Stanislas Wawrinka has been having a nightmarish few months. On day 4 of the 2018 Australian Open, it got even worse. In the baking heat at Melbourne Park, shade was a valuable commodity. The 2014 Australian Open champion was one of the big upsets of the day. World No. 7 David Goffin and No. 13 Sam Querrey were among the other casualties as well.
Wawrinka was still suffering from his dodgy knee and left it as late as possible before deciding he was fit to play. Clearly, fate had other ideas, the 2014 champion was too ambitious. A 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 loss to 97th-ranked Tennys Sandgren saw him bow out of the second round.
Wawrinka said, “I only had surgery five months ago. To be that far already, it’s more than what we could have expected.” To be perfectly honest, he still had a visible scar running down his left knee and hadn’t played since Wimbledon. Wawrinka’s game appeared lethargic and posed no threat to Sandgren. The American had never beaten a top-10 player.
Sandgren muted his celebrations out of respect for an injured opponent. However, he added: “It’s a huge deal for me, and something that if I don’t ever get another accomplishment, I can at least hang my hat on this one.”
As a result of the loss, The Swiss player is likely to drop out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2013. Meanwhile, the likes of Novak Djokovic advanced into the third round after being made to sweat by Gael Monfils. It wasn’t so much as Monfils gave him a fight, it was more of the conditions being sweltering. Temperatures soared to around 40° C and the heat got to the Serbian and the Frenchman. Novak was understandably furious because playing in such conditions would have been absolute torture.