Stan Wawrinka produced a fine display to defeat eighth seed Grigor Dimtirov in the first round of the U.S. Open.
The 2016 champion, who reached the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati Masters before narrowly losing to compatriot Roger Federer, was handed a wild card to this year’s tournament and underlined his threat with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 triumph on Monday.
Injuries have blighted Wawrinka’s season, with his first-round win over Dimitrov at Wimbledon providing an all too rare highlight, but he again had the measure of the Bulgarian in New York.
Next up for the world No. 101 is young French qualifier Ugo Humbert.
.@stanwawrinka could do no wrong in an impressive 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory over No. 8 seed G. Dimitrov! https://t.co/l1aNC2k0Av#USOpen pic.twitter.com/oKfeY1cJIe
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 27, 2018
Wawrinka confidently closed the door on a break point opening for Dimitrov in the first game, the Swiss himself unable to apply significant pressure on his opponent’s serve until game six.
It was then that Wawrinka took it to deuce, hitting big from well behind the baseline and leaving his rival stranded on the wrong side of the court on several occasions.
Having dug deep to see out that game unscathed, Dimitrov found himself in bigger trouble in his following service game, which started with a double fault en route to conceding the first three points.
The first two chances passed Wawrinka by before he finally made the breakthrough, leaving him to serve for the set, but he did so in nervy fashion after falling 0-30 down.
A stunning backhand down the line gave a fist-pumping Wawrinka set point and, although pegged back to deuce, the 33-year-old regrouped to move ahead. He carried that momentum into the second set, surging into a 4-0 lead, with Dimitrov’s unforced error count steadily creeping up.
A hold to love got a frustrated Dimitrov off the mark, but that only delayed the inevitable as the world No. 8 fell two sets behind.
Even when a Wawrinka double fault handed Dimitrov three break points in the second game of the third set, the 27-year-old could not find a way through.
Wawrinka called for the trainer before the fourth game and found himself returning to stay in the set at 5-3 down, but he broke back and Dimitrov’s racket-smashing reaction earned him a warning.
His anger was heightened when he went on to lose his serve again and Wawrinka then finished the job in style to progress to round two.
Wawrinka beat Dimitrov  6-3 6-2 7-5
Dimitrov – 29/42
Wawrinka – 6/3
Dimitrov – 6/7
BREAK POINTS WON
Wawrinka – 5/14
Dimitrov – 1/8
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Wawrinka – 61
Dimitrov – 52
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Wawrinka – 68/58
Dimitrov – 77/42
Wawrinka – 107
Dimitrov – 94