Stan Wawrinka largely out-muscled Dominik Koepfer from the baseline on Wednesday to take his place in the Roland Garros third round. The 2015 champion recorded his 150th match win at a Grand Slam championship by beating the German 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in two hours and eight minutes on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.
Wawrinka, who beat Novak Djokovic for the 2015 title and finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal two years later, hit 51 winners for his 10th tour-level victory of the 2020 season. He will next prepare to face wild card Hugo Gaston or Yoshihito Nishioka.
Having saved four break points at 2-2, Wawrinka stepped up and from 3-3 in the first set won seven straight games for a 4-0 advantage in the second set. Koepfer played well at the net, but Wawrinka’s greater weight of stroke in baseline rallies saw the German under constant pressure. Koepfer was heard to mutter, “Can’t get the ball deep” after falling two sets down with 61 minutes on the clock.
Three break points, early in the third set, came and went for Koepfer before the 26-year-old finally broke through for a 5-3 lead, after consecutive forehand errors from Wawrinka. Koepfer then calmly closed out the set with a big serve. But Wawrinka regrouped and used his forehand to devastating effect to win the first five games of the fourth set, which ended with a forehand – the Swiss star’s 51st winner.
Prior to the clay-court major, Wawrinka played just one tour-level match at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. In August, he won an ATP Challenger Tour title in Prague (d. Karatsev), which was his first tournament at that level for 10 years.