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Wawrinka vs Cecchinato tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Former finalist Verdasco to maintain perfect record vs Herbert in Monte Carlo

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 15 Apr 2019
  • Stan Wawrinka faces Marco Cecchinato in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters
  • Wawrinka vs Cecchinato is live from the Monte-Carlo Masters on Tuesday at 5pm local/4pm BST
Stan Wawrinka (PA Sport)

Former Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters champion Stan Wawrinka faces French Open semifinalist Marco Cecchinato for a place in the third round. 

An intriguing second-round clash awaits between two men who play some of their best tennis on clay – can Stan Wawrinka come through to the third round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters as he faces 2018’s surprise French Open semifinalist Marco Cecchinato?

Stan Wawrinka (PA Sport)
The only man other than Novak Djokovic to have claimed the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title since 11-time champion Rafael Nadal won the title for the first time in 2005, Wawrinka won his first and so far only Masters 1000 Series title at this event in 2014 when he beat David Ferrer and Roger Federer in the semifinals and final, going on to claim the French Open title in 2015. 

Wawrinka has only made it back to the quarterfinals at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters once since winning the title and missed the event entirely in 2018 as he struggled to manage his comeback from multiple knee surgeries in 2017, so he has a significant opportunity to get his ranking moving in the right direction and back towards the top 30 after plummeting as low as world no. 261 last year.

Runner-up in Rotterdam in February to Gael Monfils, Wawrinka made a good start to his European clay-court 2019 season with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Australian Open semifinalist Lucas Pouille. It was a tricky first round for the unseeded Wawrinka but he played well, reeling off seven straight games from 3-5 down in the first set to take a lead which would prove to be unassailable for the French player and booking his place in the second round.

‘The beginning was a bit tough, I was hesitating, I was a bit slow, I was nervous and I was looking a little bit for the conditions,’ Wawrinka said on Sunday. 

‘He took advantage, he broke me directly and then I started to play a little bit better. I started to know a bit more what I had to do. I broke back, he did one mistake and I did one good point and then suddenly the match turned. He felt under pressure, I started to play a bit better, more aggressive and I am happy with the win.’

As Wawrinka suggests above, it wasn’t his most convincing tennis and it’s plain to see that despite flashes of his old brilliance, the Swiss star is a long way from being able to consistently produce the kind of form that saw him win three Grand Slam titles.

There’s no better part of the season for Wawrinka to find that form, however, and he has another opportunity to get a confidence-boosting win under his belt as he faces Marco Cecchinato.

Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters 2019: Tournament information, schedules, latest news and live streams

Marco Cecchinato (PA Sport)
This time last year, Cecchinato was almost unknown except to those familiar with the circumstances surrounding a match-fixing scandal earlier in his career. He had been largely plying his trade on the Challenger Tour, and lost in the second round of the 2018 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters to Milos Raonic, but followed that up by winning his first ATP Tour title as a lucky loser in Budapest, beating John Millman in the final. 

Cecchinato only won two matches at his next three events – but then came the French Open. Unseeded and ranked world no. 72, Cecchinato beat tenth seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round, then went on to defeat David Goffin in four sets and, stunningly, Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals, shocking the Serb with his swashbuckling style to make a very surprising semifinal. Defeated by Dominic Thiem in straight sets, Cecchinato went on to capture another ATP Tour title in Umag, although he went 4-10 on hard courts for the remainder of the year.

Cecchinato started 2019 in style with a semifinal run at the Qatar Total Open in Doha, although he lost to Filip Krajinovc in the first round of the Australian Open, and he won his third ATP Tour title in Buenos Aires in February, beating Diego Schwartzman in the final. Hitting a career-high ranking of world no. 16 as a result, Cecchinato then won one of his next four matches – via walkover, too – but is still at world no. 16 coming into the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, where he is seeded eleventh.

It’s getting on to the time where Cecchinato has to start defending those points, though, which adds a new level of pressure for the Italian. He progressed to the second round at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters when Damir Dzumhur retired after four games, which means that his form is still very much an unknown as he prepares to face Wawrinka for the first time.

‘I have never played or practised with Cecchinato,’ Wawrinka said on Sunday when considering his possible second-round opponents. 

‘I saw him play many times, [he is a] great player, especially on clay courts. He loves the clay courts and he is a really good player, so it is going to be an interesting match.’

It should be an extremely watchable match, between the bruisingly powerful Wawrinka and Cecchinato’s varied style, all slice and drop shots and point construction. The opportunity is there for Wawrinka to dominate, though, and I look for him to do just that at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Tuesday.

Wawrinka vs Cecchinato Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters tennis is live on Tuesday at 5pm local/4pm BST

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Wawrinka vs Cecchinato tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Former finalist Verdasco to maintain perfect record vs Herbert in Monte Carlo

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