Thursday, 22 January 2015

Stan made to work hard

As defending champion, Stanislas Wawrinka has not had the level of attention placed upon him as expected this tournament, that spotlight taken up in large doses by his countryman Federer and to a lesser extent the Australian contingent.

Nevertheless as he progresses through the rounds his name will no doubt be thrown around as a possible semi finalist and the talk of a repeat clash with Novak Djokovic, the player he defeated in last year's quarter final.

Today he crossed swords with huge serving Romanian Marius Copil, ranked 194, before changing his mind and resorting to tennis racquets instead.

The first four games were shared, with one break point, and that one saved by Stan in the opening game.  Very few clean winners were hit during this stanza, although a number of errors were forced through weight of shot from serve or off the ground. 2-2 and the two were just warming up.

Serving dominated proceedings further with Copil winning an extraordinary percentage of points on his second serve alone.  The Romanian faced no break points whereas Stan had to deal with two more before the tie break was inevitably reached.

The first two points went against serve and from1-2 Copil delivered three successive unforced errors which Stan lapped up, and with three set points ultimately available he secured the first set using the second of them, a backhand winner the final nail. 7-6 Wawrinka.

Set two soon became another serve fest with neither player in serious danger apart from the third game for Copil and the eighth game for Wawrinka where the one trick couldn't cover all contingencies.  The Wawrinka backhand had some glorious moments and the speed clock continued to be interesting reading whenever Copil put his mind to a decent first serve.

It was going to need another tie break success for Stan to take a two set lead - nothing was coming easily today.

Copil with two successive aces led 3-2, but with his next two serves failed to inspire, unforced errors enabling Wawrinka to serve for the set.  His forehand winner at 6-4 did the trick and the Swiss star led 7-6 7-6.

The third set was fairly uncomplicated and no more breaks for seven games.  Even in the eighth game it appeared that Stan may have wasted the chances he had on the Romanian serve.  However the gift came from Copil himself when he double faulted, handing Wawrinka a 5-3 advantage.

Stan rode the break home with glee and with more match practice than expected from Marius Copil, entered the first weekend safely in the third round 7-6 7-6 6-3

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