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Sandgren Upsets Wawrinka At Australian Open

American Tennys Sandgren recorded the biggest win of his career on Thursday for a place in the Australian Open third round. The World No. 97 knocked out ninth seed and 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in 88 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.

“I was really happy just to get my first Grand Slam win, so now I’ve got a second,” said Sandgren in an on-court interview. “Let’s hope I can make it a third. I also wish Stan all the best on his road to recovery.”

Tennys Sandgren scored an upset victory against Stan Wawrinka at the 2018 Australian Open.
Sandgren lost in the first round of qualifying at the 2016 US Open, and was outside the Top 250 of the ATP Rankings. He would later watch Wawrinka win the title on television.

"I think it was at a bar. I was having a few beers," Sandgren said. "I was watching the tennis. That's insane, an inhuman level of tennis."

On Thursday, the 26-year-old Sandgren was across the net from the Swiss, after winning his first Grand Slam main draw match on Tuesday against Jeremy Chardy. The Tennessean began troubling Wawrinka almost immediately, playing with great composure and hitting 32 winners in his only his second stadium court appearance (also 2017 US Open vs. Cilic). At 2-2, the American won nine consecutive games to capture the first set and take a 5-0 lead in the second set en route to the first Top 10 win of his career.

"This would definitely be all the categories: biggest win, biggest moment of getting a victory, setting me up for the biggest stage to play third round of a slam, biggest opportunity. All those good things," Sandgren said. "It's something going into a tournament like this, you don't know if you'll get an opportunity or a look or even be able to take advantage of it. So to come out of it with a victory, it's a huge deal for me, a huge deal for me, and something that if I don't ever get another accomplishment, I can at least hang my hat on this one, I think. For me personally, that's really cool."

Ninth seed Wawrinka, who beat Ricardas Berankis in the first round on Tuesday, was contesting his first tournament since July 2017 at Wimbledon. The Swiss underwent two left knee surgeries last year.

"Matches like that I don't enjoy, that's for sure. Never easy to feel that way on the court. But I need to be still positive," Wawrinka said. "I think the last 12 days was more than what I could have dreamed coming here. I really came without thinking I will be able to play the first match. That's a big step for me. If I look really back, I only had surgery five months ago, five months and three days. To be that far already, it's more than what we could have expected with my team. For sure, today was extremely tough to feel that way on the court, to lose that way, even if he was playing well."

Wawrinka struggled with his movement, particularly when forced out wide, and clutched his left knee throughout the pair’s first meeting. Sandgren won 81 per cent of his first-service points (38/47) and struck 11 aces past Wawrinka, who only declared himself fit last weekend. The 32-year-old Wawrinka had his serve broken five times and committed 35 unforced errors.

"When you won three Grand Slams, you don't feel great on the court [playing] like [I did] today," Wawrinka said. "But I need to take what I can to be positive with everything, with the big picture. That's the most important."

Sandgren will next face Germany’s Maximilian Marterer, currently No. 92 in the ATP Rankings, who defeated 2009 semi-finalist Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3 in three hours and 27 minutes. Marterer won seven fewer total points than Verdasco (151-158) and hit 34 winners to 58 for the former World No. 7.

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