Multiple Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka had to dig deep in his late-night clash against American Tommy Paul to move into the third round at the Rolex Paris Masters. The Swiss star found himself having to come back from a set down in a match that lasted almost two and a half hours and clocked in just before midnight in Paris to win 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-2.
“I think I start a little bit hesitating with my game,” said Wawrinka in his post-match press conference. “[It’s the] first time I play against Tommy. He’s a great young player, and I didn’t know exactly what to expect. We never practise together.
“I was a little bit looking too much what he was doing. I think in general my fighting spirit was good. I was trying to stay as much as possible on the match, and I’m happy with the victory.”
He added, “For me it’s that kind of match that I need right now in the last tournament of the year to build something for next year.”
Playing in the last match on Court Central after Rafael Nadal recorded a milestone 1000th career match win, Wawrinka was in trouble in the opening set as he faced Paul’s speed and athleticism for the first time. He needed an hour and 10 minutes in the second set alone as Paul chased down Wawrinka’s one-handed backhand, saving three set points to force a tie-break.
With the second set turnaround under his belt, Wawrinka carried the momentum into the third set, where he reeled off the last five games in a row to break twice and seal the victory after two hours and 22 minutes.
Stan booked himself a third-round battle against the in-form Andrey Rublev, who came into Paris on a hot streak after winning back-to-back titles at St. Petersburg Open and Erste Bank Open in Vienna.
“It’s going to be interesting match,” said Wawrinka. “Last time we play, he beat me in Cincinnati. He’s playing so well this year. He’s winning so many matches, so many tournaments. He’s full confidence. He’s one of the best players this year.
“So it’s going to be interesting to see my level against him. It’s going to be tough match, that’s for sure.”