MELBOURNE: Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka reached the Australian Open second round for a 16th straight time Monday as the Swiss star looks to better his quarter-final run last year.
The 35-year-old, whose preparations were set back when he contracted Covid-19 late last year, was in full control against Portugal’s Paulo Sousa in a workmanlike 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win.
Wawrinka, who won the first of his three Grand Slam titles in Melbourne in 2014, defeating Rafael Nadal, is aiming to be just the sixth man in the Open era to win three or more Slams after turning 30.
“It’s always amazing and special to come back here, winning my first Grand Slam was something unbelievable, amazing memories,” he said.
“I always have a lot of emotion when I come on court and it’s always a pleasure to be back a place where I won my first Grand Slam.”
Seeded 17, he will play either Australian wildcard Marc Polmans or Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics next.
“It’s never easy to play your first match here. I was playing well today, playing aggressive, hitting some good balls, so really happy to be through to the second round.”
Wawrinka made the last eight in 2020, where he fell to Alexander Zverev in four sets.