Stan Wawrinka was made to fight for victory against Mikhail Kukushkin in Melbourne today as the summer of tennis continued ahead of next week’s Australian Open.
The Swiss 35-year-old, who won in Melbourne in 2014, lost the opening set against his Kazakh opponent but kept cool to fight back and win 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
“It felt okay. I’m happy to get the win and I’m ready to start a new tournament, a new year, especially after a few months out,” Wawrinka said,
He will play Australian Alex Bolt in the third round.
Britain’s Dan Evans, who had the best season of his career in 2020, also had a good day, beating Portugal’s Pedro Sousa 6-3 7-5 to set up a meeting with Canada’s Marcos Giron.
Australian James Duckworth upset French seventh seed Ugo Humbert and Italian teen sensation Jannik Sinner swept past Australia’s Aleksandar Vukic 6-2, 6-4 in the Great Ocean Road Open.
“The pressure is on, because I want to be there trying to win matches,” Sinner said.
“But I’m also trying to enjoy playing tennis. That’s the most important thing for me.”
2020 Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren was beate in three sets by Italy’s Salvatore Caruso 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 6-1.