On Friday afternoon, several of the tour’s top players advanced to the final 16 in Paris following impressive wins. Two of those players were Stan Wawrinka and Gilles Simon, who secured their spots in the fourth round and will now cross paths for the fifth time on the professional circuit. The Head to Head series is tied at 2-2, including Wawrinka’s win against the Frenchman at Roland Garros in 2012.
In one of his more complete matches this week in Paris, Stan Wawrinka managed to cruise past Steve Johnson in straight sets to secure his place in the fourth round. He defeated the American without facing any break points on serve and struck 32 winners to close out the 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 win in 89 minutes.
“After the first set, things went quite smoothly; I was a little nervous in the first set,” said Wawrinka. “I hesitated on a few points. I think I was sort of watching, because I didn’t really know what to expect.”
In a typical Roland Garros contest, Frenchmen Gilles Simon and Nicolas Mahut played a four-hour match on Friday that eventually saw Simon advance in five sets. Simon compiled an incredible 69 winners and nine breaks of serve to set up his match-up against Stan Wawrinka. He eventually won the match 6-2, 6-7(6), 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-1.
“We know how good a player he can be on a court. He’s a player I have known for quite a long time now, so I know exactly what to expect. I know what he can do well on a court, what he can do less well. So I’ll try to play that match using my strength and my strong shots.”
This marks the fifth time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with the series split 2-2. Wawrinka holds a win in their only clay court encounter at the French Open three years ago and will likely find a way to get through to the quarter-final stage of the tournament in four sets.
Prediction: Stan Wawrinka in Four Sets