Stan Wawrinka’s Chances at Roland Garros After Round Two

We’re well into the 2019 Roland Garros tournament. Despite a few road bumps, this year’s tournament has largely resembled French Opens of years past. The tops seeds have rolled through the early rounds and Rafael Nadal appears to be the strong favorite once again. Rinse, repeat. However, there is one player who is flying under the radar but should have everyone’s attention: Stan Wawrinka.

Since his leg injury (and subsequent surgery) in 2017, Wawrinka has had a long road back to prominence in the men’s game. Despite this, the former champion’s early-round play suggests that he’s a potential threat at this year’s tournament.

First Two Rounds of Roland Garros

Despite needing four sets to overcome Jozef Kovalík of Slovakia in Round 1, Stan Wawrinka came out strong in Round 2. The Swiss defeated Cristian Garín of Chile in dominating fashion, winning 6-1 6-4 6-0.

Garín has had a great season so far, winning his first two ATP titles in Houston and Bavaria. He is quickly rising in the men’s game and was a dark horse pick to go far at this year’s Roland Garros.

To lose only five games to a rising young player is no small feat for Stan Wawrinka. He has shown flashes of his strong brand of tennis which helped him win the 2015 Roland Garros title.

Road Back From Injury

Before discussing Stan Wawrinka’s chances at Roland Garros, it’s best to understand what he’s had to overcome. Wawrinka reached new career heights in 2016. He achieved a career high ranking of No. 3 and won his third Grand Slam title at the US Open. Wawrinka was a staple at the top of the men’s game.

Then, during a Round 1 loss at Wimbledon in 2017, Wawrinka suffered a knee injury which would require surgery. He missed the rest of the 2017 season and had an up-and-down 2018 season.

Stan Wawrinka’s Chances in Rounds 3 and 4

Stan Wawrinka has undeniably produced his best tennis at Grand Slams. His three Major titles have come over all-time greats Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Ultimately, Wawrinka has been a threat at almost every Grand Slam over the past five years.

To get to the Final 16 at this year’s Roland Garros, Wawrinka may have to overcome two talented players who share his one-handed backhand. He is set to square off against Grigor Dimitrov in Round 3. Dimitrov is coming off of two dramatic five-set victories over Janko Tipsarević and Marin Čilić. I believe Wawrinka has a good chance of coming out on top in this contest.

After that, Wawrinka’s chances at Roland Garros get trickier to predict, as Stefanos Tsitsipas may be waiting in Round 4. The young Greek has had a spectacular 2019 season and leads the ATP in match wins. He presents a tremendous challenge on any surface. Wawrinka may have the edge in experience, but Tsitsipas is riding a tidal wave of momentum. I predict a close four or five-set match.

Stan Wawrinka has a unique brand of powerful tennis which has led him to the top of the men’s game. While injury has hindered him the past few seasons, his early-round play at Roland Garros has raised a few eyebrows. It will be interesting to see how he capitalizes on this momentum in Round 3 and beyond.

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