Rusty Wawrinka dumped out in Dubai upset
Holder Stan Wawrinka was sensationally dumped out of the Dubai Tennis Championships yesterday, when the Swiss three-time Grand Slam winner was beaten 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in the first round by outsider Damir Dzumhur.
Wawrinka was playing for the first time since suffering a right-knee injury at the Australian Open a month ago, where he reached his eighth major semi-final before falling to Roger Federer.
Following defeat by Dzumhur, he admitted that his fitness was lacking after only a week of practice.
"I started well, but it was tough because I was missing a little bit something," the world No. 3 said.
"In practice it was starting to be OK the last few days but, today, I was missing something."
Dzumhur made the most of his Dubai debut to advance to the next round where the 77th-ranked journeyman from Bosnia & Herzegovina will meet Marcel Granollers of Spain.
The loss was the third from 10 matches this season for Wawrinka.
After taking an early lead, Wawrinka found his game slipping. By the time he got the first-set tiebreak, he was playing catch-up.
The second seed was broken twice for 5-1 in the second set before a brief rally in which he broke back once.
Despite his exit, Wawrinka said that his knee was giving him no pain, a positive sign heading into back-to-back Masters 1000 events starting next week in Indian Wells and Miami.
"I need to focus on myself. I need to practise more, to get to a better level to get some good results," Wawrinka said.
"I'm quite unhappy to lose the first round. It's tough, because I played well here last year. I was happy to be back on the ATP Tour after a month.
"I was excited and wanted to do well. However the result is not there but, in general, it's positive for my tennis."
Elsewhere, Evgeny Donskoy beat fellow Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 6-4 to set up a match with Federer, who showed few signs of rust against Benoit Paire on Monday, after a month off following his Australian Open heroics.
FED HAPPY WITH START
Federer outclassed the Frenchman 6-1, 6-3 in what was his first match since winning an 18th Grand Slam in January in Melbourne against Rafael Nadal.
The timeless Swiss, who had been unsure of his form and fitness following the lay-off and a leg injury, is yet to lift an eighth title at any event having achieved seven in Dubai, Wimbledon, Basel, Cincinnati and at Halle.
"I'm happy with how I played, I was able to stay aggressive," the 35-year-old said.
"I couldn't have had a better first-round start. There were some break-points to be saved and I returned very well for a first round.
"The serve in the beginning was a bit off maybe but, playing at night here for the first time, it's always just a different ball when you toss it up with the lights.
"So that's going to get better as I progress in the tournament." - AFP