Stan In Command To Kick Off Day 4 In Miami
Stan Wawrinka gave himself an early birthday present on Saturday at the Miami Open presented by Itaú. The Swiss, who turns 32 on Tuesday, downed Horacio Zeballos 6-3, 6-4 in 65 minutes to open play on Day 4 at the Crandon Park Tennis Center.
Coming off a run to the final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Wawrinka dropped just two points on his first serve (92 per cent points won) and fired seven aces. He converted both break points earned, taking the lead in the fourth game of first set and once again to open the second.
"I'm really happy with the match today," said Wawrinka. "I think it was a great match, especially for first one here for me. It's quite tough conditions, raining and really windy today. It's really windy on the court, so it's never easy. I'm happy with the way I was moving, the way I was playing and my attitude in general was really positive. So it's a great match.
"I'm playing better tennis. I feel that I'm playing good here. I took the confidence from Indian Wells. So let's see... When I'm playing well, when I am confident with my game, I know I can beat anybody."
Making his ninth appearance in Miami, Wawrinka leads the field at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event for the first time. It marks the first time a player outside the Big Four is the top seed in Miami since Lleyton Hewitt in 2003.
Wawrinka will look to match his best result at the prestigious hard-court event when he faces Malek Jaziri next, with a spot in the Round of 16 on the line. Jaziri dispatched Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
In other action, #NextGenATP stalwart Alexander Zverev notched an impressive win over veteran Yen-Hsun Lu, routing the 33 year old 6-0, 6-3 in just 61 minutes. The 16th seed is already enjoying his best fortnight in three appearances in Miami. Looking to carry the momentum from his second ATP World Tour title last month in Montpellier, Zverev will face a tall order against John Isner on Monday.
The American delighted the home crowd with a tight 7-5, 7-6(5) win over Thomaz Bellucci, firing 13 aces and converting two of four break chances. A semi-finalist in Miami in 2015, Isner is seeking revenge over Zverev after the German teen took their lone previous encounter, dropping just six games at the Shanghai Rolex Masters last year.