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Wawrinka beats Ruud, Murray also advances at Swiss Indoors


Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka reacts after the game between Swiss Wawrinka and French Gasquet at the European Open Tennis ATP tournament, in Antwerp, Monday 17 October 2022. BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ (Photo by LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ / BELGA MAG / Belga via AFP) (Photo by LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

BASEL, Switzerland -- On a stellar day for veteran Grand Slam champions, Stan Wawrinka beat third-ranked Casper Ruud and Andy Murray rallied to win in three sets in the first round of the Swiss Indoors.

The 37-year-old Wawrinka hit his ninth ace to seal a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ruud, who was the U.S. Open runner-up last month, and delight his home crowd.

Wawrinka is now ranked No. 194 after persistent injury problems but the win was his second over a top-five opponent in five weeks. He beat fourth-ranked Daniil Medvedev last month in Metz, France.

“I fought despite the injuries. I wanted to come and play in front of you,” Wawrinka said in a tearful on-court interview, thanking fans for their support.

Murray, a former U.S. Open champion like Wawrinka, earlier won 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 against Roman Safiullin after the Russian led 4-1 in the final set.

The 35-year-old Murray, who also won two Wimbledon titles, reeled off five straight games to complete the victory after more than 2 1/2 hours on court. It was the No. 49-ranked Scot’s first match in Basel since 2005.

“I changed the way I was returning a little bit and when I did that I was able to create a few more opportunities and frustrate him a little bit,” Murray said.

Wawrinka first played in Basel 19 years ago but never went beyond the semifinals at the event won by hometown favorite Roger Federer a record 10 times.

Wawrinka next plays Brandon Nakashima of the United States. He could face Murray in the quarterfinals.

Another Swiss winner was 20-year-old Dominic Stricker who beat American Maxime Cressy 7-6 (4), 6-3. Stricker, a wild-card entry ranked No. 129, next faces Pablo Carreno Busta. The fifth-seeded Spaniard beat Sebastian Baez 6-2, 6-1.