Wawrinka Back From The Brink
Swiss saves match point to move into second week
Stan Wawrinka was a point away from crashing out of the US Open, but came back to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-6(8), 6-2 against Daniel Evans in the third round on Saturday. Evans held match point at 6/5 in the fourth-set tie-break, but the Swiss hung on and completed the comeback in just over four hours.
"I was frustrated, for sure, to be down two sets to one because I wasn't playing my best tennis. But I still had a chance. So I was trying to find the right way, how to keep fighting; how to stay in the match," Wawrinka said. "He was often coming to the net to try to finish the point. I had to play better, to be a little bit more aggressive."
Wawrinka looked out of sorts after rolling an ankle early in the match. Intervention from the tournament physio allowed the No. 3 seed to continue, but it was the more aggressive Evans who controlled the run of play, approaching the net 63 times in total (41/63) to keep Wawrinka off-balance until the momentum shifted late in the match.
"I had the feeling in the fourth set that I was starting to play a little bit better. He was starting to be down a little bit, but still playing really well on those important points, still being there, still being tough. It wasn't easy to stay calm with myself. But in general, I think that was the key to the match," Wawrinka said.
The two-time Grand Slam champion’s experience and superior conditioning helped him win the day. Wawrinka gutted out the fourth-set tie-break, then broke his opponent three times in the deciding set to move into the second week in Flushing Meadows for the fifth consecutive year.
Next up for the 2015 semi-finalist will be Illya Marchenko, who won when No. 14 Nick Kyrgios retired down 4-6, 6-4 ,6-1. He becomes only the third Ukrainian, after Andrei Medvedev and Alexandr Dolgopolov, to reach the second week at a Grand Slam event. Kyrgios injured his hip in the second set and was limping noticeably before conceding the match after the third set. Wawrinka beat Marchenko 6-3, 6-2 at Indian Wells earlier this year in their lone previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.