There does seem to be a changing of the guard in men’s tennis, and one of the great players of the previous generation, Stan Wawrinka, could be making his last appearance at a US Open on Monday.
The 38-year-old from Switzerland hasn’t indicated that he will retire in the immediate future, but given his age and injury history, there’s a decent chance that this is the last time that Wawrinka will play in front of the New York crowd.
Wawrinka, who won the 2016 US Open, is a -210 favorite over Yoshihito Nishioka on Tuesday.
Stan Wawrinka vs. Yoshihito Nishioka prediction
If this is Wawrinka’s last hurrah, he’s certainly going out in decent style.
The three-time Grand Slam champion has won 12 of his last 18 matches and is only about a month removed from making it to the finals at the Croatia Open.
And even though that tournament is played on clay, it’s a big deal that Wawrinka was not only able to stay fit for a deep run at an ATP event but back it up with a couple of wins over tough opposition (Frances Tiafoe, Brandon Nakashima) at the Cincinnati Masters.
Wawrinka can beat anybody on the ATP Tour on his day in good form and health.
But his opponent on Tuesday is a tricky puzzle to solve.
While Nishioka has struggled in his career at the US Open, he’s made it to the Round of 16 in two of the three Grand Slams this year (Australian Open and Roland Garros) and has the game to punch above his weight in best-of-5 tennis.
Wawrinka’s attacking arsenal could be too much for Nishioka at times in this match, but Nishioka won’t go away, making this a complicated hurdle for the Swiss, given his age.
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Wawrinka will want to keep points short and not let Nishioka get a foothold in this match, but the Japanese is an expert at doing just that.
Ultimately, I think Wawrinka proves too much to handle for Nishioka, but this match has marathon potential.
The Bet: Over 38.5 games (-115, BetMGM)
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