Wawrinka starts off in style

Ramanathan-Balaji rally to storm into doubles quarterfinals

Wawrinka starts off in style

 Gunning for a hat-trick of titles, defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka registered a clinical straight sets win over qualifier Andrey Rublev of Russia to storm into the quarterfinals of the Aircel Chennai Open here on Wednesday.

Wawrinka hardly broke his sweat to prevail 6-3, 6-2 over his less-fancied opponent in the second round duel that lasted for just 52 minutes.

Earlier in the day, Ramkumar Ramanathan’s good run at the event continued as he combined with compatriot N Sriram Balaji to knock out fourth seeded Kiwi pair of Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniel and move into the doubles quarterfinals.

The wild card Indian pair came from behind to shock the seasoned New Zealand duo 2-6, 7-6 (5), 10-5 in the opening round. Ramkumar and Balaji came back well after losing the first set.

The Indians broke Marcus in the third game to go one-up in the second set but Ramkumar dropped serve in the eighth.

The scores were 5-5 in a neck-and-neck fight. They finally prevailed in the tie-breaker to stretch the match to Super Tie breaker.

In the deciding super tie break, the Indians led 4-2 and made it 8-4 before sealing the impressive win.

In the first match on center court today, 19-year-old Croat Borna Coric saw off the challenge of American Austin Krajicek 6-2, 7-5.

But the highlight of the day was Wawrinka’s match. The Swiss never showed any urgency playing his first match of the Olympic year and went about his task with full confidence.

Rublev started off well and matched Wawrinka through his effective serves in the first set. But Wawrinka excelled with a break in the sixth game to win the first set. In the second set, a focussed Wawrinka displayed all round game to score winners at will.

Results: (prefix denotes seeding): Men's Singles: Round 2: 4-Roberto Bautista (Esp) bt John Millman (Aus) 6-4, 6-1; 5-Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Esp) bt Ante Pavic (Cro) 7-6 (5), 6-1; 1-Stanislas Wawrinka (Swi) bt Andrey Rublev (Rus) 6-3, 6-2; 8-Borna Coric (Cro) bt Austin Krajicek (US) 6-2, 7-5.

Men’s Doubles (first round): Sriram Balaji (Ind)/ Ramkumar Ramanathan (Ind) bt Marcus Daniell (NZ)/ Artem Sitak (NZ) 2-6, 7-6, 10-5; Oliver Marach (Aut)/ Fabrice Martin (Fra) bt Aljaz Bedene (Eng)/ Treat Huey (Phi) 4-6, 6-4, 10-5.

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