June 1, 2019
Stan Wawrinka will play Stefanos Tsitsipas after closing out his 500th tour win against Grigor Dimitrov.
No one can wait. Stan the Man v Super Stef should prove to be an absolute cracker, with the former Roland Garros champion back in such scintillating form.
‘You suffer a lot to reach 500,’ said Wawrinka.
But only his friend Dimitrov was suffering as that beaufiful single-handed backhand reached full flow once more.
Tsitsipas created a record of his own to set up this mouthwatering clash. He became the first Greek since 1936 to win through to the last 16 at Roland Garros.
He had to finish off his Serbian opponent, Filip Krajinovic, by coming out after the overnight break, a process he described as ‘very psychological.’
Although Tsitsipas lost the first tie-break, he won the second 8-6 to progress in four sets.
The knife-edge finale offered yet more big-time experience for the fast-improving youngster. And the reward is new territory for his country.
‘I’m happy to be the first (Greek) in the open era and hope there are more records to come,’ said Tsitsipas. ‘Wawrinka has a big game and he has found his form.’
Two of the world’s most entertaining players coming up against each other at this relatively early stage of the tournament.
It is great for tennis fans because this match-up could even have graced the final.
But there will be no third successive Grand Slam final for Naomi Osaka.
Just when she looked to have mastered the clay and should have come out with all guns blazing, she was blitzed by Katerina Siniakova.
‘I think losing is probably the best thing that could have happened to me,’ said Osaka somewhat surprisingly. ‘I was overthinking the Calendar Slam and if it was that easy to do then everyone would have done it.’
Pressure off, Naomi can turn her thoughts to the grass of Wimbledon.
The challenge is to conquer her fear of that surface now too.
An early exit from Roland Garros might just mean we will see the best of Osaka at Wimbledon.