Chennai: Gunning for a hat-trick of titles, defending champion Stan Wawrinka registered a clinical straight sets win over qualifier Andrey Rublev of Russia to storm into the quarterfinals of the Aircel Chennai Open here, here today.
Wawrinka, world ranked fourth, 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 Chennai Open continued as he combined with compatriot N Sriram Balaji to knock out fourth seeded Kiwi pair of Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniel to storm 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.
It was the same Kiwi team that had beaten the Indian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Saketh Myneni in last year's Davis Cup Asia/Oceania second round.
Ramkumar had yesterday shocked world number 98 Daniel Gimero-Traver 6-2 6-0 in his singles first round.
Ramkumar, who trains in Spain and Balaji, who trains in Germany came back well after losing the first set, in which they lost serve twice. Ramkumar was broken in the second game while Balaji in eighth.
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 in 90 minutes.
Considered as a most improved youngster on the circuit, Coric compensated for his few unforced errors with his booming serves as he took the first set with a break in the seventh game.
The American fought much better in the second but Coric had every answer to his challenge. It was tight but Coric got the decisive break in 11th game and sealed the match in the next game.
Later in the evening, fifth seeded Spaniard Garcia Lopez took 85 minutes to beat qualifier Ante Pavic of Crotia 7-6(5) 6-1, while third seeds Oliver Marach of Austraia and Fabric Matin of France got ther better of Great Britain's Aljaz Bedene and Treat Huey of Phillipines 4-6 6-4 10-5 in a doubles opening round match.
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, who accounted for Somdev Devvarman in the first round, started off well and matched Wawrinka through his effective serves in the first set.
But Wawrinka waited for his chances and 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.
Wawrinka closed down the second set in much lesser time to achieve a straight sets win with breaks in the first and sixth games to pocket the set and the match.
After the win, Wawrinka said he is now focussing on his next game and not thinking about a hat-trick of titles here.
Asked whether second seed Anderson's withdrawal from the tournament had made things easier for him, Wawrinka said: "Not at all. The quarter finals are coming up so before thinking about the title, I need to think of it."
"When I enter a tournament I look at who is at the opposite side. I look at who I am going to play in next match.
I am happy with my career, specially in the last 3 years, I am winning some big titles."
In a late night match, Indian wild card entrants Somdev Devvarman and Jeevan Nedunchezhian played their hearts out to register a come-from-behind win over Monroe Nicholas of USA and Podlipink-Castillo Hans of Chile 4-6 6-3 10-5 in 78 minutes.
American Austin Krajicek also also won his doubles match pairing up with Benoit Paire of France. They got the better of Betov Sergey of Belarus and Russian Elgin Mikhail 6-7(2) 6-4 15-13.
In the third singles match on the centre court, fourth seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain defeated John Millman of Australia 6-4 6-1.
Published Date: Jan 07, 2016 10:22 am | Updated Date: Jan 07, 2016 10:22 am