Mahut Beats Wawrinka To Continue Day Of Upsets At Queen's Club
Frenchman records 20th match win at historic tournament
Nicolas Mahut continued a day of upsets at the Fever-Tree Championships on Thursday when the 2007 finalist knocked out seventh-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(2) in two hours and 10 minutes for a place in the quarter-finals.
Mahut, who battled back from a one-sided opening for Wawrinka and from 3-5 down in the decider, hit 19 of his 31 winners off his forehand and won 33 of 44 points at the net. The 37-year-old French qualifier will next play his compatriot Gilles Simon, who got the better of second-seeded South African and 2015 runner-up Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day at The Queen’s Club.
Wawrinka lost just four points in his first seven service games, clearly reaping dividends from the advice of Daniel Vallverdu, who has joined regular coach Magnus Norman in support of the Swiss star for the grass-court swing.
World No. 191 Mahut got a look at a few second serves in the sixth game of the second set, when he hit a backhand into the net on his first break point, but finally broke through at 6-5, when he struck a forehand winner on his third set point opportunity with Wawrinka serving at 30/40.
Wawrinka recovered from 15/40 in the second game of the decider, and held his nerve to rip a backhand winner on break point with Mahut approaching the net at 3-3. But the Frenchman was not ready to roll over, even when Wawrinka came within two points of victory on serve at 5-4, 30/30.
Mahut punched away consecutive forehand volley winners to break and then held serve to 30 for a 6-5 advantage, with Wawrinka now needing to regroup. Mahut continued to serve and volley in the tie-break, winning four of the first five points en route to his fourth match win in 2019. He also beat Wawrinka in the 2013 Libema Open final, an ATP 250 tournament also played on grass.
Elsewhere, sixth-seeded Canadian and 2016 finalist Milos Raonic fired 16 aces and won 31 of 38 first-service points in a 6-3, 7-6(3) victory over Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene in 86 minutes. Raonic will now prepare to challenge 2017 titlist Feliciano Lopez on Friday.
Two-time former champion and fifth seed Marin Cilic also made a second-round exit at The Queen’s Club, venue of the ATP 500 tournament, which continued to play catch up on Thursday after two days of bad weather.