Tennis royalty is all over Europe, with big name draws getting ready for Roland Garros. The WTA are playing in Strasbourg, the ATP in Geneva and, there is of course, the French Open on a screen near you from Sunday.
Let’s have a look at Geneva, where the world number three Sam Wawrinka is taking on Sam Querrey from the United States. Both have a strong base line game, and even on the clay, prefer ground stroke tennis from the back of the court. And I mean far back. Neither men much like the delicate touch required to perfect the drop shot, which is usually deadly on this surface.
Wawrinka is the reigning champion here, but has no titles to his name this year and is looking hungry. The Swiss is playing for a place in the semifinals. It won’t be a walkover as the American has one of the biggest serves on tour. This was early in evidence as he had break points in the third game, but that was quickly snuffed out with some excellent serving by “Stan the Man”, as his fans call him. At 2-2 the American gets another chance to break and does exactly that to go 3-2 up as Wawrinka dumps a forehand into the net. He cracks his racquet in frustration. Querry took the first set 6-4 in 36 minutes.
The second set didn’t start well either for the defending champion. A double fault gave his opponent the early break. The crowd sighed, at which point Wawrinka refocused and got the break straight back to a scream of allez all around. An attempt of a serve and volley showed why Stan prefers it from the baseline. Enough said, and he didn’t try it again. But from that moment he stood his ground from the back of the court again and took the second set 7-5.
From then on, there was only one winner as Wawrinka soon notched up a 4-1 lead and before long, the set was his 6-2.
The umpire always has the last word, and when he said “game, set and match, Wawrinka,” the cheering went on and on. It’s what the crowd came to hear.