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By Chris Oddo | Thursday January 18, 2018

 
Stan Wawrinka

Brutal heat and a pesky Tennys Sandgren combined to bounce former champion Stan Wawrinka out of the draw on Day 4 in Melbourne.

Photo Source: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Stan Wawrinka’s comeback bid was ended prematurely on Day 4 of the Australian Open as the former champion was defeated by American Tennys Sandgren, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.

Wawrinka, playing in his first event since undergoing offseason knee surgery, was unable to match the intensity that he displayed in his first-round victory over Ricardas Berankis on Day 2, but he came away with a sense of satisfaction nonetheless.

“Never easy to feel that way on the court,” he said. “But I need to be still positive. I think the last 12 days was more than what I could have dream coming here. I really came without thinking I will be able to play the first match. That's a big step for me.”

Sandgren notched the biggest win of his career and reached the third round at a major for the first time. “To come out of it with a victory, it's a huge deal for me, a huge deal for me, and something that if I don't ever get another accomplishment, I can at least hang my hat on this one, I think,” Sandgren said. “For me personally, that's really cool.”

World No.97 had fallen in both his previous appearances at Grand Slam main draws. He advances to face Maximillian Marterer of Germany. Marterer upset Fernando Verdasco on Day 4.

The American showed a lot of respect for Wawrinka after the match, which saw Wawrinka struggle physically but never pull the plug. “I know he's going through some tough things physically,” Sandgren said. “I've been there. It's not easy. It's really difficult. I wish him all the best and hoping that he can return back to full form and top, top level, because we know what that looks like.”

Despite the loss, Wawrinka remains upbeat about his progress and his chances at getting back to top form later this season.

“I'm sure if I look really what happened the last 12 days, I can build a lot of confidence for the next few months because every day I was improving,” Wawrinka said. “Even today my knee was feeling way better than two days ago. If I look the big picture, I know it's really positive.”

 

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