in Madrid, apart from winning two titles in the lead up to the 2019 Roland Garros.
Against Wawrinka, the 2015 French Open champion, who is once again finding his feet at the highest level following a long slump in form, the young Greek will have to be at his ominous best to get past the in-form Swiss. Tsitsipas would hope to continue his dream run in the ongoing clay season to keep alive his quest towards his potential first Grand Slam triumph.
Yet, for the Swiss, his morale-boosting win against Dimitrov could turn out to be a season changing victory indeed, a much needed one in the context of his dismal performances in the lead up to Roland Garros.
Following his incredible run to the final of Roland Garros in 2017 where he lost to Nadal in the summit clash, Wawrinka has slumped to an extended run of poor form, failing to register even a single title win. The veteran Swiss would be desperately hoping for a turnaround in his fortunes to arrest his miserable slide that has plagued his career for last two years now.
With Wawrinka back in form, the ongoing French Open presents an ideal opportunity for the three-time Grand Slam champion to once again make an impression on the tour. However, with Tsitsipas enjoying some top form off late, a stern test awaits the Swiss.
Can Wawrinka overpower the young Greek with his power-packed game? Or will Tsitsipas bamboozle and stun the veteran Swiss with an array of his breathtaking shots and theexuberance of his youth?
Another absorbing, intriguing and an edge of the seat thriller awaits us on the Parisian clay.
Prediction: Stan Wawrinka to win in five sets.Published 02 Jun 2019, 13:06 IST