Logic prevailed in Rome for Novak Djokovic to beat Stan Wawrinka this Thursday without excessive difficultiesin a duel more typical of the time in which the Swiss was able to disturb the Big Four and win three Grand Slams. He did it in the most difficult years of the circuit. For example, when he beat the Serbian in the 2016 US Open final. That was their penultimate confrontation. Wawrinka also won the latter, but due to Djokovic’s withdrawal from the 2019 American major. This time, the number one in the world gave no option and won by a double 6-2 in 75 minutes, and dominates 20-6 in an extensive face to face. He will face Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarterfinals, a round that he reaches for the 16th time in as many participations, who was able to beat the North American Marcos Giron (6-3 and 6-2). “It’s great to see Stan play and win again, but physically it’s obvious that he’s still not the way he wants.but it’s Wawrinka and he can hurt you if you give him time,” Novak said.
The Balkan, who is one win away from retaining the world throne (if he does not reach the semifinals, he will recover it without playing Daniil Medvedev)showed the lack of form and games of a very enthusiastic Wawrinka, who had not played since March 2021, in Doha, until he reappeared this year in the Marbella Challenger with a defeat against the Swedish Elias Ymer. Later he competed without luck in Monte Carlo, where he lost to the Kazakh Alexander Bublik, and in Rome he was reunited with the victory twice, against Reilly Opelka and Laslo Djere., complicated rivals whom he beat in three sets with a lot of wear and tear. It’s nice to see his one-handed backhand back on track, but he lacks some mobility, especially when dealing with an opponent like Djokovic, who is adept at directing the pace of matches.
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Hence, in the face of the first difficulties, Stan the ManAs he puts on his slippers, he couldn’t answer. In the first set he lost his serve twice and didn’t even have a chance to break. He did find it at the start of the second, just after giving up his serve again. She had a 30-40 that got away. She then enjoyed a 15-40 to equal two, and she didn’t take advantage of that either. And she ran into another 30-40 for 4-2 and converted it. A small gift for her confidence. But she did not consolidate the break and that’s where his resistance ended. He is now number 361 in the world when he was number three in 2014. Injuries have weighed him down and he remains somewhat overweight, less and less. He has a marked left knee and two operations on his left foot. Much credit to him, but it is not easy to approach his best version.
on the right track
Djokovic is two wins away from 1,000 in his career and he does seem to be on the ascending line ahead of Roland Garros, where he will defend the title won last year. He is seen focused and with an increasingly lethal tennis, adapted to clay, from the serve to the backhand, although there is still room for improvement and that scares.
Results of the Masters 1,000 in Rome