US Open: Stan Wawrinka moves past Illya Marchenko in four sets to set up del Potro clash

Stan Wawrinka booked his place in a fourth successive US Open quarterfinal to set up a meeting with Juan Martin del Potro after a four sets win over Illya Marchenko 6-4, 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3.

Fast start by the Swiss in sets one and two

The third seed opened proceedings with a comfortable hold before piling the pressure on his opponents serve as a wide forehand from Marchenko bought up break point. An extended rally finished with a backhand into the net from the Swiss as he then squandered a further two break points but converted on a fourth to win a game which lasted over nine minutes. The Ukrainian hit 10 unforced errors in just three games as his opponent held to love to take a 3-0 lead.

Marchenko held to get a game on the board and then experienced some joy of his own on his opponents serve, breaking Wawrinka on his third opportunity with a forehand winner. Play continued to go with serve until the 10th game, where the Swiss struck at the ideal time, forcing the Ukrainian to go wide with the forehand cross court to seal the set 6-4.

Wawrinka made a quick start to the second set as he did in the first, breaking Marchenko at the first opportunity to take a 3-0 lead. The unseeded Ukrainian held serve to love to get on the board but threw in another poor service game in the sixth game, getting broken after hitting a double fault to fall 5-1 down. The two-time former US Open semifinalist needed just one chance to take a two sets to love lead, finishing with an unreturned serve to take the set 6-1.

The third seed closes in on victory

Marchenko made a positive start to the second set, holding his opening two service games comfortably, something which he had failed to do in both the first two sets. Things nearly got even better for the Ukrainian as he had two break point opportunities on the Wawrinka serve, but was agonizingly unable to capitalize as the Swiss played four very solid points to level at 2-2

As that golden chance passed Marchenko by, his serve really let him down in the next game, serving back to back double faults at 30-30 to drop serve and all but end his hopes of reaching a maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal.

A 25 shot rally, the longest of the match, gave Marchenko half a chance to break back but Wawrinka hit back with a cross-court backhand winner and an effective body serve. The former Australian Open and French Open champion came through a tough service game to hold, moving just a game away before his opponent held to force him to serve the match out.

Marchenko was competing in the fourth round of a slam for the first time. Photo: Getty
Marchenko was competing in the fourth round of a slam for the first time. Photo: Getty

Marchenko fights back to stun Stan

The match looked all but over at 30-0 on Wawrinka’s serve, but the Swiss played four very loose points to drop serve and gave himself more work to do now locked in at 5-5. The world number three had two break points to get back on track but produced two uncharacteristic unforced errors to let Marchenko off the hook as held with an ace to move 6-5 in front. The two-time semifinalist in New York then held serve to force a third set tiebreak on the Louis Armstrong Stadium court in a front of a packed crowd.

Wawrinka secured the mini break immediately with a forehand down the line winner but squandered the advantage with a poor slice backhand which went well wide. Matters got worse for the Swiss as he put another slice wide to head to the change of ends 4-2 behind. Marchenko maintained his advantage to earn three set points and despite missing the first two he held his nerve in the third as the Swiss sprayed a backhand long to seal the set for the Ukrainian 7-6(5).

Wawrinka wobbles at the start of the fourth but powers through to victory

Wawrinka came through a tough opening service game to start the fourth and forced Marchenko to suffer a similar test in his first service game. The Ukrainian came through with flying colors, saving two break points to square things up at 1-1.

Marchenko was rewarded for his efforts in the third game as he broke the Swiss’ serve to move ahead, resulting in Wawrinka violently breaking his racket at the changeover. The world number three got the response he was looking for in the next game as he capitalized on a double fault from his opponent to win the next point with a forehand winner to break back.

The third seed maintained his momentum on this occasion as he broke Marchenko once again, this time, to love, and then moved into a 5-2 lead. The Ukrainian forced the Swiss to serve for the match for a second time and he squandered his first two match points but took the third to secure a 6-4, 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3 victory.

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