ATP Basel: Consistent Mischa Zverev stuns home favourite Stan Wawrinka

Much to the chagrin of the wild Basel crowd, Stan Wawrinka was sent packing on Friday night in an impressive performance of consistent power by his opponent, Mischa Zverev.

ATP Basel: Consistent Mischa Zverev stuns home favourite Stan Wawrinka
Mischa Zverev
2 1
Stan Wawrinka

For the first time in just over a decade, the hosts will not be represented in the final of the Swiss Indoors. This was guaranteed on Friday night as top seed Stan Wawrinka was stunned in three sets by Mischa Zverev. The Swiss number one was off his form right from the very first game and only a few bouts of good hitting prevented the match from getting out of hand. In the end, errors proved costly for Wawrinka as his German opponent took the match 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.

Zverev blasts through opener

Right from the start, it was Zverev who was pushing Wawrinka around in the rallies, going for broke at every opportunity and was rewarded with a flurry of errors off the top seed’s racquet. It was only the first game, but Wawrinka was already swatting his racquet in frustration as Zverev took a 40-AD lead. The Swiss would save the first, but continued to struggle to keep the ball in play and was broken at the second time of asking.

Zverev hits a volley. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
Zverev hits a volley. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Zverev was throwing everything at the top seed, drilling his groundstrokes and charging the net at every opportunity. He was rewarded by a Wawrinka who could not seem to find any rhythm. More errors and a double fault put the Swiss down 15-40 in the seventh game and he would miss his passing shot on the first to give the double break to Zverev. The German took full advantage, serving out the set in the following game 6-2.

Wawrinka breaks late to level

Looking to change the tone immediately, Wawrinka opened up the set by ripping back to back winners up the line. The first four games were undramatic, but everything changed when Wawrinka took a tumble in the fifth game. Midway through a rally at 2-2, 40-30, the Swiss seemed to get his feet crossed and fell flat on his back. Though he only stayed down for a second, he missed a forehand on the rally to go down break point, but he bailed himself out with a big serve.

In the very next game, Wawrinka was back on his level and ripped three down-the-line winners to give himself double break point. Zverev was up to the task, however, saving the first with a spinning serve and the second with a volley winner. In the Germans next game, he found himself constantly in trouble at the net thanks to Wawrinka’s low, powerful passing shots. Once again, the Swiss took a double break point lead and this time ripped a backhand return winner up the line on the second to take a 5-3 lead.

Wawrinka fires himself up after winning a point during his quarterfinal loss. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images
Wawrinka fires himself up after winning a point during his quarterfinal loss. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Serving for the set, the top seed found himself in trouble again. Zverev returned the favour from the previous two games, taking a 15-40 lead and Wawrinka gave the break back when he dumped a forehand into the net. Zverev soon leveled at 5-5 and had a chance to break in the following game when a forehand passing shot reminiscent of Rafael Nadal brought a game back to deuce. Wawrinka missed an easy volley to go down break point, but saved it with a big serve. In the following game at 6-5, the top seed was at his baseline-blasting best, ripping a passing shot winner to bring up set point. On that point, his passing shot proved too good as Zverev shanked it into the crowd, leveling the match at a set apiece.

Wawrinka completes implosion 

After holding to start the third, Wawrinka had a chance to seize control of the match when he reached break point in the German’s first service game. But Zverev rode his big serve to a hold and turned the tables in the following game. Wawrinka was struggling with errors and drove a forehand long at deuce to give Zverev break point. The Swiss would save it by drawing an error in a long rally, but his own error troubles continued and from Ad-40 up, a double fault and back to back errors, ending in a forehand long, gave the break to the German. After the miss, Wawrinka smashed his racquet, resulting in a point penalty.

Wawrinka tosses his racquet to the court in frustration. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images
Wawrinka tosses his racquet to the court in frustration. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Things seemed to be going from bad to worse for the Swiss as more errors and a perfect crosscourt return from Zverev gave the German another break point in his next return game. Wawrinka would miss his passing shot wide to give Zverev a double break lead. The top seed was missing shots by matters of meters as the set progressed and as he served to stay in the match at 1-5, he found himself down match point when Zverev ripped a clean return winner. On match point, Wawrinka fired one more shot long to give the German the upset.

By the numbers

Wawrinka was far from his best in this match, only winning 64 percent of his first serves and 41 percent of his seconds. Zverev was far better, winning 80 and 50 respectively. Wawrinka was also abysmal on break points, only saving four of ten against his own serve, while converting just two of six on his opponent’s.

Zverev awaits the winner between Marin Cilic and Marcel Granollers in the semifinals.