Wawrinka wins over Monfils to reach round 4 and Andy Roddick.

Stan ‘the man’ Wawrinka has not had the easiest time of late so a  straight sets win over the energetic Frenchman Gael Monfils to reach the fourth round of Australian Open 2011 was most well-timed. The energetic Frenchman tends to be a joy to watch, and a photographer’s dream, as he slips and slides his way about the court, hurling his frame in the direction of every ball that he can see, and more often than not, making them. Not at the moment. Monfils entered his third round today on the back of an arduous five-set win over Thiemo de Bakker, and a further four sets at the hands of Federico Gil. Hardly names to light up the lights of Melbourne Park.

But, contrary to form, Monfils began well in this evening’s third-round encounter, going up a break in the fifth game, and looking to get an early start on his fellow French-speaker. Wawrinka was not reading the script. Hitting 23 winners to La Monf’s 14, red-nosed Stan broke back, and then held fast to make his way into a first set tie-break. Again, Monfils was the one to go ahead, only for the Swiss to turn it around and steal the tiebreak 7-4, despite producing five more unforced errors than his French opponent.

The first set secured, albeit by a squeak, it gave Wawrinka the ammunition of confidence he needed to begin hitting out without a care in the world. Or at least in Melbourne. Totting up a further 24 winners in set No.2, the Swiss No.2 motored his way into a 5-1 lead, leaving a lost Monfils gazing at every ball that flew past. With a two-set lead after 117 minutes, Wawrinka continued to deny Monfils any sort of pleasure, bumbling around the court in his Lacoste gear, and breaking immediately to go 2-0 up. The rest of the third set was business-like to say the least, the Swiss player allowing no quarter as he romped into a 5-1 lead, forcing the Sliderman to serve to stay in the match. It looked like Wawrinka might allow Monfils one more game to spare his blushes, but not exactly. Deuce on the Monfils serve, the Swiss scorched a cross court forehand passing shot past the Frenchman’s fingers to bring up his first match point. Against the run of play, Monfils held, and handed the baton back to Wawrinka. He didn’t disappoint. Serving out the match for a 7-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory, the Swiss advanced to a fourth-round meeting with Andy Roddick.


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