Only one previous confrontation between these two players. It was last year in Basel, and Stan Wawrinka won in 3 sets. We remember that he Swiss had managed to create many opportunities (14 break points), without realizing many (only 2).
Stan Wawrinka knows this ATP 500 from Acapulco well. He has already participated 4 times between 2011 and 2019. He has only been eliminated once in the first round (in 2013 by Fognini) and has reached the quarter-finals 3 times (including last year). Finally, its best performance is a semi-final in 2012.
Frances Tiafoe, meanwhile, will play in this Mexican tournament for the third time in her career. He only managed to make it through the first round once last year, only to be knocked out in the next match.
Stan Wawrinka hasn’t played since his elimination in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. He has withdrawn from Montpellier and Rotterdam due to an adductor injury. All this to say that the Swiss might need a little time to get back on his feet and be at 100 per cent. Frances Tiafoe, who has just reached the quarter-finals in Delray Beach, could have a great card to play in this match.
Yet Stan Wawrinka is not used to going into a tournament and playing it with his feet up. If he makes sure he plays well, then I think he will make the effort. So I think this first round is very accessible for the Swiss.
Frances Tiafoe has been chasing her best for some time now. This season, he has won only one game against a Top 100 player (Tommy Paul, 70th, at Delray Beach). Physically well, it is rather mentally that he is not at the top. And this has a direct impact on the quality of his tennis. His serve is far from being efficient: he has difficulty flirting with the top 60%, and his seconds are at sh**. This makes him concede (too) many opportunities. So I have no doubt about Stan Wawrinka’s ability to go after him on his commitments.
Where Frances Tiafoe could be annoying the Swiss is in the backroom trading. He moves well and knows how to release an excellent (yet atypical) forehand which, I have no doubt, could allow him to gain some nice points. Once again, I think Stan Wawrinka will be able to play on his explosiveness to eat up his opponent’s time and make him even more doubtful.
Finally, a Stan Wawrinka victory is quite likely here. But let’s keep in mind that he’s coming back from injury and hasn’t played for over a month. So he might lose a few feathers in this match.
Prediction : Stan Wawrinka wins