Two-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka dealt Fernando Verdasco a rare first-round loss at the US Open, sweeping aside the Spaniard in straight sets on Tuesday.
The third-seeded Swiss dominated the left-handed Verdasco with his punishing groundstrokes and solid service game to claim a measure of revenge with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 6-4 victory at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Verdasco, ranked 46th, had won 12 of his 13 previous first-round matches at Flushing Meadows.
Wawrinka, winner of last year’s French Open and the 2014 Australian Open, had trailed Verdasco 3-2 in head-to-head action after falling to the Spaniard in straight sets in the first round this year at Queen’s Club.
“I’m really happy. I think it was a great match, especially for the first round,” Wawrinka told reporters.
“You never expect to play your best game and (be) full of confidence, but I think the level was quite high.”
Wawrinka hit seven winners off his backhand among his 30 total for the match, blasted in seven aces and turned away all four break points held by the Spaniard.
“Fernando is a tough player to play. He can be really aggressive. He doesn’t give you so much rhythm, so it’s not easy,” the Swiss said.
“In general, I’m really confident with my preparation, with the way I’m playing in practice court, the way I’m moving.”
Earlier, Kei Nishikori held off a fightback from Benjamin Becker and earned a 6-1 6-1 3-6 6-3 victory over the German veteran for a convincing start to his title bid.
The Japanese sixth seed stormed through the first two sets but the 35-year-old Becker took control in the third before Nishikori righted the ship in time to secure a spot in the second round.
“He started playing much better so it was tough third and fourth sets but luckily I got out of the last two games,” said Nishikori.