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Stan Wawrinka in action in Rotterdam Photo: Marianne Bevis

He was a wild card, benefitting from being a Dutchman in Rotterdam’s ABN AMRO Tennis Championships. But the 21-year-old Tallon Griekspoor certainly lived up to the hopes of Tournament Director Richard Krajicek, and then some.

He was drawn against one of the most formidable players of the last few years, a three-time Major champion with a powerhouse game, the 32-year-old Stan Wawrinka. What worked in the young pretender’s favour was that Wawrinka was rusty, still not match fit from the six months he was side-lined following knee surgery in the latter part of 2017.

He managed to make the second round at the Australian Open on his return to competition, but then last week he showed a little more form in reaching the semis of the ATP250 in Sofia. But even in practice here, Wawrinka did not look like a former Rotterdam champion, still a little slower, a little more laboured than his usual best.

But this was only Griekspoor’s second main-tour match—the last was as a wild card here last year when he lost in the first round. This was his first professional singles match of the year at any level. However, last year, he did not drop a set on his way to his third Futures title. But there was no getting away from the fact that the Dutchman was ranked just 259.

He did not play that way, at least he did not do so after settling down. Wawrinka got first blood, despite not serving at a very high level. He broke…



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