For just the third time, Stan Wawrinka and Jarkko Nieminen will cross paths on the professional circuit, and will look to settle the score and determine who will take the lead in the series. With the Head to Head tied at 1-1, and with four years separating them from their last encounter, this is set to be an interesting rubber match.
While it was a closer match than many expected, defending champion Stan Wawrinka was able to work his way into the third round of the Australian Open with a tight straight sets win against Copil. He hit 36 winners, 2 aces and won 73% of his first service points to close out the match 7-6(4), 7-6(4), 6-3.
“It was quite tough match. Happy to get through, especially in three sets. Condition wasn’t easy today. Quite hot. Really fast on the court. And he was playing great. He was serving big, putting lots of pressure. Wasn’t playing my best tennis, but I’m happy the way I fight today and the way I did with the match.”
In their second round encounter, Jarkko Nieminen defeated Germany’s Matthias Bachinger in close straight sets to advance to the next stage in Melbourne. The Finnish star hit 41 winners, including 4 aces, and won 71% of his first service points to close out the match 7-6(4), 7-5, 7-5.
“He’s a tough, tough player, lefty,” Wawrinka said of Nieminen. “Love to play from the baseline in the same rhythm. Love to use the speed of the ball. It’s going to be interesting match.”
Wawrinka and Nieminen have not met on the tour in nearly four years, and the Swiss star has not beaten the Finnish veteran since 2009. Having split their previous two meetings, this should be an interesting match, even though their career trajectories have changed dramatically since that time. The defending champion should advance to the fourth round with relative ease.
Prediction: Stan Wawrinka in Straight Sets