Wawrinka Into Roland Garros Semi-Finals
Defending champ sees off Ramos-Vinolas
Stan Wawrinka, the defending Roland Garros champion, powered to a 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(7) over unseeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas in quarter-final action on Wednesday. The 2015 champion is on track to defend his Roland Garros crown and will face Andy Murray in his next match.
“I didn't want to give [Ramos-Vinolas] anything to use against me, so I hit the ball heavy. Then I was able to get into the court and vary the pace,” Wawrinka said. “In general, I quite like the conditions here in Paris. I am still able to hit through the ball and make some winners.”
Murray leads 8-7 in the FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Wawrinka and is into his fourth semi-final at Roland Garros. The 31-year-old Wawrinka has reached the semi-finals in four of his past six Grand Slams. Both players are seeking to capture their third Grand Slam title.
“Well, we haven’t played that much in the past few years,” Wawrinka noted. “[Murray]’s improved a lot on clay. He's playing so well, especially if you look at this year. He won Rome, made the final in Madrid and made the semi-finals in Monaco.
“So it's going to be an interesting match. We’ve had good battles in the past, so I'm quite happy to play him. I think it's going to be a great challenge.”
Wawrinka started the match in imperious form. He saved two break points in the opening game of the match and raced to a 3-0 lead, before he secured another service break to end the set. The Swiss struck three aces and won six of seven points when approaching the net and overwhelmed Ramos-Vinolas with power, hitting 17 winners in the opener. He would finish the match with 49 winners to Ramos-Vinolas’ 10.
Ramos-Vinolas was coming off an upset win over No. 8 seed Milos Raonic in his previous match, but was unable to find solutions against Wawrinka in the first 90 minutes of play. The Spanish left-hander, who was contesting his first Grand Slam quarter-final, fell behind by two sets and a break before making a late charge and forcing a third-set tie-break.
The Spaniard’s bid to extend the encounter was helped by a flurry of uncharacteristic misfires from his opponent. Wawrinka made 43 unforced errors during the match, with more than half (24) coming in the third set.
Faced with the unattractive prospect of a fourth set, Wawrinka dug himself out of trouble with well-placed first serves and sensible shot selection. He saved a set point at 7/6 in the third-set tie-break by winning a long rally, then swept the next two points to advance.
“Frankly, I'm not very happy. I could have done better during the first two sets. It took me time to react [to Wawrinka’s level],” Ramos-Vinolas said. “I hope that later on I'll be quite satisfied with what I've done during this tournament, and that I'll play even better in the future. [This run] gives me reasons to work, to move forward, and to improve my game.”