This is why Stan Wawrinka went through two operations on his left knee within a month. Why he did all the work required to raise his ranking from outside the top 250, to matter again in the sport he loves.
So he could win matches like the 5-hour, 9-minute test of excellence, endurance and emotions that Wawrinka, 34, claimed against 20-year-old, caked-in-clay Stefanos Tsitsipas by a 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 8-6 score Sunday at the French Open to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time in two years.
And so he could advance to a matchup Tuesday against friend and countryman Roger Federer, who hasn’t dropped a set in the tournament.
“That’s the reason why came back. … I love and enjoy to play in front of people, to play in the biggest tournaments you can play. Today was something really special,” said Wawrinka, who won the 2015 championship at Roland Garros for one of his three major trophies.
Tsitsipas, seeded sixth, said the narrow loss caused him to shed postmatch tears for the first time in a long time.
“Never experienced something like this in my life. I feel very disappointed,” said Tsitsipas, who upset Federer at the Australian Open in January en route to his first Grand Slam semifinal. “I will try to learn from it as much as I can.”
Earlier Sunday, Petra Martic followed up her win over second-seeded Karolina Pliskova by rallying past Kaia Kanepi 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 on center court to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. The Croat, seeded 31st, next faces Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova, who reached her first quarterfinal at a major without dropping a set.
Also advancing to the last eight was 26th-seeded Briton Johanna Konta, who beat 23rd-seeded Donna Vekic 6-2, 6-4. Konta will face 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.
Howard Fendrich is an Associated Press writer.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Stan-Wawrinka-s-5-set-French-Open-win-gets-him-13917702.php.