Stan Wawrinka got the better of his good friend Benoit Paire in a match of power-hitting on Monday night at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.
Wawrinka, the 2015 champion, was ultimately more consistent, saving three set points in the first set en route to a 7-6(4), 6-1 victory in 71 minutes. He will next face fourth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic or Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.
Paire broke serve for a 4-3 advantage, courtesy of consecutive groundstroke errors from Wawrinka, but the Swiss wild card saved a set point with an ace two games later at 30/40. Two further opportunities went begging for Paire on serve at 5-4 — a backhand error, and a clever play by Wawrinka that opened up the court for a winner.
In the tie-break, Wawrinka stepped inside the baseline to gain the momentum. After losing the opening game of the second set, he won the next six games to close out the match.
Other first-round matches on Monday saw Andreas Seppi survive a mid-match surge from qualifier Peter Gojowczyk to prevail 7-6, 3-6, 6-2, while Mikhail Kukushkin didn't drop serve in his 6-2, 7-6(4) win over home favourite Robin Haase.
The final match on Monday's order of play features No. 9 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili against 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung. . read full article