Stanislas Wawrinka, a late bloomer in tennis terms, shocked the tennis community earlier this year with an outstanding performance down under, at the Australian Open. He put his talent on display beating World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in a thrilling four set final. His road to the final boasted victories over three other top 20 players, including World No.2, Novak Djokovic and World No. 7 Thomas Berdych. Wawrinka has continued to display his form since then holding onto his career high No. 3 spot for 2 months.
However, today he was no match for his younger opponent in the World No. 23 Alexandr Dolgopolov. Wawrinka, 28 years of age, was beaten 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 by the 25 year old Ukrainian. Wawrinka hitting under 50% of first serves in, 42 unforced errors, and 7 double faults. Those numbers combined with a total of 42 unforced errors for the match, make for a pretty tough day at the office for the 28 year old.
Dolgopolov has been displaying some fine form recently, winning though to the Semi-finals at Indian Wells just under two weeks ago. On his push to the Semis, he posted some impressive wins over three top 20 players, including World. No 1 Rafael Nadal.
Dolgopolov will take on World No.7 Thomas Berdych in the quarter-finals.
David Ferrer has been around the game for a very long time, however, he recently reached his career high ranking of World No.3 in late 2013, and is currently sitting at No.4 in the ATP Rankings. The Spaniard, playing his best tennis after celebrating his 30th birthday, is another late bloomer sitting high up in the rankings. Nevertheless, his experience wasn't enough to hold off his up and coming opponent, Japanese superstar, Kei Nishikori, losing 7-6, 2-6, 7-6.
Ferrer's opponent, World No. 21 Kei Nishikori has proven that he is in good form this year also, winning an ATP 250 event in Memphis, and reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open earlier in the year. Todays impressive performance against No.4 David Ferrer, is Nishikori's first win inside the Top 10 so far this year.
Kei Nishikori, will face World No. 5 Roger Federer in the quarter-finals.
These two up and coming players have both made an impressive start to the year, and have proven, once again, at the Sony Open, Miami, that they can compete with the Top 10 players in the world. While, personally, I remain somewhat doubtful that they will continue their runs in Miami, I expect that I'm not the only one predicting to see these two climb the rankings even further, here in 2014 and beyond.