The riveting rivalry between Novak Djokovic (Player Profile) and Stanislas Wawrinka (Player Profile) will get another chapter Friday afternoon in Paris, as both competitors won their third round matches to set up the exciting encounter. They two have already clashed in two magnificent Grand Slam matches this year, the Australian Open and the US Open and it will be interesting to see if the two top 10 players can pick up where they left off in August. Check out the Djokovic v Wawrinka Head to Head.
Wawrinka breezed into the quarter-finals in Paris with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Nicolas Almagro. He hit nine aces and broke the Spaniard four times en route to his 49th win on the tour this season. The World No. 8 has had a turbulent few weeks on the tour, full of missed opportunities as he reached the semi-finals in Kuala Lumpur, the second round in Tokyo, the quarter-final in Shanghai and then a disappointing first round exit on home soil in Basel. With Milos Raonic exiting the tournament to Tomas Berdych earlier today, the Swiss no. 2 has now officially qualified for the for the World Tour Finals for the first time in his career.
On the other hand, Novak Djokovic was forced to dig deep to defeat American no. 1 John Isner in their third round match. It was a hard fought battle as many expected it would be. The first set remained on serve heading into a tiebreaker, which the American secured and took a lead in the match. The World No. 2 bounced back in the second set and raced to a 4-1 lead quickly, wrapping it up in just 25 minutes with 6-1. The set was vastly different from the first one as Isner hit 13 unforced errors to Djokovic’s 2 and only won 52% of his points on first serve (Djokovic won 92%). The third set was much of the same as Djokovic continued to dominate the proceedings and breeze into the quarter-finals, where he will now meet his ‘other’ Swiss rival for the third time this year.
Wawrinka’s only two wins over the Serbian no. 1 came in 2006, leading to their one-sided head-to-head record of 14-2 in favour of Novak. While their series may not be competitive, their latest matches certainly were. The Swiss took the then-no. 1 Djokovic to five thrilling sets in the Australian Open, and lost with a 12-10 score in the 5th set. Their rematch at the US Open was a similarly entertaining contest, where Wawrinka once again took the top seed to five sets but it was an error-filled encounter and he eventually lost in an underwhelming fifth set. It will be interesting to see how the match plays out tomorrow afternoon, as Djokovic is yet to leave his mark on the Paris Masters and a win over Wawrinka would send him to his first semi-final here in Paris. It would also be one step closer to regaining the no. 1 spot.