By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) – Greek sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas dug deep to set up a potentially explosive fourth-round clash against Stan Wawrinka at the French Open, completing a 7-5 6-3 6-7(5) 7-6(6) victory against Serbian Filip Krajinovic on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Tsitsipas completed the win after play was suspended late on Friday evening to secure his second straight last-16 appearance at a Grand Slam, just like Wawrinka who downed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(5) 7-6(4) 7-6(8), also over two days.
Wawrinka, the 2015 French Open champion, had the court One crowd on their feet as he rallied from 6-2 down in the third-set tiebreak.
“I know he has been struggling with some injuries, and he had a serious operation recently, so to me, it seems like he has found his form, his game,” said Tsitsipas, referring to Wawrinka’s knee surgery at the end of 2017.
“And as we all know, he did quite well at the French Open plenty of times, not just once. He’s a dangerous player. He knows clay very well. He has a big game.
“I’m much younger than him, so I think when it comes to the physical, I guess I have a little bit of an advantage; but when it comes to experience, he’s a bit more experienced than me,” he said of Wawrinka, who also reached the final at Roland Garros in 2017.
Tsitsipas resumed his match at 5-5 in the third and looked wobbly in losing the tiebreak before finally winning in four sets on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
A runner-up in Madrid and semi-finalist in Rome in the run-up to the claycourt Grand Slam, Tsitsipas had breezed through the first two sets and appeared on the brink of a no-nonsense win when play resumed in searing heat on Saturday.
But Krajinovic threw everything he had at Tsitsipas, unsettling the 20-year-old.
Two straight double faults handed a break to Krajinovic in the fourth set, but the Serbian let his guard down and allowed Tsitsipas to get another crack at a tiebreak.
The Greek saved a set point as Krajinovic lost his composure, hitting long on the first match point.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Chopra and Tony Lawrence)