Wawrinka Saves 3 M.P. To Overcome Evans In St. Petersburg

Norrie downs Fritz in three sets

Stan Wawrinka was forced to save three consecutive match points in his first-round contest at the St. Petersburg Open on Monday.

The Swiss held his nerve down 3-6, 5-6, 0/40 against Daniel Evans, serving with pace and precision to escape danger before claiming a 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-5 victory after two hours and 31 minutes. Wawrinka extends his unbeaten ATP Head2Head record against Evans to four matches, but this isn’t the first time he has had to save match point against the Brit.

En route to his third Grand Slam crown at the 2016 US Open, Wawrinka saved a match point against Evans in the third round to record a 4-6 6-3 6-7(6) 7-6(8) 6-2 victory. The former World No. 3 also came from a set down to beat Evans at last year’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

“It’s always difficult when I play Dan. He’s a great player. Always a tough battle against him,” Wawrinka said on court after his win. “Today I saved some important points in the second [set], I stayed focussed on my game. I started to serve better and be a bit more aggressive, so really happy to be back here in St. Petersburg and to have won that match.”

Wawrinka improves to 7-2 at the ATP 500 event. On his tournament debut in 2016, the Swiss advanced to the championship match (l. to A. Zverev). Wawrinka also reached the semi-finals in 2018.

“[The crowd support] is great. Thank you for being here. Always a pleasure to come back,” Wawrinka said. “[I have] amazing support every time I come back here, even if it’s a tough moment in the world not to get full people in here, it’s always great to have you guys here, so thank you so much.”

Wawrinka will meet Evgeny Donskoy for a spot in the quarter-finals. The Russian booked his place in the second round with a 6-4, 7-6(4) win against Egor Gerasimov of Belarus.

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Cameron Norrie claimed his third win from five ATP Head2Head clashes against Taylor Fritz. The 25-year-old served 16 aces and converted both break points he created to claim a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory in just under two hours.

Alexander Bublik came from a set down to overcome Mackenzie McDonald 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-4. The Kazakhstani landed 25 aces en route to victory. Bublik will meet sixth seed Milos Raonic or J.J. Wolf in the second round.

Russian wild card Aslan Karatsev also advanced on Monday, beating two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren 7-5, 3-6, 7-5. Karatsev will next meet countryman Karen Khachanov or James Duckworth.

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