Wawrinka’s comeback stunned by Bublik in Monte Carlo opener | Tennis News



MONTE CARLO: Stan Wawrinka marked his return to Tour-level competition for the first time in 13 months by showing glimpses of his old form, but the Swiss failed to pass Alexander Bublik in the first round of Monte Carlo Masters, losing 3-6 7-5 6-2 on Monday.
The three-time Grand Slam champion suffered a foot injury at the start of 2021 and had surgery in March last year before another operation three months later, only returning to action at a Challenger tournament Tour to Marbella last month.
While the 37-year-old was beaten in the first round of this event, there was little sign of rust against world number 36 Bublik on Court Rainier III as he stormed through the first set in just 27 minutes to grab the early advantage of the contest. .
Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, missed a chance to break Bublik early in the second set and dodged three set points to go 5-5, but couldn’t stop his determined Kazakh opponent from taking the game into their own hands.
Bublik found his rhythm to take a 5-1 lead in the third set as Wawrinka seemed to fade before the 24-year-old cruised to victory in style.
Earlier, 2019 Italian champion Fabio Fognini beat Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech 7-5 4-6 6-3 while American Sebastian Korda overtook Botic van de Zandschulp 7-5 6-4 and Spaniard Albert Ramos- Vinolas beat Tallon Griekspoor 6-4 4-6 6-2.
Former semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will face Croatian Marin Cilic later on Monday, hoping for a deep run in his final Masters 1000 appearance on clay, with the Frenchman due to retire after Roland Garros.
The tournament is without a number of big names including Rafa Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini, although world number one Novak Djokovic returns to action and meets Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Tuesday.


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