Comeback-bound Stan Wawinka powered ahead as his injury comeback gains pace, with the Swiss slamming Denmark’s Holder Rune 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 at the Indian Wells Masters onMonday.

Rune is ranked eighth to the 100th of Switzerland’s three-time Grand Slam champion who is regaining world class form after several seasons of various knee and other injuries.

Wawrinka last got this far at an elite Masters 1000 level event in 2020.

True to form, the teenaged Rune sparred with the chair umpire, voiced his usual complaints and occasionally beseeched the showcourt crowd to show him some love by putting his hand to his ear to “listen.”

The 37-year-old Wawrinka calmly put the needy Nordic back in his box after a second-set slump which threatened his chances to advance to the last eight.

The Swiss missed on a pair of match points in the second set, one at 5-3 and the other in the tiebreaker won by Rune after trailing 5-2.

Wawrinka claimed victory in just under two and three-quarter hours, sending down 12 aces and breaking five times.

“I feel good, the last 45 minutes was tough,” the winner said. “I had the match in control, was playing well. I was putting a lot of pressure – I should have won way earlier.

“I started feeling nervous and hesitated a little bit (in the second set). He came back in the match.

“He’s an amazing young player. But it’s special to keep winning. It was important to stay there mentally because I am playing well.”

Wawrinka took revenge for a loss to Rune last November indoors in Paris.

“All my career I know only one way. To keep fighting, working, pushing myself and staying positive. I am super happy with the win.”
Wawrinka reached the final here in 2017 and last competed at the desert venue in 2019 before his injuries set and the COVID pandemic struck.


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