CRUISE FOR WAWRINKA

Swiss con­tin­ues dom­i­na­tion over Kohlschreiber

New Straits Times - - Sport -

THIRD-SEEDED Stan Wawrinka con­tin­ued his dom­i­nance of Philipp Kohlschreiber, rolling past the Ger­man 7-5, 6-3 on Mon­day to reach the fourth round of the ATP In­dian Wells Mas­ters.

Wawrinka recorded his fifth vic­tory over Kohlschreiber in as many meet­ings in a per­for­mance that left him cau­tiously en­cour­aged about his prospects of mak­ing it past the quar­ter-fi­nals in the Cal­i­for­nia desert for the first time.

“It was a re­ally good match,” said Wawrinka, who owns three Grand Slam ti­tles but has won just one of the tour’s cov­eted Mas­ters ti­tles.

“The first set was not easy, for sure, but in gen­eral I’m happy with my game. I was serv­ing well. I think I’m mov­ing bet­ter and bet­ter and it’s all pos­i­tive so far.”

A break in each set was enough for Wawrinka, who didn’t face a break point him­self as he ad­vanced to a meet­ing with lucky loser Yoshi­hito Nish­ioka of Ja­pan, who staged a re­mark­able rally to get past 13th-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 1-6, 7-6 (75), 6-4.

The 21-year-old from Mie saved a match point against his own serve in the 10th game of the sec­ond set.

Af­ter Nish­ioka forced the de­ci­sive set by win­ning the tiebreaker, the two traded breaks to open the third be­fore Nish­ioka broke for a 2-1.

Al­though Berdych saved one match point in the ninth game, Nish­ioka closed it out in the next with a love game to reach the fourth round of a Mas­ters tour­na­ment for the first time.

“It’s go­ing to be in­ter­est­ing. I’ve never prac­ticed with him, so it’s go­ing to be the first time we go­ing to be against each other.”

Wawrinka is the high­es­tranked player re­main­ing in the top half of the draw.

With su­per­stars No­vak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Fed­erer all jammed into the bot­tom quar­ter of the draw, Wawrinka’s path looks wide open.

But the Swiss said he didn’t think of it that way.

“It’s not like I have been in a lot of semi-fi­nals, fi­nals in Mas­ters 1000,” he said. “So I need to fo­cus on ev­ery match.”

Eighth-seeded Aus­trian Do­minic Thiem pow­ered into the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-4 vic­tory over Ger­many’s Mis­cha Zverev.

World No 9 Thiem, rid­ing high af­ter win­ning the ATP ti­tle in Rio in Fe­bru­ary, had lit­tle trouble from Zverev’s serve-and-vol­ley style.

Thiem next faces 10th-seeded Gael Mon­fils, who dis­patched Amer­i­can John Is­ner 6-2, 6-4 in just 68 min­utes.

Else­where, Vasek Pospisil was un­able to build on the best win of his ca­reer fall­ing to fel­low qual­i­fier Du­san La­jovic 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 7-5 just two days af­ter top­pling Andy Mur­ray. AFP

AFP PIC

Stanis­las Wawrinka win­ning his match against Philipp Kohlschreiber on Mon­day.

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