Wawrinka opens title defense with quickfire win

Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:05am EST
 
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Coming back to the Australian Open as defending champion has felt surreal at times for Stan Wawrinka but the Swiss fourth seed was all business in his first-round thrashing of Turkish trailblazer Marsel Ilhan.

Already appearing jaded by the media attention in the leadup, the 29-year-old Wawrinka was keen to break the seal on his title defense and was a man in a hurry as he despatched Ilhan 6-1 6-4 6-2 in a tick under 90 minutes on a warm and windy day at Rod Laver Arena.

It may have been an even quicker kill if Wawrinka had not turned the match into an impromptu training session halfway through.

"I'm focused on winning the match. But in the second set I was trying a little bit to be more aggressive, trying a few things that I do maybe more in the practice," the hard-hitting Swiss told reporters.

Wawrinka will next play either accomplished Spaniard Pablo Andujar or Romanian qualifier Marius Copil.

The only solace either might take from a video review of Wawrinka's match was the Swiss battling to land more than half his first serves.

Barring that, it was a routine thrashing of a high seed against a 100th-ranked journeyman, with 34 crisply-struck winners singing off the Swiss's racquet.

Uzbekistan-born Ilhan became his country's first player in singles at a grand slam when he broke into the main draw at the 2009 U.S. Open and he remains the only Turk to have done so.   Continued...

 
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland hits a return to Marsel Ilhan of Turkey during their men's singles first round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 20, 2015. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha