Wawrinka, Raonic win in India
Stanislas Wawrinka (File)
Chennai - Defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka and rising star Milos Raonic moved into the quarter-finals of the ATP Chennai Open in contrasting style on Wednesday.
Wawrinka, the third-seeded Swiss, fought back to overcome valiant Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 in a tense battle that lasted two hours and 25 minutes.
Fourth-seeded Raonic of Canada brushed aside Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and 14 minutes on the centre court of the Nungambakkam tennis stadium.
The 17th-ranked Wawrinka, who beat Xavier Malisse of Belgium in last year's final, appeared in trouble when Roger-Vasselin served for the match at 5-4 in the deciding set.
But the seasoned Swiss overcame pain in his left leg to make it 5-5 and secured another break in the 12th game to clinch victory.
Roger-Vasselin had been drafted into the main draw as the lucky loser after India's number one Somdev Devvarman withdrew from his home event due to a shoulder injury.
The Frenchman, who beat compatriot Eric Prodon in the first round, said he was happy to give his fancied rival a tough fight.
"I am proud of myself," the 106th-ranked Roger-Vasselin said. "It was a close match and I think I played really well. Sadly, it did not go my way."
Wawrinka said he was delighted to win despite the scare.
"It is never easy to start the season with a win, so I am happy to be through to the quarter-finals," said the Swiss, who received a bye in the first round.
"I played a good game and am pleased that I fought back well. I like to fight on every point and that is what I did today."
Wawrinka next plays Go Soeda of Japan, who beat fifth seed Ivan Dodig of Croatia 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 on an outside court.
The 21-year-old Raonic provided a glimpse of his power-packed game that made him the ATP's newcomer of the year in 2011, during which he jumped from number 156 to 25 before ending the year ranked 31.
Raonic took the first set in 27 minutes as he broke Hanescu twice and then secured another break in the seventh game of the second set to wrap up the match.
"I could not have asked for a better start to the year," said Raonic, who had lost in the qualifiers in Chennai last year.
"I know I have a good serve, but in this match I was more focussed on improving my returns. I think I returned quite well and am feeling good about the future.
"I am hungry for success and will not cut corners to improve my game. I am ready to rough it out. I have a strong set of legs, but I still need to work on my fitness."
Raonic's quarter-final opponent will be Israeli Dudi Sela, who came from behind to overcome Benoit Paire of France 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
The top two seeds, Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia and Nicolas Almagro of Spain, who were given first-round byes, will open their singles campaign on Thursday.
Both players were scheduled to play their doubles matches late on Wednesday night, with Tipsarevic partnering Indian veteran Leander Paes and Almagro teaming up with compatriot Pere Riba.