It was a rubber that was considered to be pivotal for whichever team managed to take the early lead. That team was Switzerland, as their No. 2 player Stan Wawrinka opened up the proceedings with a four-set victory over the French No. 1 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Although Wawrinka suffered from a lapse in concentration in the second set, he managed to maintain command of the entire encounter apart from that and eventually defeated Tsonga 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to give his team an essential 1-0 lead heading into the second rubber of the day.
The world No. 4 hit a whopping 61 winners against Tsonga and was clearly in form with his piercing backhand shots. While Tsonga put forth a valiant effort, he was simply unable to change the tide in the match. Following his disappointing conclusion to the World Tour Finals in London last week, where he failed to capitalize on four match points against Roger Federer, it appears ‘Stan the Man’ is ready to claim one final title this season.
“I’m happy with the way I’m feeling on the clay. They were a little bit maybe too focused on Roger. I did my job. I showed them I’m not no. 4 for nothing.”
In the second match of the day, Frenchman Gael Monfils put on a superb performance against a visibly struggling Roger Federer, beating him in straight sets 6-1 6-4 6-3.
More to follow…