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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday August 17, 2023

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka became the third oldest player to ever reach the round of 16 at a Masters 1000 on Wednesday night in Cincinnati.

Photo Source: Getty

The summer of Stan?

Has a nice ring to it - and it is ringing true in Cincinnati.

Stan Wawrinka, fresh off his first ATP final in four years at Umag, continues to forge a path higher in the rankings at the Western and Southern Open.

Tennis Express

On Wednesday night in Cincinnati the Swiss was resplendent as he took down Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4 to book his spot in the round of 16. By doing so Wawrinka became the third oldest player to reach that far in a Masters 1000 event (only Ivo Karlovic, who reached the round of 16 at Indian Wells at 40 and the round of 16 at Cincinnati at 38, has done better), and set a clash with Max Purcell of Australia.

Wawrinka is now slated to return to the Top 50 next week, for the first time since October of 2021. Though he is 38, he is looking fitter than he has in years, with his two foot surgeries from 2021 now barely present in the rearview mirror.

The three-time Grand Slam champion improves to 22-14 on the season, and he is displaying the type of breathtaking power that made him an elite force in the sport several years ago. He swept past Tiafoe with alarming precision (the American played a good match, just couldn't match Wawrinka's first strike prowess), winning 23 of 24 first serve points and two-thirds of his second serve return points.

"It's been probably the best match of the season, I think the most complete match," Wawrinka said. "I was feeling good, moving well, serving well, being aggressive, staying with him, fighting. I'm super happy and hopefully I can keep playing that well."

With Magnus Norman back in the coaching box, and Wawrinka hitting his stride, it’s getting easier to imagine the Swiss legend doing just that, and making another run deep at a Slam. There are certainly no guarantees that the menacing form that he displayed against tenth-ranked Tiafoe will be sustainable across several best-of-five matches in New York, but Wawrinka, who has now won six of his last seven matches, believes in his game and craves the opportunity to prove that he still can make magic on the tennis court.

Anyone who watched him finish off Tiafoe in 78 swift minutes on Wednesday night in Cincinnati would not disagree - maybe the summer of Stan is here again...


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