London: Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka made light work of Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the opening round of the Queen’s Club grasscourt tournament on Monday, winning 6-2 6-3.
The 33-year-old Swiss, ranked 261 in the world after two knee surgeries, served solidly throughout a one-sided contest on the slick centre court, easing past an opponent who struggled to cope with Wawrinka’s power.
Wawrinka needed just shy of half an hour to pocket the opener, breaking twice, and was hardly troubled in the second set as he set up a second round match against American fifth seed Sam Querrey who beat British wildcard Jay Clarke 6-3 6-3.
“In general (the knee) has been improving week after week,” Wawrinka, beaten in the first round of the French Open, said.
“Now I feel really good on court, strong physically.
“I will have ups and downs in the next months and need to be patient. You need to be ready to accept frustrating but today was a great day.”
Top seed Marin Cilic, runner-up at Wimbledon last year to Roger Federer, looked razor sharp as he came through a potentially tricky opener against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.
The 29-year-old Croat, champion at Queen’s in 2012, lost only four points on serve during a 6-3, 6-4 victory — his fourth in succession against Verdasco.
He will face Luxembourg’s grasscourt dangerman Gilles Muller next after he beat exciting Canadian shotmaker Denis Shapovalov 7-6(7) 7-6(6) in the day’s opening contest.
Shapovalov was left to rue his failure to convert a set point in the opener as he bowed out against the man who ended Rafael Nadal’s Wimbledon hopes last year.
(x indicates seed)
First round: Gilles Muller (LUX) bt Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (8/6)
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) bt Cameron Norrie (GBR) 6-2, 6-3
ATP tournament in Halle
Men (1st round)
Dominic Thiem (AUT x3) bt Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Yuichi Sugita (JPN) bt Maximilian Marterer (GER) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
Denis Kudla (USA) bt Lukas Lacko (SVK) 6-4, 6-4
Kei Nishikori (JPN x7) bt Matthias Bachinger (GER) 6-3, 7-6 (7/3)
Robin Haase (NED) bt Joco Sousa (POR) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
Roberto Bautista (ESP x4) bt Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-4, 6-1
WTA tournament in Birmingham
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) bt Katerina Siniakova (CZE) 1-6, 6-2, 6-4