The Vaudois saved three match points against Dan Evans to emerge victorious from a high quality first round in the city of the tsars.
Dan Evans will end up seeing Stan Wawrinka appear in the middle of his worst nightmares. Four years after this match point saved in the third round of a US Open that he was going to win, “Stanimal” repeated the miracle shot on Monday night against the Birmingham elf. But this time, the Vaudois saved three match points, in a row, to win in three sets and continue his journey in the ATP 500 in Saint Petersburg, the first stage of the indoor season (3-6, 7 -6 (3), 7-5).
To afford this little miracle, Stan Wawrinka went to draw deep into his resources throughout a very high level first round. He hung on for a long time, struggling with his frustration and a particularly leggy Dan Evans. The Englishman has indeed no equal when it comes to neutralizing the opposing power with his backhand slice. He gallops, breaks the rhythm then jumps on the slightest short ball to move forward and create play. A tactic which initially disturbed the Vaudois, much too impatient on his backhand side (9 unforced errors in the first round).
In the second set, “Stanimal” was first able to count on the quality of his first ball to keep his nerves and contact. But after an unconverted break point at 4-4, a terrible start to the twelfth game gave Dan Evans three match points. A showdown in the exchange, an ace and a winning smash later, the Vaudois had averted the danger. He even chained nine points in a row to break away in the tie-break and then equalize with one set everywhere.
The sequel was first a pretty dazzling reminder of the level of play Stan Wawrinka can reach when he relaxes and finds the right adjustments. Suddenly very clear in his choices, the triple winner in Grand Slam resisted a break conceded from the start in the decisive round to martyr the Englishman by opening the court with his backhand (5-3). But since the Vaudois now too often struggles to stretch his best level over the long term, Dan Evans broke to return to 5-5 and restart this somewhat crazy first round. A tie-break seemed inevitable. “Stan the Man” saved himself by tearing off one last time to win 7-5 on a final forehand long line winner.
“It was hard, it’s hard against Dan all the time. Each time we engage in tough battles, reacted the Vaudois just after his victory. But I hung on, I was able to rely on my serve to get through the second set. It’s good to win a match like this. ” In the second round, Stan Wawrinka will be opposed to Evgeny Donskoy (ATP 121) against whom he will logically start as favorite. Provided you succeed in installing your best level of play over time.