Wawrinka: Anything can happen
Originally published on 14/03/17 00:00
The No.3 seed maintained his unbeaten record against the German, claiming a fifth win from five career meetings with a 7-5 6-3 victory at Indian Wells.
“It was a really good match," said Wawrinka. "I'm very happy, in general. First set was not easy, but in general I'm happy with my game. I need to every time adjust a little bit in the return. It's not easy. But I was serving well. I think I'm moving better and better, and it's all positive so far.”
Wawrinka is the highest ranked player in the top half of the draw following Andy Murray’s shock defeat to Vasek Pospisil. Dominic Thiem and Gael Monfils are the only other Top 10 players remaining in the top half, with Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer all in the bottom half.
The Swiss, who has won just one ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at Monte Carlo in 2014, is hoping to improve on his previous best performance of a quarter-final showing in Indian Wells.
"I'm just enjoying being back here, enjoying being back winning,” said Wawrinka, who lost his opening match in Dubai to Damir Dzumhur in his only other tournament since the Australian Open. “I know I'm practising and playing well. I know anything is possible. I'm focused match after match. It was only the second win since Australia. So today I'm really happy with the performance the way I was playing. I'm feeling good in my body, so that's the most important."
Next up for Wawrinka is Japanese lucky loser Yoshihito Nishiokia, who upset Tomas Berdych 1-6 7-6(5) 6-4 after saving match point against the Czech.
“I know how he's playing – more from the baseline, using his power. It's going to be interesting,” Wawrinka said. “I’ve never practised with him, so it's going to be the first time we're going to be against each other. So I'm sure it's going to be a good match.”