Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 10, 2021 Hungary's Marton Fucsovics celebrates after winning his second round match against Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake
February 10, 2021
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Hungarian Marton Fucsovics came through a five-set thriller against Stan Wawrinka to reach the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday, saving three match points en route to a 7-5 6-1 4-6 2-6 7-6(9) win over the three-time Grand Slam champion.
Wawrinka was sloppy in the opening two sets, committing 29 unforced errors and landing just over 60% of his first serves, but the 17th seed found his range in the third set, breaking Fucsovics in the opening game before taking control with a string of blistering backhands.
Fucsovics recovered in the final set and appeared set for the win at 5-3 but Wawrinka again found another gear, drawing level at 5-5 before forcing a final set tiebreaker.
Wawrinka, the 2014 winner at Melbourne Park, raced to 6-1 lead and gave himself three match points but Fucsovics clawed back to 9-9 with some fearless hitting and went on to seal victory in just under four hours on the John Cain Arena court.
“Right now, I feel like I’m dying,” said world number 55 Fucsovics, who also needed five sets to beat Marc Polmans in the opening round.
“I’ve played two five setters and it’s really hot. I knew he would come back, he’s very strong mentally and physically. But I was very strong mentally and that was the most important thing.”
Wawrinka thought he had become overly cautious in the tiebreak.
“Not the best level for me, but again, I was fighting, I had some chances to finish the match,” the 35-year-old said.
“From 6-1 (in the tiebreak) I started to hesitate a little bit the way I was playing.
“I wanted to put the ball maybe too much in and I’m not going completely for my shots and that’s when I started to miss a little bit and it helped him to come back in the match.”
Fucsovics will face Milos Raonic, the 14th seed, for a place in the last 16.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)