ATP Basel: Stan Wawrinka shines in Roger Federer's absence

Tennis - Wawrinka defeated two young rivals to reach the quarter-final at home

by Jovica Ilic
ATP Basel: Stan Wawrinka shines in Roger Federer's absence

Roger Federer is not defending his Basel title, enjoying his retirement and watching the matches on TV. However, the crowd is not without their favorite players on the court, with Stan Wawrinka advancing into the quarter-final.

World no. 194 came to Basel with six ATP wins this season, eager to perform well in front of the home fans. Stan took down world no. 3 Casper Ruud in the first round and toppled another youngster Brandon Nakashima 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in the second for a place in the last eight.

The veteran prevailed after two hours and 12 minutes, playing better behind the second serve and winning eight points more than the American. Wawrinka defended four out of six break points and stole the rival's serve three times from as many chances to emerge at the top.

There was nothing to separate them in the mid-range and most extended rallies, and Stan made the difference in the shortest range up to four strokes.

Stan Wawrinka is through to the quarter-final in Basel.

Wawrinka gained a boost from that victory over Ruud, his 60th against the top-10 rivals, and he gave everything to deliver another win in front of the home crowd on Thursday.

Stan started all over in the decider, serving well and breaking Brandon in the closing stages to book a place in the quarter-final. Both players found the rhythm behind the initial shot in the opening set, producing one good hold after another and leveling the score at 4-4 in 27 minutes.

Wawrinka earned a break point in game nine and seized it after Nakashima's loose forehand for 5-4. The Swiss closed the opening set with a booming forehand down the line winner in game ten for a massive boost. Stan came from 40-0 down in the second set's sixth game and broke in the next one for a 4-3 lead.

The Swiss served for the victory at 5-4 and got broken after the American's backhand winner. Brandon raised his level in those moments and delivered another return game at 6-5 to rattle off four straight games and steal the set.

The home favorite made a fresh start in the final set, taming his strokes nicely and producing five comfortable holds. Stan cracked a backhand winner in game nine for a break chance and seized it after Brandon's loose backhand.

Wawrinka served for the victory in game ten and fired a service winner for two match points. He grabbed the first with a backhand winner that propelled him into the quarter-final, his sixth in Basel.

Atp Basel Stan Wawrinka Roger Federer