Stan Wawrinka showed why he earned the nickname ‘Stan The Man’ on Thursday evening in Metz.
Despite letting slip a match point in the second set, the former World No. 3 stunned top seed Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open. It was the 37-year-old’s first Top 10 win since the 2020 Rolex Paris Masters against Andrey Rublev.
It all seemed to be going wrong when the Swiss star missed his opportunity to close out the match in the second-set tie-break. At 6/5, both players remained neutral in the rally, striking the ball with margin down the middle of the court. Wawrinka broke that pattern by trying to rip a backhand, which he slightly mishit and pulled wide.
When Medvedev clawed through the tie-break to force a decider, momentum was fully on the former World No. 1’s side. But Wawrinka turned it back in his favour by surging ahead 3-0 in the final set.
“At the end of the tie-break I was a little bit frustrated because I started to hesitate a little bit on my shots,” Wawrinka said in his on-court interview. “He is one of the best defensive players, so when you don’t go completely through the ball without thinking too much and it is difficult. I made a few mistakes but I think in general it was a super good level from me. I am super happy with the win.”
Medvedev battled hard to get back on serve, and he saved another match point when Wawrinka served for the match at 5-3. But the three-time major winner held his nerve to triumph after two hours and 21 minutes. With his victory, the Swiss star has levelled his ATP Head2Head series against Medvedev at 2-2.
“We always have some great battles,” Wawrinka said. “He is at the top of the rankings. One of the best players and nicest person outside of the court, so it is always great to play against each other.”
Wawrinka will next play Swede Mikael Ymer, who eliminated home favourite Gregoire Barrere 6-4, 6-3.
In another blockbuster matchup earlier in the day, second seed Hubert Hurkacz defeated former World No. 3 Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 16 minutes. The Pole hit 12 aces and saved the two break points he faced.
Thiem entered the match in good form after reaching an ATP Challenger Tour final last week in Rennes and defeating Richard Gasquet in the first round in Metz. But Hurkacz played too well on the day to take a 3-0 lead in their ATP Head2Head series and set a clash against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech, who ousted Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6(11), 6-3.
Another Frenchman, former Top 10 star Gilles Simon, was unable to move on in his final Metz appearance. Italian Lorenzo Sonego beat Simon 7-6(2), 6-4 and will next face American Sebastian Korda, who advanced on Wednesday.
Did You Know?
All three of Wawrinka and Medvedev's previous matches came at majors. Their ATP Head2Head series is now level at 2-2.