Thu, Aug 09, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Wawrinka rallies, Djokovic triumphs

CAREER SUPREMACY:Maria Sharapova quickly beat Sesil Karatantcheva to remain undefeated against the Bulgarian in five meetings since their first as teenagers

AFP, TORONTO and LOS ANGELES

Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka prepares to return to France’s Kristina Mladenovic in their Rogers Cup women’s singles first-round match in Montreal, Canada, on Tuesday.

Photo: AFP

Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic on Tuesday reached the second round of the Rogers Cup, with both men polishing their pre-US Open form.

Wawrinka put his comeback from knee surgery back on track with a 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 comeback win over Nick Kyrgios.

Wimbledon holder Djokovic eased to victory, beating Mirza Basic 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) after the Bosnian replaced original opponent Chung Hyeon of South Korea, who withdrew before the match with an injury.

A pair of Canadian teenagers advanced, with Denis Shapovalov dominating Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 6-4 while Shapovalovl’s good friend Felix Auger-Aliassime, who turned 18 yesterday, thrilled his home fans as he defeated Lucas Pouille of France 6-4, 6-3.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka put 16th seed Kyrgios out with an impressive display after losing a one-sided opening set.

Wawrinka has been struggling to find his best form since returning to the ATP Tour after two knee operations a year ago and has slumped to No. 195 in the world rankings.

“I’m looking for confidence. I’m looking for matches,” Wawrinka said. “I’m grateful I got the wild card to play directly in the main draw.”

“I knew it was going to be a tough match. Winning 1-6, 7-5, 7-5, it’s great for me. Any victory is good to get more confidence,” he said.

“I’m happy with the way I’m practicing. I’m really happy with the level and the way I’m moving on the practice court, and I need to find how to put it in the match,” he added.

Wawrinka’s victory in just more than two hours avenged a loss to Kyrgios in Canada in 2015, when the Swiss had to retire. That contest was also memorable for Kyrgios insulting his opponent’s girlfriend, Donna Vekic.

Kyrgios, with green fluorescent tape encircling each kneecap, quit injured in last week’s Washington quarter-finals, and he was treated in the second set in Toronto for his chronically troublesome hip.

Wawrinka, 33, broke late in the second set to level the match and completed his fightback on a second match point as he also broke in the 12th game of the decider.

“My hip is, obviously, a little bit sore. That’s why I called the trainer on the court. So it’s pretty self-explanatory,” Kyrgios said.

“It’s good to see Stan back, I guess. He’s obviously had a tough 12 months with his injury, and it’s good seeing him back winning some matches,” he added.

Djokovic, a four-time winner in Canada, double-faulted while serving for the match to slip into a second-set tiebreak, but he finished the job for a second-round spot.

“[I need] the consistency of playing on a high level match after match; I haven’t had that post-surgery for several months,” Djokovic said. “I was struggling to play two or three matches in a row consistently well. So that has changed and obviously feels good.”

Djokovic won in 90 minutes with nine aces. He now stands 36-6 at the event and next plays Canada’s Peter Polansky.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori lost serve five times in a 7-5, 6-1 loss to Robin Haase of the Netherlands.

His defeat was the third in three matches for Japanese players after less than two days of play.

Russian Karen Khachanov reached the second round at the expense of Serb Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-2, while American Sam Querrey beat Adrian Mannarino of France 6-2, 7-5.

American Frances Tiafoe defeated Italy’s Marco Cecchinato 7-6 (7/3), 6-1, while Greek rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas accounted for Damir Dzumhur 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) and 14th seed Fabio Fognini, winner of two of his past three tournaments, beat American Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-4.

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