Cuevas Dismisses Former Champion Wawrinka
The Uruguayan faces No. 11 seed Lucas Pouille in the quarter-finals.
Pablo Cuevas joined Albert Ramos-Vinolas as a giant killer at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Thursday when the Uruguayan No. 16 seed did not face a break point in dispatching Stan Wawrinka, the third seed and 2014 champion.
Barely 90 minutes after Andy Murray had exited the Monte-Carlo Country Club, Cuevas recorded his first victory over a member of the Top 4 in the Emirates ATP Rankings (1-4) when he put Wawrinka to the sword in a stunning 6-4, 6-4 victory.
Cuevas, who picked up his sixth ATP World Tour title at the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo (d. Ramos-Vinolas) last month, produced a string of winners and rarely got pressed behind the baseline in his first meeting against Wawrinka. Cuevas converted his third break point opportunity in the third game, then broke Wawrinka once more in the first game of the second set. He calmly closed out his fourth Top 10 win with a forehand winner to end a dramatic 76-minute encounter.
“He played really well and is a really good player, tough to play, especially on clay,” said Wawrinka. “He played [on clay in] February already, so he has his game ready for the clay. On my side, it wasn't the best match. I was a little bit slow today - heavy legs. Not moving the best. I've been working hard since the beginning of the clay doing fitness with tennis. For sure, I'm disappointed because I wanted to play better and make a better result here.”
Cuevas will next challenge French No. 11 seed Lucas Pouille for the first time. Pouille advanced when leading 3-0 against compatriot Adrian Mannarino, who retired with a hip injury sustained after his victory over seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Tuesday.
“I prepared as if I was going to play a normal match, a full match,” said Pouille. “But after the first rallies, I realised immediately that there was a problem. I thought he would try something. This is what happened. He started hitting hard, trying for strange shots. But it's difficult when you can't move, and you have to play only with your arm."