Stan Wawrinka overcame a second-set comeback on Friday to beat 10th-seeded #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 7-6(4) for a place in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament semi-finals.
Watch Hot Shot: How Does Nishikori Win This Point?
Wawrinka, the 2015 Rotterdam champion (d. Berdych), will meet top-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori, who beat Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 6-3, 6-2 in convincing style.
"Physically I feel really good, and I'm moving and feeling better match after match," Wawrinka said. "Tonight was a tough match. I had to really fight... I was a bit nervous at the end of the match. We had some long rallies. It's good to see that I can keep being there, mentally, physically."
Nishikori broke Fucsovics twice in the opener but faced some adversity in the second set, falling behind 2-0. But it was as if Nishikori, the winner of the Brisbane International last month, flipped a switch. He won the next six games, and at one point, had won 19 of the past 22 points, returning aggressively and wearing down Fucsovics. Wawrinka leads Nishikori 5-4 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
"I feel like every match I've improved... In the second set, I think I was playing almost perfect. I was playing very solid, good first serves, playing aggressive and I was making almost every ball," Nishikori said. "Hopefully (against Stan) we can have a good match... He's a great player. I'm happy to see him back playing great tennis."
Shapovalov recovered from 15/40 in his second service game, but Wawrinka finally gained the break with a trademark backhand winner to take a 5-4 advantage. Shapovalov struck a backhand into the net to end the 31-minute first set.
Two double faults from Shapovalov handed Wawrinka the first game of the second set and at 1-3 another double fault — one of seven in the match — put the Canadian on the back foot. But a clever drop shot in the sixth game signalled a resurgence and terrific power off the ground at 4-5 resulted in a second break of serve. Shapovalov withstood the pressure once more to recover from 15/40 at 5-5. But Wawrinka pulled away in the tie-break and celebrated the win with a boastful "Allez!"