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Wawrinka Upset By Garcia-Lopez, Returns To Drawing Board

Paris, France

Wawrinka © Getty ImagesStan Wawrinka makes his earliest Roland Garros exit since 2006.

World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, contesting his first major as a Grand Slam champion, bowed out in the first-round match against Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez at Roland Garros.

Garcia-Lopez broke the Swiss eight times from 12 opportunities, finishing the match with a flourish, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0. Wawrinka, a quarter-finalist last year in Paris (l. to Nadal), committed 62 unforced errors to 28 for the victor.

"I was trying to find my game, trying to find to be aggressive, trying to find anything, and I didn't," said Wawrinka, who became the first reigning Australian Open champion to bow out in the first round of Roland Garros since Petr Korda in 1998.

"It's a tough loss, for sure," he added. "I'm sad, but maybe it's going to be very positive the rest of my season. Maybe it will put my ideas in the right place, and maybe it will give me answers to the questions I have for the rest of my season, for the rest of my career."

Wawrinka had opened the European clay-court swing by winning the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title (d. Federer), but was unable to carry his form through the spring season. He followed with a loss in his second-round opener at the Mutua Madrid Open (l. to Thiem) and a third-round exit at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia (l. to Haas).

"Everything goes so fine when I practise that I'm probably too demanding during the match, and I'm not happy when there are some small things not going the way I want them to go," he reflected. "As I want to play better, I want to progress, I want to do better. Sometimes that's negative for my game thinking about all these small things."

Watch Garcia-Lopez vs. Wawrinka Highlights (Courtesy: French Tennis Federation)

Though Wawrinka has a perfect 6-0 mark against the Top 10 this season, including wins over Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, he stated that he had yet to reach their status and consistency.

"I've had ups and downs," he admitted. "That's why I'm saying I am not at the level of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, because they have been around for many years, and they win everything. I know I'll have the level.  I could defeat them, but it's different.

"I need to put the puzzle back together, find solutions, because the pressure is different. I'm not saying I have more pressure, but the pressure is different. My expectations are different."

Garcia-LopezWorld No. 41 Garcia-Lopez recorded his 11th career win over a Top 10 opponent (11-33) and his second of the season. Garcia-Lopez upset a fifth-ranked Tomas Berdych in the third round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, extending his clay-court winning streak to eight matches including his Casablanca triumph (d. Granollers).

"This match is very illustrative of the season I just had," he said. "I'm very relaxed, and matches go very well. I think I'm not as overwhelmed by emotions as I used to be, and that's the way I would talk about my season so far. I play my game at my level. I fight on every point. 

"I had my foot on the accelerator 80 per cent, and when you play this kind of player, they try and destabilise you, but he did not manage because I felt very strong today. And I think at the end of the day what made him lose is that he was not so strong mentally, whereas I felt very comfortable."

The 30-year-old Spaniard, who is making his 11th tournament appearance, will look to match his best Roland Garros result when he next faces Adrian Mannarino. The Frenchman advanced earlier in the day with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 win over Chinese Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu.

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