Stan Wawrinka Admits ‘It’s Tough to Make a Winner Against Frances Tiafoe’

Published 02/25/2020, 4:08 AM EST


The No.3 seed Stan Wawrinka fended off a stern challenge from Frances Tiafoe to defeat him 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(1) in the first round of the Mexican Open 2020 on Monday. With this victory, Wawrinka moved to the second round in Acapulco for the second consecutive year and third time in his career.

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Wawrinka blasted 35 aces and saved all the 9 break points he faced in the marathon 2 hours and 47 minutes match. The three-time Grand Slam champion won 94% of his first-serve points.

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Tiafoe also displayed some determination in the second set. However, a few errant groundstrokes in the deciding set tiebreak were enough to hand Wawrinka the match.

“He is young, he is a great player, he is moving well, he is playing great aggressive. It’s tough to make a winner against him when he is focused,” Wawrinka said in the post-match interview with La Afición.

“I had a little bit problem to stay focused in this type of match. But I had some chance and I served really well. It saved me a lot of points and help me to get through,” he added.

Stan Wawrinka sealed the first set

The serve was untroubled till the 5th game of the opening set. However, Wawrinka changed gears to break Tiafoe and earn a commanding 4-2 lead. The Swiss star saved two break points before serving out the opening set 6-3 in 35 minutes.

The No.3 seed was splendid on his serve – hitting 7 aces and winning 94% of first-serve points. Wawrinka lost only 1 point on his first serve. Stan’s near-perfect service games put Tiafoe under constant pressure on his own service game, which proved to be the difference between the two in the first set.

Frances Tiafoe edged Wawrinka in the second set

The American was not backing down after the first set as he got back his return game into the action in the second set. He earned five break opportunities in the second game of the set. However, Wawrinka denied all the five chances to get a crucial service hold.

Frances Tiafoe also held a courageous service game while serving at 4-4 as he saved three break points after a deficit of 15-40. The games went with the serve till 6-6 as the set was forced to go through the tiebreaker.

In the breaker, Tiafoe managed to get the mini-break and earn a 5-3 lead but a double fault gave Wawrinka an opportunity to come back in the tiebreaker. However, Tiafoe stepped up to win the next two points on return and win the second set 7-6(4).

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Wawrinka wrapped the match in the final set tiebreaker

The set saw no break of serves till 6-6 with both the players saving break points. While Wawrinka saved two break opportunities, Tiafoe denied 4 Match points to his opponent.

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However, Wawrinka was all over Tiafoe as he won 6 consecutive points to win the tiebreaker 7-1 and seal the match. With this victory, Wawrinka extends his head-to-head 2-0 against Tiafoe. On the other hand, the streak of losing the final set continues for Tiafoe as he lost the 13th consecutive deciding set on the ATP Tour.

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Varun Khanna

1334 articles

Starting off as a tennis author in 2018, Varun Khanna has gone on to contribute to EssentiallySports in various capacities. After setting up interviews with the likes of Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou, Alizé Cornet, and Noah Rubin, Varun is now part of all major ATP and WTA press conferences and has gone on to pen more than 1300 articles for EssentiallySports. He now heads the tennis and NBA division of the organization.

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