Once the breath of fresh air in a predictable ATP World Tour, we may be getting to a scenario at the semi final stage where Stan Wawrinka winning his fourth slam is the least interesting story of the four competitors. His opponent Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal would add another notch to the total of two of the greatest of all time while a Grigor Dimitrov win would signify the Bulgarian finally living up to his hefty potential. Wawrinka and Federer will play on Thursday night in the first of the semi-finals, a slight advantage to the winner but in reality both of Sunday’s competitors should be well rested. Roger leads the Head to Head with 18-3.
After witnessing Andy Murray succumb to a stunning serve and volley performance from Mischa Zverev, Federer made no such mistake in the quarter-finals. He routined the German 6-1 7-5 6-2, hitting 65 winners and breaking serve six times in the victory. It was a welcome relief for Federer having come off a five set epic against Kei Nishikori in the previous round. Meanwhile, Wawrinka was even more impressive in his quarter-final. He was broken just once in his straight sets victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, barely giving the Frenchman a look-in throughout. It was his toughest opponent to date and he dealt with Tsonga like a potential champion should.
Wawrinka had always lived in the shadow of Federer as you would expect when the star of your country has the resume that Federer does. However, Stan is now a superstar in his own right but the head to head still makes for brutal reading even massively favouring Federer in the period that their careers have been going in opposing directions. Federer is 18-3 including 5-1 in slams. Federer was extremely complimentary of the changes Wawrinka has gone through in recent years, even if he still has the upper hand by far. “I think he’s done incredibly well on all the other surfaces, including grass actually, also indoors, hard and fast. He’s become such a good player, I super respect that, that the guy is able to transform his game around like that, in his footwork, in his mind, also in his game plan.” he said.
Despite winning multiple slams in the period since Federer last won one, it feels like Wawrinka still finds it tough mentally against Federer as well as it being a positive matchup for the 17 time slam champ. Their last meeting at a slam was in New York in 2015 where Wawrinka lost 6-4 6-3 6-1, failing to break the Federer serve even once. “Last time I think I got killed in US Open. He was playing way better than me, moving really well, really aggressive from the court.” he said. If Federer can get repeat that and get Wawrinka on the back foot earlier, the fourth seed will find it difficult to come back.
Roger Federer in four sets