A fantastic second round clash is scheduled to take place at the Mutua Madrid Open, as world No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka and talented qualifier Dominic Thiem meet on Tuesday afternoon. These two competitors have never crossed paths on the ATP World Tour before, which will certainly make this an interesting encounter.
Lausanne native Stanislas Wawrinka is currently taking part in a breakthrough season on the ATP tour, as he won his first Grand Slam title earlier this season on Melbourne, before managing another first-time achievement when he won his first Masters 1000 event in Monte Carlo. At that event, he would rally from a set down in the final to defeat 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. Wawrinka is now at a career-high of No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, which also means that he has usurped the Swiss No. 1 title from Federer.
“I have always been a hard worker,” said Wawrinka. “It’s the only way to improve. My fitness trainer of many years, Pierre Pagnini, is one of the most important guys in my team, and I really enjoy our work. Both Pierre and Magnus push me. When I step out on the court with Magnus, we always try and improve something. That has been really important.”
Wawrinak has been drawn into a favorable quarter, as his nearest seed is Mikhail Youzhny, so the Swiss will likely have a clear path to the quarter-finals if he gets past his upcoming opponent. A highly intriguing Wawrinka vs. Kei Nishikori match-up could be in the cards for that stage of the tournament.
After losing in his first clay court match of the season to Nicolas Mahut in Monte Carlo, Dominic Thiem rebounded by reaching the third round in Barelona, defeating Radek Stepanek and Marcel Granollers before losing to Santiago Giraldo. The world No. 70 began his week in Madrid with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Dimitry Tursunov, which sets up his intriguing first-time encounter with the Swiss No. 1.
This marks the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour. Both players have developed their respective games tremendously this season, and it will be interesting to see who is in better form. Wawrinka should have the advantage against his lesser-ranked opponent, but Thiem is showing a level of raw talent and ability that will one day see him in the Top 20.
Prediction: Stanislas Wawrinka in Three Sets