Rotterdam: Stan Wawrinka benefitted from a Benoit Paire collapse, with the Swiss carving out a 7-6(7/4), 6-1 win Monday at the Rotterdam Open tennis tournament.
After fighting through a 45-minute first set the 33-year-old Wawrinka needed just 26 more minutes to salt away the first round victory as the moody Paire had unleashed a trademark racquet smash after dropping the opening set.
The frustrated 58th-ranked Frenchman made little effort in the second set, phoning it in with apparent disinterest as Wawrinka took complete charge.
Breaking four times on his way into the second round, Wawrinka set up a date against either Milos Raonic, who beat him in four tie-break sets at the Australian Open, or German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
“It’s tough to play a friend whose game you know so well,” Wawrinka said of Paire. “I didn’t start well, but I lifted my level and got better and better. I’m happy to win this match.”
The field here is headed by Asia’s top player, Kei Nishikori of Japan, who opens in his tournament debut Tuesday against Montpellier finalist Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France.
In other first-round results on Monday, Italian veteran Andreas Seppi outlasted Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 7-6(7/3), 3-6, 6-2 while Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin beat Dutchman Robin Haase, a quarter-finalist here in 2018.