Tennis: Wawrinka prevails in tricky Rotterdam opener

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FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Second Round – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 17, 2019. Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in action during the match against Canada’s Milos Raonic. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) – Three-times Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka recovered from a sluggish start to beat Frenchman Benoit Paire 7-6(4) 6-1 in the opening round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam on Monday.

Wawrinka, who suffered a first round loss in Sofia last week, made another shaky start as he sprayed consecutive backhand errors to hand Paire a break in the seventh game.

However, the 33-year-old Swiss produced relentless accuracy from the baseline to save three set points before clinching the opening set in tiebreak.

Wawrinka, who is chasing his first title since undergoing two knee surgeries in 2017, lost just one more game at the start of the second set as he broke his opponent three consecutive times en route to victory.

The winner of Tuesday’s clash between fourth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic and German Philipp Kohlschreiber awaits 68th-ranked Wawrinka in the second round.

Earlier in the day, Italian Andreas Seppi overcame a mid-match blip against German Peter Gojowczyk to prevail 7-6(3) 3-6 6-2, while Mikhail Kukushkin did not drop his serve in a 6-2 7-6(4) win over home favorite Robin Haase.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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