Former champion Stan Wawrinka and seventh seed Alexander Zverev clash for the first time in three years when they battle it out in the Australian Open quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Alexander Zverev ?? vs Stan Wawrinka ?? Match Info
Date: Wednesday January 29
Tournament: Australian Open QF
Court: Rod Laver Arena
Time: 2.30pm local time (3.30am GMT)
Alexander Zverev vs Stan Wawrinka Head-to-Head
Zverev leads 2-0
2017 | Miami R16 | Zverev 4-6 6-2 6-1
2016 | St. Petersburg final | Zverev 6-2 3-6 7-5
Alexander Zverev vs Stan Wawrinka Match Preview
An entertaining showdown awaits as 2014 Australian Open champion Wawrinka confronts a resurgent Zverev with a spot in the semi-finals on the line.
Zverev arrived in Melbourne on the back of a disastrous showing at the ATP Cup, where he lost all three of his singles matches for Germany and suffered from the yips on serve. After a disappointing 2018 season in which he only won one title in Geneva and was involved in a messy off-court dispute with his former agent, expectations weren’t very high for Zverev at the Australian Open – especially when you consider he’d never before made it past the fourth round of a hardcourt major.
Perhaps sensing this, Zverev announced he would donate all of his prize money to the bushfire relief fund should he win the title after his scrappy first round win over Marco Cecchinato, but since then he’s been getting better and better – and after ending the 15-match winning streak of Andrey Rublev in style in the fourth round on Monday, the German has suddenly launched himself into genuine title contention.
Zverev, who also polished off former semi-finalist Fernando Verdasco in straight sets in the third round, was excellent in taking down former junior rival Rublev, winning 49 of 54 points behind his first serve and striking 11 aces in the 6-4 6-4 6-4 triumph.
“The first match wasn’t the best, but I won,” said Zverev. “The second match [against Egor Gerasimov] wasn’t the best either, but I won. Then it went better and better. I hope it will continue being like that. The draw isn’t getting easier. Stan is a multiple Grand Slam champion. It’s going to be very difficult playing against him.
“He showed why he’s a Grand Slam champion, beating [Daniil] Medvedev, coming back from two-sets-to-one down, playing great tennis. He’s still one of the toughest players to play, especially here in Australia.”
Zverev is certainly right there – and Wawrinka sent a further warning shot ahead of their quarter-final encounter, declaring his thrilling five-set win over fourth seed Medvedev was his best performance since undergoing double knee surgery in 2017.
“I think the last time I played so well was before the surgery,” said Wawrinka, after his 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 victory over the Russian.
“I feel since the off-season my level is really high. Physically, I’m moving better than last year. So I’m improving. I’m pretty sure [that] the last time I played that well was before the surgery.”
Wawrinka showed that this sort of form was on the horizon towards the end of last season after he made the U.S. Open quarter-finals and finished runner-up to Andy Murray in Antwerp, but injury stopped any chance he had of making the ATP Finals in London as he was forced to withdraw from the Basel quarter-finals against Roger Federer before succumbing to Rafael Nadal in the Round of 16 of the Paris Masters.
After starting the season with a semi-final showing in Doha, Wawrinka survived a four-set tussle with Damir Dzumhur and a five-set battle with Andreas Seppi before benefitting from a John Isner retirement in the third round. With his five-set triumph over Medvedev, Wawrinka has certainly played a lot of tennis over the first four rounds – does he have enough energy left in the tank against someone 12 years his junior who hasn’t lost a set himself?
Alexander Zverev vs Stan Wawrinka Prediction
Zverev has won both of their previous encounters and I think he’s the favourite in this clash – despite never having won a Grand Slam quarter-final before. The German looks like he’s playing without pressure – which has come out of nowhere – and is definitely the fresher of the two. This Grand Slam breakthrough was going to come sooner rather than later, and this could be Zverev’s moment to shine. Wawrinka is playing too good not to take a set or possibly two, but I think Zverev is in a nice rhythm at the moment and should prove too solid in the end.