Wawrinka Races Past Sinner To Reach Antwerp Final
Swiss to meet Murray or Humbert in final
The 34-year-old, who trailed 0-2 in the first set, won 81 per cent of first-serve points (21/26) to record his 30th tour-level win of the season after 65 minutes. Wawrinka is aiming to lift his first ATP Tour title since the 2017 Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open. The World No. 18 reached the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament final in February, falling to Gael Monfils in three sets.
“I am super happy,” said Wawrinka. “I didn’t play since the US Open, so to be in a final here after a month [away] is great for me. The most important [part] is the way I am playing, the way I am moving and the way I am feeling on the court. It has been great.”
Wawrinka will face former World No. 1 Andy Murray or #NextGenATP Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the championship match. The Swiss trails Murray 8-11 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, but defeated Humbert in their only previous encounter at last year's US Open.
Sinner broke through in the opening game of the match, rushing Wawrinka in a series of forehand duels to extract crucial errors. But the Swiss responded emphatically, winning five straight games from 0-2 down to take control of the match. The three-time Grand Slam champion began to find his best level on his backhand, focussing his attack on Sinner’s backhand wing to take control of baseline rallies. Wawrinka claimed the first set after 34 minutes with a powerful serve up the T.
The Swiss carried his momentum through to the second set, stepping up the court to take time away from his opponent. Wawrinka fired a series of groundstroke winners, including a ripped forehand return on break point, to earn a 4-1 advantage. The 16-time tour-level titlist converted his first match point, holding serve to love as Sinner fired long with a backhand return.
This is Wawrinka’s first straight-sets victory of the week. The former World No. 3 survived a final-set tie-break in his opening match against Feliciano Lopez and needed three sets to overcome Gilles Simon in the quarter-finals.
“Today was the best match of the week,” said Wawrinka. “I was feeling really good [and] confident with my game. I am happy to be in the final.”
Sinner’s impressive run in Belgium comes to an end. The 18-year-old was the youngest man to reach an ATP Tour semi-final since Borna Coric (17) advanced to the 2014 Swiss Indoors Basel semi-finals. Sinner was bidding to become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since Kei Nishikori (18) at the 2008 Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com.
The Italian dropped just one set en route to the semi-finals in Antwerp. Sinner recorded straight-sets wins against Kamil Majchrzak and top seed Gael Monfils, before a three-set victory against Frances Tiafoe in the last eight.
"I won a good match against Monfils and then I played a tough one against Tiafoe," said Sinner. "I felt confident today. I started well in the beginning and then after I was not serving so well... He played better today and I wish him luck for the final."
Did You Know?
All four semi-finalists in Antwerp are making their debut appearance at the tournament this year.