Stan Wawrinka is up and running at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
Making his 18th appearance in Rome, the former World No. 3 moved past Ilya Ivashka 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday at the ATP Masters 1000 event to reach the second round for the 13th time.
The 38-year-old was in control throughout the 78-minute clash on Center Court. The Swiss took large cuts at the ball off both wings to strike 26 winners and saved the one break point he faced to earn his 12th tour-level win of the season.
“I was ready for it. I am playing well. It was a good first match and I am really happy to get through again,” Wawrinka said. “I have been working hard to get to this level. This year I am playing much better, but I need to win more matches. That is what I am missing a bit, the confidence to win more matches. But in general the level is great.”
Wawrinka, who is the oldest player in the Rome draw, is making his 119th appearance at an ATP Masters 1000 event this week, tying him for the seventh most. His best result in Rome came in 2008, when he fell against Novak Djokovic in the final.
After levelling his ATP Head2Head series against Ivashka at 1-1, Wawrinka will next face Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.
In other action, Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry set a second-round meeting against Novak Djokovic after he defeated #NextGenATP Frenchman Luca Van Assche 7-6(7), 6-3.
Etcheverry, who is making his debut in Rome, rallied from 0-3 in the second set to triumph after two hours and five minutes. Earlier this season, the 23-year-old reached tour-level finals on clay in Santiago and Houston.
Sebastian Baez also advanced, defeating Juan Pablo Varillas 7-5, 6-3, while Marton Fucsovics downed Filip Krajinovic 6-4, 6-2.