Wawrinka battles back at Shanghai Masters | sports | Hindustan Times
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Wawrinka battles back at Shanghai Masters

sports Updated: Oct 10, 2011 11:58 IST
Stanislas Wawrinka

Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka fought back to reach the second round of the Shanghai Masters on Sunday with Germany's Florian Mayer the only other winner on the opening night of action in the main draw.

Wawrinka, for many years the "understudy" to more illustrious compatriot Roger Federer, beat Argentina's Juan Monaco 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in a tough first-round encounter under lights at the Qi Zhong Tennis Centre.

The Swiss 13th seed was broken three times in the first set as Monaco, a member of the Argentinian team that beat Novak Djokovic's Serbia in last month's Davis Cup semi-finals, capitalised on his erratic form.

But Wawrinka, who has been ranked as high as number nine, turned the tables on his opponent in the second set, forcing three breaks of his own as he levelled the contest.

Wawrinka is at 20th in the world rankings, seven places above Monaco. And he raced to a 5-0 lead in the third set, surviving a late wobble to seal the set and the match.

Earlier, 15th seed Mayer crushed Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-0, 6-2 in just 48 minutes in front of a sparse crowd.

In a one-sided contest, Mayer allowed his dispirited opponent just five points in the first set and barely let up in the second, breaking twice to seal an emphatic victory.

The 28-year-old German, who won his first title in Bucharest earlier this year, kept an iron grip on the match, with out-of-sorts Fognini hurling his racket towards his chair after slumping to 2-5 in the second set.

Shanghai Masters pull-outs from Djokovic and Federer have deprived the tournament of a four-way battle between the "Big Four", with Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray now hot favourites to meet in the final.

Britain's Murray came from a set down against Spanish world number two Nadal on Sunday to win the Japan Open. Both players have a bye into the second round in Shanghai.

World number one Djokovic withdrew from Shanghai after failing to recover from a troublesome back injury, while 16-time Grand Slam winner Federer earlier decided to skip the tournament to rest and deal with nagging injury problems.

The Big Four have already qualified for the year-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London as the season enters its final stretch but there are still four other berths up for grabs for the showpiece event.