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Friday May 4, 2012

Estoril Open: Wawrinka and Gasquet ease into third round despite rain

ESTORIL: Swiss third seed Stanislas Wawrinka eased into the third round of the Estoril Open here on Wednesday recording a 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 win over Spaniard Ivan Navarro at a rain-hit Estadio Nacional.

The 22nd-ranked Wawrinka, seeded behind Juan Martin Del Potro and Frenchman Richard Gasquet here, needed one hour to get through the first set against a clay specialist ranked 232 and playing only his second ATP-level match of the season.

Gasquet, finalist here in 2007, enjoyed a trouble-free encounter in what was his first clay court match of the campaign with a 6-1, 6-1 rout of Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi.

Gasquet improved to 12-8 in 2012 after reaching four quarter-finals in the first two months of the year.

Take that: Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland returning a shot to Ivan Navaro of Spain during their match at the Estoril Open in Oeiras on Wednesday. —AFP

“It was a good result for me, I cannot complain. I’ve played a final here so I know about the conditions.

“The wind is not a problem for me, I don’t mind playing in it.

“I like to work with the wind and this was a good match to start.”

Wawrinka, twice a semi-finalist on clay this season and also reached the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals, had a really tough battle with Navarro in the first set on a day of blowing rain squalls and wind which lowered temperatures and made conditions heavy underfoot.

“It was tough conditions today with the wind and rain,” said Wawrinka.

“My opponent had some experience here as he had come from qualifying.

“It was a tough first round but tone that I’m happy I won. I won the tough first set and then started to play a lot better in the second.

“I won the match and that’s the most important thing. You just have to accept the conditions no matter what they are and focus on every point.”

Wawrinka went down a break, 2-4 in the first set but got it straight back before winning a tiebreaker where Navarro saved four set points.

In the second set, the 27-year-old Swiss ran away with the victory in less than 90 minutes with six aces against an opponent whose only victory over him came nine years ago at the entry Futures level.

In the women’s tournament, top seed Roberta Vinci of Italy dispatched Portuguese hope Maria Joao Koehler 6-2, 6-0 but Italy’s Karin Knapp upset second seed Maria Kirilenko 1-6, 6-1, 7-5. — AFP

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