Old guard: Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka celebrates a point in his three set win over Denmark's Holger Rune at Indian Wells
Indian Wells (United States) (AFP) - Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka scored a win for the old guard Monday, beating 19-year-old seventh seed Holger Rune 6-2, 6-7 (5⁄7), 7-5 to reach the fourth round at Indian Wells.
A former world number three now ranked 100th, Wawrinka has had two left knee and two left foot surgeries since he reached the Indian Wells and Roland Garros finals in 2017.
At 37, he had 18 years on his opponent, but he avenged a first-round defeat to the Dane at the Paris Masters in November, where Rune saved three match points to launch his run to a first Masters title.
It looked like the young Dane, ranked eighth in the world, might pull off a similar comeback when he saved a match point and broke Wawrinka in the ninth game of the second set.
Rune clawed back from 5-2 down in the second-set tiebreaker to force a third set, but Wawrinka dictated the pace using his trademark backhand to good effect.
The Swiss, who won the Australian Open in 2014, the French Open in 2015 and the US Open in 2016, finished with 12 aces and didn’t face a break point in the final set.
He broke Rune in the penultimate game and served out the victory in two hours and 40 minutes – and more than an hour after his first match point.
“I should have won the match way before,” Wawrinka said. “I started feeling nervous and hesitated a little bit. He came back in the match. He is an amazing player, a young player.
“But it is special to keep winning. I really enjoy the second seek atmosphere,” said Wawrinka , who has reached quarter-finals in Marseille and Rotterdam this year.
“It was important to stay there mentally because I am playing well. All my career I know only one way: to keep fighting, working pushing myself and stay positive.”
Wawrinka will fight for a quarter-final berth against another young talent in 21-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner, who beat France’s Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (9⁄7), 6-4.