Swiss No. 2 Stanislas Wawrinka is through to the third round in Melbourne, where he will now encounter Canadian No. 2 Vasek Pospisil. This is the second time in two weeks that the two have meet in a professional contest, with the overall head-to-head series standing at 1-0 in favour of Wawrinka. Considering the first meeting ended abruptly with Pospisil retiring with an injury, this is expected to be a far more intriguing encounter.
The World No. 8 is undefeated in 2014 so far, as he won his fifth ATP World Tour Title at the Aircel Chennai Open, defeating Pospisil in the semi-final and Roger-Vasselin in the final. It was the perfect start to the season and gave him the necessary momentum heading into the Australian Open.
Wawrinka reached the third round in Melbourne for the sixth consecutive year on Wednesday, defeating Alejandro Falla in four sets 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-4. It was a relatively strong performance from Wawrinka, albeit slightly shaky at some points (particularly the third set tiebreak). The Swiss managed to convert 6 break points and hit 61 winners to defeat Falla in two hours and 47 minutes.
“I was expecting a tough match,” said Wawrinka. “I was focused on myself, trying to be more relaxed, trying to be more positive with myself. At the end the most important thing is to win it. I’m quite happy about that. I’m now looking forward to the next one.”
Wawrinka reached his first Grand Slam semi-final last year at the US Open, where he lost to Novak Djokovic – the same opponent he faced in the fourth round in Melbourne last year, in a contest that will be remembered as arguably one of the best matches on Rod Laver Arena in recent memory.
He is now scheduled to meet Canadian No. 28 seed Vasek Pospisil, who advanced to the third round of a major for the first time when he defeated home favourite Matthew Ebden 3-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(9), 6-1 in the Rod Laver Arena night session. The Canadian dropped the opening set and played through severe back pain for the remainder of the match, as he managed to pull of an unexpected victory over local favourite Ebden.
The biggest factor ahead of the pair’s second professional encounter is Pospisil’s injured back. It was that same injury that forced him to retire in the second set of their semi-final match-up in Chennai and could possibly play into the result of tomorrow match. While Wawrinka should be considered a significant favourite, based on his experience and mental fortitude at this stage of the event, Pospisil has the power and talent to push the match to five sets if he is feeling fit enough to perform.
Prediction: Stanislas Wawrinka in Four Sets