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Wawrinka ready for Khachanov after battling past Bedene

17 September 2018 22:35

Stan Wawrinka battled to a straight-sets win over Aljaz Bedene on Monday to set up a St Petersburg Open second-round meeting with Karen Khachanov.

The Swiss, on his first outing since a third-round loss to Milos Raonic at the US Open, advanced 7-5 7-6 (7-5) in a hard-fought encounter.

Wawrinka, a three-time major champion, has dropped to 88th in the world due to injury woe and found himself a break down midway through the opening set.

But a fine forehand winner set up two break-back points in game 10 and he converted the second as Bedene went long before the Swiss harnessed the momentum as another passing shot on the forehand side secured him the set.

Wawrinka rescued four break points in the second to force a tie-break where, at 5-5, Bedene made a pair of forehand errors to send his opponent through to a clash with fourth seed Khachanov, who was given a first-round bye.

"I'm really happy to be back," said Wawrinka, a runner-up at the tournament two years ago. "I'm happy to play again here, it's a great tournament. I love the city and I'm happy with the first win.

"[Khachanov] is a very good player, he's improved a lot. He's young, it'll be a tough match for sure, he's a strong player playing hard from the baseline, I expect a tough match."

Monday's other match in St Petersburg saw Martin Klizan see off Evgeny Donskoy 6-4 6-4.

At the Moselle Open, Ricardas Berankis overcame Maximilian Marterer in three sets before lucky loser Yannick Maden made the most of Philipp Kohlschreiber's withdrawal to dump out 2010 losing finalist Mischa Zverev 7-5 4-6 6-1.

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