Cincinnati - Olympic absentee Stan Wawrinka
will test his recent back injury as the Swiss opens his campaign at the ATP-WTA
Cincinnati Masters in the second round against Jared Donaldson.
The young American on Monday beat
experienced Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), advancing before afternoon
rain returned on what promises to be a difficult scheduling week.
The hardcourt test is the final major
tune-up prior to the start of the US Open in a fortnight. Wawrinka is seeded
second behind Rio gold medallist Andy Murray, who owns two Cincinnati titles.
Double Grand Slam champion Wawrinka had been
set to travel to Rio but called off what would have been the 31-year-old's
third Olympic adventure a few days before the start.
The Swiss said that he did not want to risk
what has been a solid season of three titles by playing when he was unfit at
"It was tough to make the Olympic
decision," Wawrinka said on Monday after learning he would line up against
the up-and-coming 123rd-ranked Donaldson, aged 19.
"But it would have been a risk for me
to have played. I went back to Switzerland (after Toronto ended two weeks ago)
and saw the doctor.
"I was eight days out of tennis but I
picked up a racquet a week ago and then travelled to Cincinnati. The back is
not so bad, but I need to take some days out of tennis for rehab and work with
Wawrinka said that he was a devoted viewer
of the Olympic event which ended at the weekend with Murray beating Juan Martin
del Potro in the gold medal match. Murray delayed his Rio departure until
Monday to celebrate his second Olympic title and was due in Cincinnati later.
"I watched it a lot - it was not easy
not to be there. I have some great memories from Beijing (doubles gold medal
with Roger Federer) and London. In Beijing I stayed in the athlete
village," Wawrinka said.
"I wanted to do the same in Rio, But
my body was not ready to be fully fit. Right now, I'm confident and ready to
play. There is still a lot of tennis to play this season."
France's Julien Benneteau earned the first
upset win of the week as he put out Spanish 10th seed David Ferrer 6-4, 2-6,
6-4. Injury comeback hope Kevin Anderson of South Africa reached the second
round when Alexandr Dolgopolov - a semi-finalist here last year from a
qualifying start - was unable to carry on after losing the first set 7-5.
Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas beat Californian Sam
Querrey 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, finishing just before the rain arrived.
In the women's draw, Australian Daria
Gavrilova defeated Caroline Garcia of France 7-5, 6-3; Latvian Jelena Ostapenko
stopped Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia 1-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5).