PARIS (Reuters) - World number three Stan Wawrinka came out on top in his slugfest with Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov, winning 6-4 7-6(5) 7-5 on Thursday and move into the French Open third round.
The 2015 French Open champion, who has yet to drop a set here, may have won in three but it was tougher than it looked with Dolgopolov, a former top-20 player giving him a run for his money.
”He pushed me, he pressed me and I had to stay concentrated,“ Wawrinka said in a courtside interview. ”It was a big game and the level was extremely high.
“I had to keep pushing back. I served well and that helped so I am satisfied,” said the Swiss, who fired 16 aces compared to the Ukrainian’s six.
Wawrinka will now face the winner of the all-Italian second round battle between Andreas Seppi and Fabio Fognini.
Wawrinka and Dolgopolov broke each other once early in the first set and both players aggressively looked for quick winners with their rallies lasting an average of 2.8 shots.
But the 32-year-old Wawrinka, aiming to become only the third man in the professional era to win three or more slams after turning 30, squeezed in another break to snatch the first set with a fierce backhand down the line.
The pair traded blows in a finely balanced second set before taking it into a tiebreak, with Wawrinka again emerging victorious. He sealed the second set with an ace.
It was a similar story in the third set with both players pummelling each other until Wawrinka broke Dolgopolov a second time to clinch victory and deny the world number 89 his first third round spot in Paris since 2011.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar