The Swiss had seen some great times at the top 5 ranks of the ATP tour, but injuries had caused his demise of playing high caliber tournaments. He had crawled his way back to a now No. 17 ranking but this year was plagued with tangibles, many he couldn’t control.
Hugo Gaston, might have been one of them. Despite his ranking of No. 239, Hugo Gaston just 20 years old and a home town guy from Toulouse, France started off as a big winner. Wawrinka has won the French 5 years ago and with a heavy resume of 16 titles and 3 grand slam crowns, he wasn’t able to stop the young Frenchman on a rampage to look good and win among the French fans.
Stan Wawrinka had reached the QF of the Aus Open but fell hard in 4 sets to Zverev
The Swiss had again felt defeat at the Mexican Open in the hands of Grigor Dimitrov in another quarter final that didn’t go Wawrinka’s way.
The Swiss would decide to go the Challenger route to sharpen his skills and was fortunate to win the Prague Challenger adding to his confidence that he still ‘was the man’ But things resorted to gloomy when he lost in the first round in Rome to Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti.
Wawrinka decided not to travel to New York to play Cincinnati or the U.S. Open, so Paris was his chance of perhaps seeing how far he could go since 5 years ago. Then he came into contact with the unlikely skills of Hugo Gaston.
The young Frenchman hadn’t any luck either in his forte of Challenger tournaments and not much event play because of the Pandemic’s hiatus so this was his chance at proving himself too. He did by defeating the iconic Swiss 2-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.
“This is a dream…I just tried to play my game and somehow I won. Everything went well.” Wawrinka did well in the opening set winning 6-2 which was a huge confidence booster, but the 2nd set, Gaston snapped back with excellent serves, good rallies, and dynamic strategies.
He’d kept being consistent and was good on opening up the court, passing down the line and just a tennis lesson Stan couldn’t deal with. There was a reprieve for the Swiss who tried putting together more skills consistently and di win the fourth set.
He’d put it all out on the court and after three hours had not much left for the remaining set which he got bageled at. Gaston appreciated the fans, the bit that was left and made mention “thanks to these guys” as he pointed to the spectators.
Hugo Gaston was speechless and all he could do was give a big grin looking at the fans who supported him and say “Absolutely incredible” He’ll have to see how much is still fiery in his tank when he meets up with Dominc Thiem in the next round. It’s now that he feels glad he was able to do what he had to do in front of so man fellow Frenchman.