Paul Downs Wawrinka In London But Apologises To Henman
Tommy Paul advanced to his first tour-level quarter-final on grass on Thursday when he dispatched former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-4 in a dominant performance at the Cinch Championships.
The American backed up his first-round win over sixth seed Denis Shapovalov with another strong display on the lawns in London on debut at the ATP 500 event. The World No. 35 took time away from Wawrinka by taking the ball early on return, while he saved all five break points he faced to advance after 65 minutes.
“This week is my first couple of main draw wins on grass. If you had asked me two years ago, I would have said grass was my worst surface. But when I started working with my coach Brad [Stine], he said grass will end up being my best surface and I have tried to mould my game on that,” Paul said. “I feel very comfortable out there, hopefully if not this year but next it will be my best surface.
“I feel I serve and volley well but every time I went to do so today, I missed my first serve, so I didn’t get many chances. I saw Tim Henman just now and he is one of my favourites because of the style of tennis he played and I told him, ‘Sorry for all those volleys I missed’. I like coming to the net and rushing people on the grass.”
Paul, who had never won a tour-level match on grass before this week, has now levelled his ATP Head2Head series against Wawrinka at 1-1 and will next play reigning champion Matteo Berrettini or American Denis Kudla.
“Getting that win Wednesday [against Shapovalov] was a big confidence booster. I came out here today [and] played really well from the start and I relaxed a little bit and everything came a little bit easier,” Paul added.
Earlier this season, the 25-year-old reached the semi-finals on hard courts in Delray Beach in February, while he advanced to the last eight at two tournaments in Adelaide and one in Acapulco.
Wawrinka was making his eighth appearance at The Queen’s Club, with his best result a run to the semi-finals in 2014. The 37-year-old will compete at Wimbledon later this month after receiving a wild card.