HomeNewsSportsThird-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka, a two-time US Open semi-finalist

Third-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka, a two-time US Open semi-finalist

Third-seeded Swiss Stan Wawrinka, a two-time US Open semi-finalist, reached the second round at Flushing Meadows with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-4 win over Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.

Games went with serve in the opening set, with Wawrinka prevailing in a tie-break after 53 minutes.

The world number three made a crucial break to lead 2-1 in the second set, and that was all he needed to double his advantage in a match with few opportunities for either player.

The Spanish player tried everything to get back in the match, but it was Wawrinka who broke serve in the seventh game to go 4-3 up in the third set, and he went on to complete the win in two hours and 17 minutes.

Wawrinka’s first serve accuracy was just 49 per cent, but he took two of his five break points, while Verdasco failed to convert four chances over the three sets.

“I’m really happy,” Wawrinka said after evening his career record against Verdasco at three wins apiece.

“Fernando is a tough player to play. He can be really aggressive. He doesn’t give you so much rhythm, so it’s not easy.”

Kei Nishikori, the sixth seed — who became Asia’s first men’s Grand Slam finalist in New York when he fell to Marin Cilic in the 2014 final — also advanced, downing German Benjamin Becker 6-1, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

“It was a great feeling of course,” said Nishikori, whose breakthrough run in 2014 was followed by an abrupt first-round exit last year.

“I have great memories here and I always love coming back to New York.”

Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, advanced with a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) victory over fellow Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

The 27-year-old del Potro, almost pushed into retirement by three wrist surgeries, is back at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2013, earning a wild card invitation with a stirring run to an Olympic silver medal in Rio.

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