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Wawrinka Makes Winning Start In Cincy

Cincinnati, U.S.A.

Wawrinka© Getty ImagesStan Wawrinka advances to the Cincinnati Round of 16 for a fourth time.

Stan Wawrinka became the first player to book his place in the Round of 16 at the Western & Southern Open, as he began his campaign Tuesday afternoon with a 6-3, 7-6(5) win over German qualifier Benjamin Becker.

The third-seeded Swiss, a Cincinnati semi-finalist in 2012 (l. to Federer), bounced back from last week’s third-round exit in Toronto (l. to Anderson) as he won 82 per cent of his first-serve points and converted two of his eight break point chances. He improved to a 30-9 season record.

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Wawrinka, who captured his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title earlier this year in Monte-Carlo, awaits the winner between No. 14 seed Marin Cilic and Fernando Verdasco. The 30-year-old Verdasco will be going for his 400th match win when he plays the Croatian.

American wild card Robby Ginepri, 31, prevailed against 20-year-old Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 in just over two hours. The 44th-ranked Thiem, who reached his first ATP World Tour final two weeks ago in Kitzbuhel, also dropped his Toronto opener (l. to Simon).

Former World No. 15 Ginepri next meets another young gun, No. 5 seed and recent Citi Open champion Milos Raonic, as he looks to record back-to-back tour-level wins for the first time since April 2013 in Houston.

Ninth seed Ernests Gulbis also needed two hours and two minutes to get by Croatian Ivan Dodig 7-6(8), 7-6(4). Gulbis notched his 35th match win of the season and moved within four of the 200 match-wins milestone.

He will next play wild card Steve Johnson, who dismissed French qualifier Benoit Paire 6-4, 6-1. Johnson is currently the No. 3 American at No. 55 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, the No. 13 seed, set a second-round meeting with France's Gael Monfils after closing out a 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 win over Martin Klizan.

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