Wawrinka Battles From The Brink, Coric Out-Serves Kyrgios At Murray River Open
Stan Wawrinka rallied from the brink of defeat on Friday to reach the quarter-finals of the Murray River Open. The top seed relied on all his experience to battle past home favourite Alex Bolt 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5) after two hours and 23 minutes.
Bolt, who once quit tennis and spent time working in construction before resurrecting his career, played aggressive tennis, especially with his laser-like forehand, to take the action to one of the most powerful baseliners on the ATP Tour. But the former World No. 3 remained calm when the Aussie served for the match at 5-4 in the third set to keep his hopes alive.
Wawrinka cracked a massive forehand winner down the line to get back on serve. But Bolt never went away, battling into a tie-break. The powerful lefty, who made the third round of the Australian Open in 2019, recovered an early mini-break in the tie-break. But the World No. 174 hooked a critical crosscourt forehand wide at 5/5 to put the Swiss in a winning position. Wawrinka fired a forehand passing shot down the line on match point to seal his victory, shouting "Allez!" to celebrate.
The 16-time tour-level titlist will next play Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who defeated sixth seed Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-4 in 67 minutes. Wawrinka has won his seven previous ATP Head2Head meetings against Chardy.
Borna Coric spoiled Nick Kyrgios’ return tournament with a solid 6-3, 6-4 victory in Melbourne. Coric dominated on his own serve, winning 82 per cent of his service points to take a 3-2 lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series. The fourth seed hit more aces than one of the biggest servers on the ATP Tour by an 11-9 margin, and he did not face a break point.
"The conditions were so tough for me. I was struggling to find any rhythm. I served bad. I don't expect anything less from him," Kyrgios said of Coric. "He's a great player. That's why he's an unbelievable player, he brings that consistency every day."
All third-round winners are scheduled to play their quarter-final later in the day on Friday, but heavy rain could force a late finish to get all the matches in.