Stan Wawrinka and Gilles Simon clash for the first time since 2016 with a place in the European Open semi-finals on the line in Antwerp on Friday.
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Three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka continues his bid for a first hardcourt title since the U.S. Open three years ago when he faces fellow veteran Gilles Simon in the European Open quarter-finals in Antwerp on Friday.
Playing his first match since defeating Novak Djokovic (by retirement) en route to the U.S. Open quarter-finals, Wawrinka found himself in a huge battle with Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez in his Antwerp opener earlier this week. The Swiss dropped the first set in a tiebreak but managed to save all three break points he faced during the two hour and 19-minute encounter, edging Lopez by a 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(4) scoreline.
It’s been a slow grind back towards the top of tennis for Wawrinka since he cut his 2017 season short after Wimbledon to undergo two rounds of surgery on his knee. The Swiss returned for the start of the 2018 season, but was in and out of action as he continued to recover from the surgery, ending last year at No. 66 in the world. However, 2019 has been much more fruitful for Wawrinka, who has climbed back into the top 20 and is starting to show more glimpses of the sort of tennis that saw him win three Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and U.S. Open from 2014-16 and finish runner-up at the 2017 French Open.
Wawrinka brings a 27-17 record for the season coming into Antwerp this week, with his highlights including finishing runner-up in Rotterdam and making quarter-finals at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open, where he scored that aforementioned retirement win over Djokovic before going down in four sets to the on-fire Daniil Medvedev. Up to No. 18 in the world, Wawrinka is setting himself up nicely for a return to the top 10 in 2020, but he’s far from done for this season and will be determined to pick up a first hardcourt title in three years this week in Antwerp.
Gilles Simon (PA Images)
Gilles Simon stands in his way in the quarter-finals. Always dangerous in these indoor 250 tournaments, Simon hasn’t dropped a set in reaching the last eight, crushing Steve Darcis 6-1 6-2 in the opening round before snapping a four-match losing streak against compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, conquering the former top 10 star 6-4 7-5 to set up Friday’s quarter-final showdown with Wawrinka.
A former World No. 6, two-time ATP Masters 1000 runner-up and two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist with 33 top 10 scalps to his name and a total of 14 career titles, the 34-year-old Simon put together a resurgent year in 2018 after starting the season ranked No. 89 in the world, winning titles in Pune and Metz, finishing runner-up in Lyon and reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon to end the season in the top 30, and while he’s fallen slightly in the rankings in 2019, coming into Antwerp at No. 47, he’s still registered some solid results for an even 24-24 record on the season, including finishing runner-up at Queen’s Club and reaching semi-finals in Pune, Sydney and Marrakech.
Wawrinka leads their head-to-head 4-3, but they haven’t played since Simon prevailed at the 2016 Shanghai Masters. Simon leads 3-1 on hardcourt, with Wawrinka’s lone win on the surface coming back in 2010. If Wawrinka’s first match in Antwerp is anything to go by, this could be another tricky match for the Swiss. Simon is one of the most frustrating opponents to come up against on tour and requires immense patience to overcome – is Wawrinka ready for another potentially long battle?
Wawrinka vs Simon ATP Antwerp live streaming, preview and tips – Wawrinka and Simon face off for European Open semi-final spot
Stan Wawrinka and Gilles Simon clash for the first time since 2016 with a place in the European Open semi-finals…
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