A first-time encounter is scheduled to take place between Stanislas Wawrinka and Pere Riba in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Wawrinka is coming off a disappointing first round exit in Madrid and will be looking to rebound with a strong showing at the Italian Open, starting with his Tuesday encounter with Riba.
Lausanne native Stanislas Wawrinka 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.
Since then, Wawrinka has not won a match on the tour, as he suffered a highly unexpected loss to Dominic Thiem in his opening match in Madrid. It was a poor showing from the Swiss No. 1 and he will be looking to rebound this week in Rome. Wawrinka is a former finalist at the event, as he lost to Novak Djokovic at this event ink 2008. He is defending second round points this year, after losing to Alexandr Dolgopolov last year.
World No. 98 Pere Riba defeated Paolo Lorenzi 7-6, 6-3 to reach the second round of the Italian Open. It was his first ever main draw victory at the event in four attempts.
This marks the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour. Wawrinka will certainly be a heavy favourite against the Spaniard ranked 95 places below him in the rankings. It will be interesting to see how the Swiss star reacts to his recent loss, as it could lead to an intriguing match-up on Centrale tomorrow.
Prediction: Stanislas Wawrinka in Straight Sets