Wawrinka: ‘I know exactly what I have to do to win a Grand Slam’

At ROLAND GARROS, DAY 5 – In 2015, Stan Wawrinka won Roland Garros, stunning the world. He knocked out Roger Federer, Jo Tsonga and Novak Djokovic to snare the title.

This year, he has been A-OK. Not great, but so-so. However, last week, he finally felt much better, winning Geneva in his home country.

Now the three-time Grand Slam champion is ready to rock ’n’ roll. Today, he beat Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4 7-6 7-5. On Saturday, he will have to go up against Fabio Fognini, who has played fantastic ball recently.

But it doesn’t really matter because once Wawrinka gets hot, he locks in and he will go for it right on the lines. His deep forehand, heavy one-handed backhand, his tricky first serve is way up there.

Can he win Roland Garros one more time? He has a chance this week, but now, he will face some very difficult opponents: Fognini in the third round, maybe Gael Monfils in the fourth round, maybe Marin Cilic in the quarters, maybe Andy Murray in the semis, and then in the final, perhaps Rafa Nadal or Djokovic.

That is very rough, but doable.

“I don’t want people to talk about me. What matters to
me is to make a deep run in this tournament,” Wawrinka said. “If I can reach the final, people will talk about me. So, I just
want to move forward to notch up victories. Whether I’m part of the favorites it doesn’t matter at all.

“I know exactly what I have to do in order to win a Grand Slam. I have already won three Grand Slam titles, so I just want to remain focused on what I do.”

Good wins (sort-of)
Kevin Anderson took down Nick Kyrgios 5-7 6-4 6-1 6-2. That’s fine stuff by the veteran Anderson, but how in creation is Kyrgios’ so flat?

Guess who Anderson will play on Saturday? The Brit Kyle Edmund, who out-hit Renzo Olivo 7-5 6-3 6-1. Who expected that in the third round? Their first serves are gigantic, both of them.

Feliciano Lopez out-lasted David Ferrer 7-5 3-6 7-5 4-6 6-4. The tall Spaniard is getting older, but wiser. Now he has to play against Cilic. It’s all about rushing to the the net. That’s what Lopez does, he comes at the net all the time.

Juan Martin del Potro beat Nicolas Almagro, who retired after reinjuring his knee. He was seriously hurt, he laid on the ground and wept. Too bad. A sad day.
Delpo will have to go up against Andy Murray. The Scot is favored, but the Argentine has won a major before so it should be very close.

The American John Isner beat Paolo Lorenzi and he seems to be enthusiastic, playing mmuch better recently as compared to a disappointing first four months.

The Women: more good wins (sort of)
Aga Radwanska took a long time to beat Alison Van Uytvanck 6-7(3) 6-2 6-3. The Pole has never won a major, but she came close at Wimbledon, and she went deep at the Aussie Open and the US Open. But at Roland Garros, she has given up, because she cannot seem to overpower the other good players. Her backhand is wonderful, and she has so much variety, but she can get down on herself. Radwanska has been ranked in the top 5 forever, but she has yet to climb up the mountain and raise the trophy.

It’s hard to see Radwanska winning RG, but if she manages to reach the second week, then maybe. Here’s what Aga says:

“To be honest, if you’re talking about the Grand Slam, if I make thatkind of decision, it would have to be so bad and Iwouldn’t even walk normally. Of course clay, it’s never been my favorite surface. I’m not expecting, miracles here, but I will try my best. I’m playing really what I can do this yearon the clay, this is also Grand Slam. So it’s asimportant as Wimbledon or Australian Open. That’swhy I really want to play here, and do my best.”

Radwanska has to play against the Frenchwomen Alize Cornet, who beat Barbora Strycova. I expect the match will be on the main court on Saturday. Once again, it should be super close.

A fine win by Elena Vesnina, who beat Varvara Lepchenko in three sets. She will play against Carla Suarez Navarro, another close match.

We haven’t seen the No.17 Anastasija Sevastova much, but apparently she is rising. She crushed Genie Bouchard 6-3 6-0.

Two top competitors won, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep. If they stay healthy in the next week, they could face each other in the semis. Or they can lose on Saturday. Unpredictable.

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