Stan Wawrinka entered the 2020 Prague Challenger as the top seed, which earned him a first-round bye. Playing his first Challenger level tournament in 10 years, Wawrinka looked rusty in a hard-fought 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 win over World No. 178 Roman Safiullin in the second round.
The Swiss will now take on Oscar Otte of Germany for a place in the quarterfinals.
Considering it was his first competitive match in over six months, Stan Wawrinka - the only top 50 player in the Prague draw - would have wanted to get off to a good start. And he made sure he prolonged his stay at the event despite dropping the second set against Safiullin.
The World No. 17 himself acknowledged that he has work to do ahead of rejoining the ATP tour on European clay next month.
"It went as expected, for six months not playing. There is still a lot of work to be done, but the most important thing is to have won. I am of course still far from the level that I want to reach. That’s what I’m here for, to play as many games as possible and to work hard," Wawrinka said.
"I know it will take a while to get back on top, even more so with so many months of no competition," he added.
Stan Wawrinka made the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and Acapulco earlier this year, where he lost to Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov respectively. The tour was suspended after that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and a couple of weeks ago Wawrinka announced that he wouldn't be traveling to New York for the US Open.
Stan Wawrinka vs Oscar Otte head-to-head
This will be the first ever meeting between Stan Wawrinka and World No. 217 Oscar Otte. The pair have never met before either on the ATP tour or the Challenger circuit.
Stan Wawrinka vs Oscar Otte prediction
The 27-year-old Otte is yet to drop a set in two matches in the Czech capital, and he could present a formidable challenge to the three-time Grand Slam champion.
Stan Wawrinka dropped the second set against Rafiulin despite leading by a break, and seems prone to suffering lapses in concentration. However, the Swiss should have enough in the bag to take down the German journeyman and reach the quarterfinals - where he could meet India's Sumit Nagal.
The 35-year-old is on an 11-match winning streak on the Challenger Tour, after winning the 2009-10 Lugano titles and his opener at the 2020 Prague Open.
Prediction: Stan Wawrinka to win in three sets.
Tournament: Prague Open 2020
Venue: Prague, Czech Republic
Category: ATP Challenger 125
Surface: Red Clay
Prize money: $137,560
Match timing: 3.45 pm CEST (7.15 pm IST)Published 19 Aug 2020, 13:22 IST