Stan Wawrinka beats Mischa Zverev, retains Geneva Open title
GENEVA (AP) Stan Wawrinka warmed up for the French Open by retaining his home Geneva Open title on Saturday, beating Mischa Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
The top-seeded Wawrinka clinched by breaking serve with a fierce forehand crosscourt pass to beat left-hander Zverev’s advance to the net.
Wawrinka’s first title in 2017 is the 16th of his career, and the seventh on clay including the 2015 French Open. The Swiss is the No. 3 seed at Roland Garros, and first plays the 152nd-ranked Josef Kovalik of Slovakia.
Victory against the 33rd-ranked Zverev avenged a loss when Wawrinka last faced him, at the previous Swiss event on tour in Basel in October.
”I would have hated you if you had beaten me in two tournaments,” Wawrinka quipped to his opponent in the post-match ceremonies.
Zverev, who came through qualifying, still seeks a first career title at age 29. The Russia-born German’s second runner-up finish comes more than six years after his first, at Metz, France.
”It was a long week for me,” Zverev said. ”I have never expected to be in a final in a clay-court tournament.”
Using serve-and-volley skills too rarely seen in modern tennis, Zverev took control of the first set after he and Wawrinka traded three straight breaks of serve.
Zverev served for the set at 5-3, and trailed 0-30 before reeling off four straight points including two volley winners.
Wawrinka quickly found trouble to begin the second set, then rallied from 0-40 down to hold serve and forced a break in the next game.
Zverev saved two set points when trailing 5-2 on his serve and made Wawrinka serve out for the set.
In the decider, Wawrinka put constant pressure on Zverev’s serve and clinched with a third break.
Zverev has earned the No. 32 seeding at the French Open, which begins on Sunday, and could play defending champion Novak Djokovic in the third round.