Wawrinka tested in 2-hour tussle with Youzhny

Toronto (Canada)—Stanislas Wawrinka had to pass a stern test lasting two hours before emerging with a 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (10/8) victory over Mikhail Youzhny for a third-round berth at the Toronto Masters.
The second-seeded two-time Grand Slam champion was joined in the third round on Tuesday by fifth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych, who dispatched Croatian Borna Coric 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the only other second-round match of the day.
Berdych was caught on the back foot in his opening set against Coric, with the Croatian losing a mere four points on serve.
But Berdych found his game in the second set, winning five straight games to squeeze into a deciding third set where he prevailed.
Wawrinka and savvy 34-year-old Youzhny last played in 2010, with the Russian winning their last two meetings from a set down at Miami and the US Open.
Youzhny again proved to be a tough customer, missing a chance to take the contest to a third set but forcing Wawrinka into errors on two match points before the Swiss put it away on this third.
In first-round action, Gael Monfils followed up his first tournament title in more than two years by barrelling through to victory. The flamboyant Frenchman, seeded 10th and fresh off his triumph in Washington, defeated Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-3. He’s hoping this week to improve on his best Canadian result, a quarter-final run in 2011.
Monfils, who defeated big-serving Croatian Ivo Karlovic in the final in Washington on Sunday, said conditions are changed in Toronto.
“I think the court is slower here. It’s for sure less humidity and a little bit colder,” he said. “The balls are flying more. It’s quite a big change, actually.”
Monfils notched his 30th match win of the season to open his campaign at the tournament that is the last before the Rio Olympics.
The often-injured Monfils said that he had just heard the news that Roger Federer’s 2016 season was over, as the Swiss great will miss Rio and the US Open rehabbing a knee injury. “We all have these (injuries),” Monfils said. “For sure we use our knee very, very, very much. Every surface, every court.”—AFP

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