Back in January, Stan Wawrinka began his title defense at the ‘Happy Slam’ against Marsel Ilhan. Now, five months later, the Swiss No. 2 and fourth seed at the event is scheduled to open his French Open campaign against Ilhan, which made for an interesting coincidence. Wawrinka leads the head-to-head series 1-0 and will likely remain undefeated against the Turkish player.
Prior to his last tournament ahead of the French Open, which took place in his hometown of Geneva, Stan Wawrinka looked as though he was set to arrive in Paris with some significant momentum. After alternating wins and losses for three consecutive Masters 1000 events, Wawrinka arrived in Rome, where he defeated Juan Monaco, Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal before losing to Roger Federer in the semi-final round. His win over Nadal was particularly impressive, yet he had that momentum halted when he failed to serve out a match against Federico Delbonis in Geneva and instead lost the contest in three sets.
The Swiss star will come up against Marsel Ilhan, who failed to qualify for the Madrid Masters event but managed to work his way into the Rome Masters 1000 draw, where he defeated Adrian Mannarino before losing to Rafael Nadal in the second round.
This is set to be the second time that Wawrinka and Ilhan will cross paths on the tour, and is not a particularly challenging contest for Wawrinka last time around. Wawrinka leads the head-to-head series 1-0 with a win earlier this year at the Australian Open, where they also met in the opening round. While anyone is capable of surprising a high seed early on in the tournament, this is unlikely to be the case here. Wawrinka looked to be in-form over the past few weeks apart from his bizarre exit from the tournament on home soil in Geneva last week. He should be able to work his way past Ilhan with relative ease.
Prediction: Stan Wawrinka in Straight Sets