It was not the easiest of starts, but Swiss No. 2 Stan Wawrinka managed to earn the victory and send himself into the second round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto. His next on-court appearance will be a compelling match against South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, whom he defeated three years ago in the third round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal for his best result at the tournament to date. Wawrinka leads the head-to-head series 3-1 but lost their most recent meeting at Indian Wells earlier in the year.
Although he did not look particularly rusty following his extended break after the Wimbledon Championships, Stan Wawrinka was unable to prevent the errors flying off his racquet. He eventually dropped serve and allowed France’s Benoit Paire to grasp the 6-4 lead in the contest. Although Paire was averaging 94% of his first service points by the midway point of the second set, Wawrinka still found a way through and forced a decider with a 6-3 scoreline in the second set.
Overall, the Swiss player hit 12 aces and saved 5 of 7 break points he faced. He was particularly strong in the final set tiebreaker, where he only allowed Paire to win two points.
Playing on Wednesday afternoon, Kevin Anderson upset Italian No. 1 Fabio Fognini in straight sets to secure his spot in the third round of the tournament. He hit 12 aces, 78% of his first service points and won 4 of 6 break points to secure the 7-5, 6-2 win in 67 minutes.
This marks the fifth time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Wawrinka leading the head-to-head series 3-1. Although Anderson won their most recent meeting at the Indian Wells Masters event, Wawrinka holds three other Masters 1000 wins against Anderson. It will likely be a close three set battle but if Wawrinka maintain foucs like he did against Paire, he should edge his South African counterpart in the end.
Prediction: Stan Wawrinka in Three Sets