The pick of the matches on quarter-finals day has to be that of the all-Swiss affair between Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka. Federer looks like he never stepped away from the clay while Wawrinka has finally found some form at one of his favourite events.
He hasn’t had the toughest of opponents this fortnight but Federer has looked strong in his four rounds to date, not dropping a set. His latest victim was Leonardo Mayer, whom he beat 6-2 6-3 6-3. Backed by some strong serving stats, Federer has been hard to break down – facing 0 break points in this most recent win. “It was tough conditions… I think when it’s this kind of conditions, it’s fast, it’s swirly, especially the one side, you have a lot of wind in your back. It’s like you’re serving from sort of a tree, from a mountain, and from the other one you feel like you’re playing up the hill,” he said on the task he faced in the win. “[It’s] important it’s focused there and I did that well, and I’m very pleased with the game.”
Wawrinka picked up one of the best wins since his return from injury a while back, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 5-7 6-4 3-6 8-6 in a 5 hour epic. He was up against it for large parts of the match against the talented young Greek but delivered when it mattered late on. He saved 8 break points throughout the fifth set and then converted on the second of two match points late on, the only break points he had throughout the set. “That’s the kind of emotion I was practising to have back, for sure. Playing in front of such a crowd, such a big atmosphere, five-set match in a Grand Slam, that’s the reason why I came back from the surgery in the first [place],” Wawrinka said. “It’s because I love and enjoy to play in front of people, to play in the biggest tournaments you can play. Today was something really special.”
“On clay, it’s been definitely more dangerous than on any other surface for me against him, I hope he’s not at the level of ’15, but we’ll find out, because there he was crushing the ball. It was unbelievable.” Federer said on the matchup. Signs are that he may be nudging closer to the level of 2015 but whether Wawrinka can keep up that level after his dramatic and tiring fourth round remains to be seen.
Prediction – Roger Federer in four sets