Rotterdam 2019: Tsitsipas, Tsonga and Medvedev make opening bids
Wawrinka vs Raonic and Berdych vs Shapovalov complete evening schedule
Former Rotterdam champion and three-time Major titlist Stan Wawrinka has good cause to remember his last match against the No4 seed in the Dutch city this week, Milos Raonic.
That last encounter was less than a month ago, in the second round of the Australian Open: It lasted more than four hours, and was finally edged by Raonic in four tie-break sets. By the time they had finished their battle, they had thumped down 67 aces and played 324 points—separated in the end by just two.
They are meeting unseasonably early in Rotterdam, as Wawrinka continues to work his way back up the ranks—he is currently 68—following double knee surgery 18 months ago.
The Swiss looked in good shape in dismissing the dangerous Benoit Paire in the first round, but Raonic also looked formidable in his win over Philipp Kohlschreiber, 7-6(8), 7-5 in a tough test from the ever-crafty German.
What is more, Raonic has won his last three meetings against Wawrinka, but it so happens that Wawrinka’s last win against the Canadian was right here in Rotterdam in 2015, two more tie-breaks in the Swiss man’s favour, and he went on to claim the title.
Another Canadian, the youngest man in the draw, No10 seed Denis Shapovalov, beat Franko Skugor to set a meeting with another former champion, Tomas Berdych, who beat Gilles Simon, 7-6(8), 6-4.
These two contests feature in the evening session at Rotterdam’s Ahoy on Wednesday, while the day session brings the first-round matches of two champions last weekend, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Montpellier and Daniil Medvedev in Sofia. Also in action is the charismatic 20-year-old No3 seed, Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Elsewhere, unseeded Gael Monfils beat 2017 runner-up David Goffin, 7-6(5), 7-5, to set a second-round meeting with Andreas Seppi. Another 30-something, Fernando Verdasco, beat Matthew Ebden, 7-5, 6-4, and will next play either Medvedev or Jeremy Chardy.
Top seed Kei Nishikori overcame a severe challenge from the fast-improving Pierre-Hugues Herbert, to seal the win after two hours 12 minutes, 3-6, 6-1, 5-4, and set a meeting with Lucky Loser Ernests Gulbis, who put would fellow Lucky Loser Marius Copil, 6-2, 6-4.
Centre Court order of play, Wednesday 13 February (from 11am)
Medvedev vs Chardy
Tsonga vs Thomas Fabbiano
Damir Dzumhur vs Tsitsipas
Not before 7:30 pm
Raonic vs Wawrinka
Berdych vs Shapovalov