The third round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia will feature a appealing contest between Swiss No. 1 Stanislas Wawrinka and Germany’s Tommy Haas. This marks the first time in eight years that these two competitors will meet on the ATP World Tour, with Haas leading the head to head series 1-0 with a victory in Doha in 2006.
Following his shocking first round exit in Madrid last week, world No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka recovered fantastically in Rome to defeat Spanish qualifier Pere Riba 6-0, 6-3 to reach the third round of the tournament. Wawrinka hit 83 percent of his first service points, hit 30 winners and just 12 unforced errors to earn the victory in 50 minutes.
“I am happy playing on every surface and I think I can play my best game on every surface, but I am always happy to come back on the clay,” said Wawrinka. “I only need two days of practice, like in Monte-carlo, and I can play my best game. That’s the difference. On clay I know that there are less players I am scared to play.”
Tommy Haas had had a slow start to his season, as the German No. 1 was forced on the sidelines to recover from a shoulder injury early on. He reached the semi-finals in Munich but ultimately failed to retain his title. He would go on to lose in the opening round in Madrid but has since picked up the pace in Rome. Haas began his week with a victory over Italy’s Andreas Seppi before easing past Igor Sijsling 7-6(6), 6-1.
This is just the second time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour and the first time in eight years. Since that time, Wawrinka has evolved into an entirely different player, which will be evident on Thursday when they take to court.
Prediction: Stanislas Wawrinka in Straight Sets