METZ/STARNBERG, September 21, 2022
Stan Wawrinka has backed up his two qualifying wins at the Moselle Open in Metz by reaching the second round of the main draw at the ATP 250 indoor hard-court tournament in north-eastern France.
The former World No. 3 defeated Joao Sousa from Portugal 7-6(1), 6-2 on Wednesday. Wawrinka, who has struggled to find his best level since returning to Tour in April after he had been sidelined from the courts for 13 months with a foot injury, saved all three break points he faced and capitalized on two of his own three break-point chances to succeed in one hour and 34 minutes.
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“It’s always difficult to play against him. We played a few times in the past, always a tough match, but I’m really, really happy,” said Wawrinka. “It’s the first time I won three matches in the same tournament for more than two years, so it’s great.
“I’m getting confidence from winning a few matches, so I’m feeling a bit more relaxed, the way I’m moving. I think the level was good from me and I’m happy with the win.”
The 37-year-old Swiss will next take the tournament’s top seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia. “It’s the biggest test,” said Wawrinka of his upcoming match. “He’s [near] the top of the rankings, always a tough opponent to play… It’s going to be really difficult, but I’m happy to test myself against him tomorrow.”
Wawrinka has won only one of the pair’s previous encounters but it was the most recent, at the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne.
Later in the evening, Dominic Thiem advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 7-6(3) victory over French veteran Richard Gasquet. The World No. 182 from Austria struck six aces and won 58 per cent of his first-service points to prevail in one hour and 47 minutes.
Thiem will next play second-seeded Pole Hubert Hurkacz.