Stan Wawrinka came back to play in an ATP final for the first time since 2019, when in the Antwerp tournament he was defeated after a great match by the Briton Andy Murray. The 3-time Swiss Slam champion finally succeeded this season, at the ATP 250 in Umag, a tournament in which with a bit of luck he could also win the title.
However, this is a result that confirms that Wawrinka is still capable of playing tennis at a high level on the ATP Tour, a tennis that can still lead him to play in the finals. At the end of the match, during the awards ceremony, the former top 3 of the ATP ranking didn't hold back tears and emotion.
He told: "Guys, thank you all. I know it's stupid to cry, but I love this game and you guys make it special. I hope I can be here next year." The crowd, at these words, inevitably gave the Swiss champion lots of applause.
The match against Alexei Popyrin
Despite the first set won, Stan suffered a comeback from Australian Alexei Popyrin, who established himself as the new champion of the tournament, after Jannik Sinner.
The words of the new winner at the end of the race impressed the enthusiasts and Wawrinka himself. Indeed, he praised the Swiss with touching words: "You are a legend of the sport. For me to play a final against you is an honor.
I grew up supporting you and have supported you in every Grand Slam final you have played. Honestly Stan, I love you, and I love your love of sports." The new champion of the ATP 250 tournament played an excellent match overall, right from the start.
In the third game of the first set, he manages to break his opponent's serve at the first break point allowed. Having defended that advantage, the number 90 in the world crumbles in the key moment of the set: called to serve for the last game, he is counter-broken by the three-time Grand Slam winner, who regains his tie as a champion, and also assisted by the luck of a detached return.
Wawrinka takes the set to the tie-break, where he also takes over the mini break and closes the first set on his serve. Popyrin, however, who still plays excellent tennis, recovers. He doesn't let go and in the second set he learns from his own mistakes.
Breaking the serve again in the second game, this time he doesn't miss the opportunity to close the partial by exploiting that only break. In the third set, however, the match seems to take an unexpected turn: physical problems appear for the Australian tennis player.
Despite this, the Sydney player doesn't get lost and hangs on to the match. Until, in the ninth game, he takes another unexpected turn: Wawrinka makes a lot of mistakes, more than in the previous games, and concedes two break points.
He cancels only one, but the other is a sentence: Popyrin will serve for the match. The Australian does not fail and thus wins the second title of his career, after the Singapore ATP in 2021. A missed opportunity for the Swiss, who hasn't obtained a trophy on the major circuit since 2017 in Geneva, a last success on the clay-courts against the German Misha Zverev.
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