Stan Wawrinka brought Andrey Rublev’s successful 11-match run to an end by defeating the Russian fifth seed 1-6 6-4 6-3 to make the quarter-finals of the Rolex Paris Masters and record his best post Covid-lockdown result.
I think of course at the beginning he was playing faster than me, was playing better than me. It was tough for me to really find any solution when he’s playing that well Stan Wawrinka
Rublev, who qualified for the ATP Finals at the O2 by winning the Amsterdam title last week, started well by storming through the opening set only for the Swiss three-time grand slam champion to recover thanks to his powerful game and greater experience.
“I think of course at the beginning he was playing faster than me, was playing better than me,” Wawrinka admitted. “It was tough for me to really find any solution when he’s playing that well.
“I was still believing that I could change something in my game and play a little bit better.”
Wawrinka progresses to a Friday meeting with Alexander Zverev who edged past Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-6(11) 6-7(7) 6-4, taken to three sets when he failed to convert a match point in the second and be forced into a decider.
“It’s going to be a tough one, for sure,” said Wawrinka, who has lost all three of his previous encounters with the German seeded four. “I lost to him in the Australian Open. Lost a few times to him already in the past. He’s a tough player for me to play, so it’s going to be interesting. I watched him a little bit tonight. He played also a long match. Hopefully I can deliver a great match tomorrow night.”
Zverev, the world number 7 and runner-up at this year’s US Open has other things on his mind which might prove distracting for his efforts on court.
Having confirmed that he is to be a father by a former girlfriend and then denied allegations of abuse to a second former girlfriend, Olga Sharypova, who has gone public in Racquet Magazine with more allegations of that nature, expanding on them and describing other incidents which including a punch in the face.
Meanwhile Rafa Nadal continues to add to his career wins with a 6-1 7-6(3) victory over Australian Jordan Thompson.
“I think I played a good first set. A lot of good shots, good winners, serving well. And then in the second, was not able to find a way to the break,” Nadal said of his 1001st victory.
“He started to serve very well, I think, and I missed a couple of returns that I could do better; I should do better.”
Nadal will meet his countryman Pablo Carreno Busta who remains in contention for that remaining place at the O2 following his 7-5 6-2 victory over the Slovak qualifier, Norbert Gombos.
“I need to be ready to play my best against an opponent that I know is playing well and with confidence,” Nadal said. “I hope to be ready to play my game well because that’s what I’m going to need.”
Frenchman Ugo Humbert kept up his own winning streak with his 8th win, this time upsetting Marin Cilic 6-3 6-7(4) 6-3 but could well find his hands full when he takes on a bigger hitter in Canada’s Milos Raonic, a 7-6(1) 6-1 winner over American qualifier Marcos Giron.
Finally, an intriguing match for Diego Schwartzman, the diminutive Argentine who is currently in the eighth and final place for the O2. To cement himself in that slot he needs to reach the semi-finals but needs to clear a big hurdle in the shape of Russia’s Daniil Medvedev.
The sixth seeded South American looks in good form recovering well to defeat Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1 6-1 while Medvedev, seeded three, eventually eased past Aussie Alex De Minaur 5-7 6-2 6-2.