Stan Wawrinka

Rome, May 18 (IANS) Swiss World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka overcame a second-set hiccup to defeat Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 and booked a spot in the round of 16 of the Italian Open, a key tune-up event for Roland Garros.

Wawrinka on Wednesday converted one of the three break points he created and staved off Paire’s lone break opportunity to take the first set, but the Swiss three-time Grand Slam champion’s game went south in the second, reports Efe.

After winning 16 of his 18 first-serve points in the opener, Wawrinka won a shocking three of 11 points after putting his first serve in play in the second set, resulting in two breaks of serve.

The 32-year-old Wawrinka, however, righted the ship at the start of the third set to jump out to a 3-0 lead and secure the win in one hour and 42 minutes.

The third-seeded Swiss, whose victory was revenge for his loss to Paire last week at another elite clay-court event, the Madrid Open, will next take on big-serving American John Isner.

Most of the other favoured men’s players also notched victories on Wednesday, with No. 4 seed and seven-time champion Rafael Nadal, fifth-seeded Milos Raonic, seventh-seeded Kei Nishikori and eighth-seeded Dominic Thiem all advancing to Thursday’s round of 16.

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