Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray have combined for six Grand Slam titles and have met 22 times in their ATP Head2Head series. But on Wednesday, they battled on the intimate clay courts of the ATP Challenger Tour 175 event in Bordeaux, France.
The 38-year-old Wawrinka displayed vintage play from the baseline, firing hefty forehands to earn a commanding 6-3, 6-0 second-round victory against the Scot at the BNP Paribas Primrose.
In the opening set, Wawrinka earned an early break and had five set points at 5-2 in a marathon return game that featured seven deuce points. The Swiss then held his nerve to close the set on his own serve.
A @stanwawrinka special 😮#ATPChallenger | @BNPPprimrose pic.twitter.com/AAZ4WnqOPT
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) May 17, 2023
The World No. 84 Wawrinka, who has been as high as No. 3, won 22 of 27 first-serve points and forced second-seeded Murray to cover all corners of the court as the Swiss stayed aggressive, often working his way forward to win the one-hour, 15-minute contest. It was a frustrating day for Murray, who was aiming to follow his title run at the Aix-en-Provence Challenger, where he defeated World No. 17 Tommy Paul in the final to claim his first title at any level since 2019.
Wawrinka will next meet Ugo Humbert in the quarter-finals. The 24-year-old Humbert defeated qualifier Gauthier Onclin 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-5. Despite having a match point in the second-set tie-break, Humbert was forced to a decider to close Tuesday’s order of play.
In other Bordeaux action, home favourite Richard Gasquet rallied past Thanasi Kokkinakis 1-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 in a three-hour, four-minute thriller.
In the final set, Gasquet earned a decisive break in dramatic fashion. After Kokkinakis lobbed Gasquet, who was at the net, the Frenchman brought the crowd to its feet by hitting a backhand skyhook winner to seal a break at 5-5, 30/40. The 36-year-old proceeded to close the marathon match and book his ticket to the last eight.
Corentin Moutet’s variety helped lift him past Dominic Thiem 7-6(5), 6-1. The Austrian served for the opening set at 5-4 before Moutet fought back and gave up just two games the remainder of the match. The Frenchman Moutet incorporated underarm serves and troubled Thiem from the baseline by using hefty slice forehands.
Moutet will next face top seed Jan-Lennard Struff, who cruised past qualifier Kyrian Jacquet 6-3, 6-3. Seventh seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry survived wild card Arthur Cazaux 7-6(0), 7-5 and Albert Ramos-Vinolas escaped Adrian Mannarino 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 after three hours, 30 minutes. World No. 52 Mikael Ymer also advanced after defeating #NextGenATP star Luca Van Assche 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
The top two seeds, Sebastian Baez and Daniel Elahi Galan, cruised to victories in the second round of the Piemonte Open Intesa Sanpaolo.
Baez downed Italian Riccardo Bonadio 6-4, 6-2 after fending off nine of 10 break points faced and winning 74 per cent of first-serve points. The Argentine, who is World No. 40 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, awaits the winner of Thiago Seyboth Wild and fifth seed Taro Daniel.
Sebastian Baez in action at the Challenger 175 event in Turin, Italy. Credit: Francesco Panunzio
World No. 94 Galan also secured a commanding victory Wednesday at the Challenger 175 event, where the Colombian cruised past qualifier Stefano Napolitano 6-2, 6-1 in just 63 minutes.
German Dominik Koepfer upset third seed Juan Pablo Varillas 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 to maintain his strong form at the Challenger level. The 29-year-old has competed in three Challenger finals this year, including his triumph at the Mexico City Challenger in April.
Koepfer will clash against wild card Edoardo Lavagno in the quarter-finals after the Italian moved past countryman and qualifier Salvatore Caruso 6-4, 6-1.