Third seed and 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka will meet No. 16 seed Pablo Cuevas for a place in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters quarter-finals after the Swiss beat Jiri Vesely on Wednesday 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in 84 minutes for his 20th match win at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.
“Overall it was a good match, my first match on clay,” said Wawrinka. “The feeling was good. Winning in three sets means it was a good victory… I prepared well. Physically I'm fine, so we'll see what I can do… I know my level is good. If I'm able to improve, I might have a chance in this tournament.”
Wawrinka opened up a 3-0 lead in the first set and despite losing his serve in the fifth game, he went on to clinch the 26-minute opener. The right-hander could not convert two break point opportunities in the second game of the second set and paid the price as Vesely broke to love for a 4-3 lead.
While Vesely, who beat Novak Djokovic in the second round last year, held on for the set, it was one-way traffic for Wawrinka in the decider. The match ended when Vesely hit his fourth double fault of the pair’s second meeting (2014 US Open).
On facing Cuevas, Wawrinka said, “He's a great player, a tough player, especially on clay. He loves to play the clay. He always plays [the clay tournaments] in February. I’ve practised a few times with him. It’s never been easy, so it's going to be interesting match.”
Elsewhere, sixth seed Dominic Thiem lost just four of his first service points (25/29) in a comprehensive 6-3, 6-2 victory over Robin Haase for a third-round berth for the second straight year. Thiem goes on to face No. 10 seed David Goffin. Lucas Pouille, the French No. 11 seed, ensured huge cheers erupted around the grounds when he overcame Italian Paolo Lorenzi 6-2, 6-4 in 82 minutes.
Pablo Carreno Busta, the No. 13 seed, who finished runner-up to Thiem in the Rio de Janeiro final earlier this year, will play second seed and 2013/15 champion Novak Djokovic after he knocked out #NextGenATP Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-4 in 88 minutes.