Stanislas Wawrinka struggled in first round of Tokyo ATP tournament, while Thomas Berdych advances into second round of 2012 Rakuten Japan Open in two sets.
Seventh seed Swiss Wawrinka had probably expected an easier day at the office against young domestic player Hiroki Moriya. The first set serving was solid enough, although the players had to defend their share of break balls by 5-all. The Swiss then stepped it up a notch in the eleventh game and prepared a terrain for serving out the set next. However, 184th-ranked Japanese stood his ground in the following set, made his way to a 5-4 lead and broke three-time ATP winner Wawrinka to love straight after to level the terms. Wawrinka responded with a break in the first game of the decider, but Moriya pulled back by 3-3. He had a game ball for a 4-3 advantage, but lost his serve instead. The Japanese was not defeated yet as he was close to another re-break at 4-5, but Wawrinka hit back to take his service game, set and match for a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 first round triumph.
2008 Tokyo champion Czech Berdych opened his clash against Frenchman Benoit Paire with a long game in which he stayed alert to save a break ball before taking the initial lead. After that it was second seed Berdych’s time to attack and conquer two of his opponent’s serves in a row. The Frenchman avoided being humiliated with a first set bagel at 0-5, but it was all the same to the Czech as he grabbed the set with a self-confident love game. He did not perform as convincingly in the set two, although he was in position to serve for the match at 5-4. However, 52nd-ranked Paire broke back and the players would be separated by a tie-break. They were canceling each other out with one mini-break after another until the unseeded Frenchman had a set ball possibility at 6-5. Nevertheless, he gave away both of the following serves, allowing Berdych to wrap up the match with his first match ball. End score: 6-1, 7-6 (6).