Hello. If there’s one thing that’s been missing from the men’s tour in the past two years, other than a fit Andy Murray, it’s a fit Stan Wawrinka. The man with the brutal, beautiful backhand has found it tough since reaching the 2017 French Open final and losing to Rafa Nadal in three sets. A
Hello. If there’s one thing that’s been missing from the men’s tour in the past two years, other than a fit Andy Murray, it’s a fit Stan Wawrinka. The man with the brutal, beautiful backhand has found it tough since reaching the 2017 French Open final and losing to Rafa Nadal in three sets. A knee injury has taken its time to heal and the sport has suffered as a consequence. Tennis needs Wawrinka. When he’s in the mood and he’s hitting the lines and finding those outrageous angles, there’s no one with a better chance of taking down your Federers, your Nadals and your Djokovices.
The good news is that there have been glimpses of the Wawrinka who beat Djokovic in the 2015 French Open final this week. Up to 28 in the rankings after an encouraging run of form, he looked awesome against Cristian Garin on Wednesday and is likely to take some stopping when he faces former future Roger Federer Grigor Dimitrov in the last match on Suzanne-Lenglen today. Dimitrov had a good and surprising win over Marin Cilic in the second round, but he lost in the first rounds of Wimbledon and the US Open to Wawrinka last year. It should be entertaining. It should be a Wawrinka win.
If it is then that opens up the tantalising possibility of the Swiss facing rising Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round. Drool. But first Tsitsipas has to beat Filip Krajinovic on what promises to be a busy day in the men’s draw. It’s hard to know where to look, you know. Before Stan meets
Mr Dimitrov, there’s Roger Federer against Casper Ruud, Rafael Nadal against David Goffin, and Kei Nishikori against Laslo Djere. Exciting!
Meanwhile our main focus on the women’s side will fall on Johanna Konta, with the British No1 set to face Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova. Konta had never won a match at the French Open before this week, but the 26th seed has a good chance of reaching the fourth round for the first time. Kuzmova, remember, made it through after Kiki Bertens, the fourth seed, retired early from their second-round match with stomach flu.
Elsewhere Karolina Pliskova, the second seed, will need to be careful against Petra Martic, Sloane Stephens faces Polona Hercoq and there’s an intriguing match between Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 champion, and Elina Svitolina, who’s excellent on clay. Svitolina has a 5-1 record over Muguruza, but there are doubts over the Ukrainian’s fitness. Conclusion: anything could happen.
Play begins at: 10am BST, 11am in Paris.