Wawrinka eases into 4th round at Australian Open
MELBOURNE, Australia—Defending champion Stan Wawrinka says he’s quite happy flying under the radar after easing into the fourth round at the Australian Open on Saturday, nominating Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal as title favorites.
The Swiss fourth seed cruised through 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen in one hour and 49 minutes on Rod Laver Arena and will play Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the round of 16.
It doesn’t perturb him one bit that he is not generating any headlines in the tournament as he treads his way through the top half of the men’s draw.
“I’m feeling good since the beginning of the tournament,” he said.
“For sure I’m not the focus on the tournament because there’s Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal coming back from injury, was Roger Federer before he lost, there’s Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic still playing.
“I still think Novak and Rafa are the big favorites for the tournament.
“For sure I’m not the focus. For me it doesn’t matter. I’m feeling great. I’m happy the way I’m playing. To get to the second week again, it’s great. So far everything is good for me.”
Wawrinka was always in control of his first meeting with the 72nd-ranked Finn in four years and broke Nieminen’s serve six times and hit 55 winners.
He said he was looking forward to playing Garcia-Lopez after a “tough loss” to him at last year’s French Open.
“He’s been playing really good. I lost against him last year French Open first round,” Wawrinka said.
“We had some tough battles in the past. It’s never easy. Think it will again depend a lot on me, the way I’m going to play, the way I’m going to be aggressive, because I need to make the game.”
Wawrinka, who is now the main Swiss contender at this year’s Open following Federer’s shock defeat to Andreas Seppi on Friday, was pleased with his progress at the tournament.
“I was aggressive today on the court, it was in quite fast conditions and I took control of the match,” he said.
“It’s been three really good matches, I think my game is there and I’m really happy to get through again.”
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