ATP Basel: Stan Wawrinka survives scare in all-Swiss affair

Top seed Stan Wawrinka needed three sets and two and a half hours to put away compatriot Marco Chiudinelli in the first round of the Swiss Indoors.

ATP Basel: Stan Wawrinka survives scare in all-Swiss affair
Stan Wawrinka reacts to losing a point. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Stan Wawrinka
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Marco Chiudinelli

Stan Wawrinka was given all he could handle in a thrilling first round encounter that the Swiss fans must have loved, as the top seed at the Swiss Indoors needed three sets to put away countryman Marco Chiudinelli. The wildcard matched the recent US Open champion shot for shot in the opener, but eventually Wawrinka was able to wear his compatriot down for a 6-7(1), 6-1, 6-4 victory.

Chiudinelli comes out firing

Despite his massive underdog status, Chiudinelli matched his nation’s number one shot for shot in the early stages of the opening set. In the sixth game, he held the first break points of the match and managed to convert his third to take a 4-2 lead. But Wawrinka sent a quick reminder as to why he is the Swiss number one, breaking right back in the following game and going on to level the set at four games apiece.

Marco Chiudinelli follows through on a shot. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images
Marco Chiudinelli follows through on a shot. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Chiudinelli would have another close look on the Wawrinka serve in the tenth game, but deuce was as close as he would get. After doing an impressive job of hanging with the top seed throughout the opening set, Chiudinelli took full control of the tiebreak, racing to a 6-1 lead. All Wawrinka could do was salvage one point before his opponent wrapped up the opening set.

Wawrinka roars back

Being obliterated in the tiebreak seemed to act as a wake-up call for Wawrinka, as he immediately turned the tables to start the second set. The top seed battled back in his first return game before breaking for the 2-0 lead. After a love hold, he secured a second break and stretched the lead to 5-0. Wawrinka was a point away from sweeping the second set, but Chiudinelli finally put a brief stop to his opponent’s momentum by saving the break/set point and holding to get on the board. He was only delaying the inevitable, as Wawrinka easily held in the following game to send the match to a decider.

Late break sends Wawrinka through

Trying to take full control of the match, Wawrinka immediately began pouring the pressure on the world number 119s serve to start the second set. He would hold a break point, but could not convert and after four deuces, Chiudinelli scored the gutsy hold. The next five games were easily holds for the servers. The tension began to ramp up in the seventh game, as Chiudinelli had to fight through a deuce before holding.

Wawrinka lines up a forehand. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Wawrinka lines up a forehand. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

In the following game, it was Wawrinka’s turn to fight. The top seed had to save two break points and battle through six deuces just to hold serve and stay level at 4-4. The missed opportunity proved costly for Chiudinelli as Wawrinka made the definitive breakthrough in the following game, racing ahead 0-40 and converting his second to give himself a chance to serve for the match. It would take four deuces and five match points, but eventually the top seed wrapped up the victory after two and a half hours.

By the numbers

Wawrinka threw down sixteen aces and was solid on break points, saving four of five on his own serve while convert four of seven on his opponent’s. He also won a solid 74 percent of his first serve points. Chiudinelli dominated on his first serve, winning 82 percent, but struggled with his second, only managing to win 40 percent of points when missing his first serve. That is particularly costly considering he only put 52 percent of his first serves in play.

Wawrinka will play Donald Young in the second round.