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Stan Wawrinka saves all three break points he faces to beat Feliciano Lopez at the European Open on Wednesday.

Wawrinka Outlasts Lopez In Antwerp

Tsonga beaten in straight sets

Stan Wawrinka’s debut appearance at the European Open got off to a dramatic start on Wednesday, as the fourth seed battled past Feliciano Lopez 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(4).

Making his first appearance since reaching the US Open quarter-finals last month, Wawrinka saved all three break points he faced throughout the two-hour, 19-minute encounter. The 34-year-old, who improves to 28-17 at tour-level this year, moves into a 5-3 lead in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Lopez.

Wawrinka will face Gilles Simon for a spot in the semi-finals. The Frenchman defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-5 to snap a four-match losing streak against the 2017 champion. Simon owns four FedEx ATP Head2Head victories from 13 meetings against Tsonga.

"It's never easy. We played many matches during those years on Tour," said Wawrinka, who leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Simon 4-3. "It's going to be a really interesting match. He played super well today to beat Tsonga."

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Frances Tiafoe improved his chances of qualifying for the Next Gen ATP Finals for the second consecutive year. The 21-year-old American was forced to work hard to beat German qualifier Yannick Maden 7-6(7), 6-3 in one hour and 39 minutes to break a three-match losing streak. Tiafoe will play another German, Jan-Lennard Struff, in the Antwerp second round.

The World No. 53, who has reached four ATP Tour semi-finals this season, recovered from 1-4 down in the first set and saved set points at 4-5, 15/40, then at 4/6 and 6/7 in the tie-break. Tiafoe closed out on his third set-point chance and won the first three games of the second set.

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Fifth seed Guido Pella defeated Soonwoo Kwon 7-5, 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals in Antwerp for the first time. The 29-year-old fired 12 aces and dropped just four points behind his first serve (37/41) to reach the last eight after one hour and 54 minutes.

Eighth seed Pablo Cuevas beat Hugo Dellien 6-4, 6-3 to book a second-round meeting against Andy Murray. Cuevas won 27 of 28 first-serve points to notch his 24th victory in 44 tour-level matches this year.

Did You Know?
The highest seeded players in action today at each of this week’s three ATP 250 events were all taken to final-set tie-breaks. Alongside Wawrinka's success in Antwerp, top seed Karen Khachanov saved five match points to triumph at the VTB Kremlin Cup. At the Intrum Stockholm Open, second seed Grigor Dimitrov fell to Sam Querrey.

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