Wawrinka Survives Three Tie-breaks To Edge Tiafoe At Queen’s Club
Stan Wawrinka and Frances Tiafoe played the match of the day Tuesday at the Cinch Championships, with the Swiss advancing at The Queen’s Club after three tie-break sets.
Wawrinka’s 7-6(2), 6-7(6), 7-6(5) victory against his London doubles partner marked a winning return to the grass in his first match on the surface since Wimbledon 2019.
“That was a long time ago,” he said with a laugh. “It’s never been my best surface but today was great. Great match. [Tiafoe] is a great friend, we played doubles yesterday. We always play some big battles, so I’m really happy to get through that one.”
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Wawrinka had a match point at 6/5 in the second-set tie-break, but the American erased it with an ace before sending the contest to a decider. Both men displayed brilliant shotmaking at key moments in the match, with Wawrinka playing some of his best tennis to stop Tiafoe from serving out the match at 5-4 in the third.
The American rode the momentum from the second-set tie-break to an instant break in the decider, but could not close out the match as Wawrinka raised his level late. After getting back on serve at 5-5 with his first break of the match, Wawrinka saved three break points in a five-deuce game to edge in front 6-5.
After jumping out to a 6/3 lead in the tie-break, he closed out the match on serve on his third chance of the tie-break — his fourth match point overall.
“I was fighting well. I think the level was not bad and I’m happy with the win,” Wawrinka said post-match. He improves his tour-level record this season to 3-3, playing in his fourth event after returning from a foot injury.
“It’s part of the process,” he said of his progress so far. “It takes time to be back at my age after more than a year off of the Tour. I’m enjoying the atmosphere. I’m enjoying playing in front of fans like today.”
Wawrinka will next face sixth seed Denis Shapovalov or Tommy Paul, who were knotted at one-set all when play was suspended due to darkness. Paul took the opener, 6-4, before the Canadian claimed the second, 6-2.