Stan Wawrinka sealed his spot in the quarterfinals of the Swiss Indoors in Basel with a 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-4 victory over American qualifier Donald Young in just over 2 hours and 15 minutes.
The world No.3 will face Mischa Zverev in the quarterfinals
Exhibition of serving
After a closely fought three-setter with Swiss compatriot Marco Chuidinelli on Tuesday, Wawrinka began strongly against the inconsistent American.
The world number three's serve seemed to be clicking during the opening exchanges, firing down a couple of aces, tying Young up with a second serve out wide and dropping in a serve and volley for good measure.
Young held for 2-1 but Wawrinka seemed visibly agitated at the line judges, judging one of the Swiss number one’s returns to have bounced beyond the baseline when replays showed differently.
The American would be forced to save a pair of break points to preserve his advantage. The home favourite crashed a forehand winner to fashion his first break point of the encounter but a double fault would present Wawrinka with a second opportunity to take a firm grip on the first set. Young, though, held his nerve as the set remained on serve after 17 minutes of tennis.
Young was failing to worry the Swiss on his serve and Wawrinka duly tied the set up at 3-3. He would be forced to save yet more break points in the following service game as his first serve seemed to desert him. Fortunately for the qualifier, he rescued both with two excellent serves and closed out for a 4-3 lead.
Young briefly threatened the Wawrinka serve despite the Swiss holding a 40-0 advantage. A pair of angled returns, however, were quickly quashed when the world No.3 rifled a 196 km/h serve down the tee to hold.
Young held to love to force his opponent to serve to stay in the set and his first serve appeared to, at long last, be clicking. Wawrinka exclaimed after delivering a sumptuous passing shot to construct a pair of game points, holding comfortably.
Young netted a simple forehand to open his service game at 5-5 but a couple of errant returns from his Swiss opponent meant he would have to serve for a tie-break.
He duly did, dropping only seven service points throughout six games and, much like his first round match on Tuesday, would contest an opening set tie-break. The breaker remained on serve until the American qualifier sent a forehand deep at 4-3. Thereafter, the Swiss stayed composed and rifled a beautiful forehand winner past Young at 6-4 to claim the opening set.
Young Fights Back
Wawrinka held to open the second set and instantly threatened the world number 83’s serve, fashioning a break point but the American held his nerve to restore parity.
The Swiss, though, was completely dominant on serve, acing Young twice in the third service game and extracting an unforced error from a chip and charge.
Wawrinka held for 3-2 and was briefly given glimpse of a break when he raced into a 0-30 advantage. With Young pinned behind the baseline and slicing to the world number three’s forehand for a volley, he sent it long and wide and the American recovered for 3-3.
The Swiss number one whacked his racket into the court in frustration and was swiftly conceding two break points. Young had won six out of the previous seven points since Wawrinka’s errant volley but he failed to capitalise and the US Open champion restored his lead.
4-3 to the good, the Swiss fashioned a break point with a mesmeric backhand down the line before breaking for 5-3 when Young double faulted.
Few could fault the American’s attitude throughout the contest and he would be rewarded when he broke back with Wawrinka serving for the match.
The world number three ought to have been frustrated with himself for failing to serve it out but his hold to love for 6-5 would have heaped pressure on the shoulders of Young, with the possibility of another tiebreak looming.
The 1-2 punch for the American was proving lucrative and, after forcing another breaker, began strongly, forcing a swift mini-break on the Wawrinka serve.
Young has never fallen in straight sets to his Swiss opponent and he maintained that feat when he fashioned three set points and converted when Wawrinka netted a return.
Wawrinka Hangs On
His fortunes would soon change when the world number three grabbed an early break in the deciding set, forcing a forehand error from Young with a well-executed sliced return.
Wawrinka consolidated his break of serve with a mixture of penetrating groundstrokes and intelligent tennis. Young certainly wasn’t being subdued without fuss, holding to love at 4-2 and forcing the Swiss star to sweat for his victory.
Wawrinka was faced with a not to dissimilar situation in the second when he had the chance to serve out for the match. With new balls, the number one seed smashed down three aces to seal his passage to the last eight.