Croatia Open: Wawrinka reaches semis with win over Carballes Baena

Umag (Croatia), July 29 (IANS) Stan Wawrinka held his nerve to break his 2023 semi-final duck at the Croatia Open, where the former World No. 3 reached the last four by downing Roberto Carballes Baena 6-4, 7-5, here.

In the pair’s second ATP Head to Head clash in the space of 11 days, Wawrinka improved to 2-0 against Carballes Baena by prevailing in a tense quarter-final clash of narrow margins on Friday.

A late break of serve in each set ultimately proved decisive for the sixth-seeded Swiss, who wrapped a one-hour, 44-minute win to reach his first tour-level semi-final since Metz in September 2022.

“He’s a really tough player, I expected a tough match,” said Wawrinka in his on-court interview.

“I think tonight I was playing well. It’s slow conditions so it’s not easy to get through, to be aggressive, but my game is there and I’m enjoying my time here. I’m happy to be in the semi-finals tomorrow,” he added.

Wawrinka has impressed so far this week on his first appearance in Umag since 2007. He has now won all six sets he has played at the clay-court ATP 250 as he looks to clinch his first tour-level title since Geneva in 2017.

His next opponent in Croatia will be Lorenzo Sonego, who defeated Jaume Munar 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

“It’s going to be a tough match,” said Wawrinka, who lifted his maiden ATP Tour title in Umag in 2006.

“He’s a great player. He’s a big fighter with some amazing shots, so I expect a really tough battle. But hopefully I can keep playing that well and keep winning,” he added.

–IANS

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