Wawrinka wins, offers Federer birthday wishes
Montreal: Roger Federer turned 30 on Monday but it was fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka who gave himself a present as he outclassed David Nalbandian 6-1, 6-4 to reach the second round of the ATP Montreal Masters.
Wawrinka, who won the 2008 Olympic doubles gold medal alongside Federer, said that while he wouldn`t go so far as to give him a present he has the utmost respect for his compatriot as a player and a friend.
"I"ve known him since I was 16. We have always practised a lot, played together, played doubles, played the Olympics, the Davis Cup," said the 26-year-old.
"It`s always good to know him and to play with him."
Wawrinka is making yet another change of tennis surface after playing on grass at Wimbledon, switching to indoors for a Davis Cup tie and then to clay for the Gstaad ATP event last month before turning to cement for the run to the US Open which starts on August 29.
"It`s never easy," admitted Wawrinka, who reached the US Open quarter-finals last year.
"But with experience every year it`s more easy for me to come back from clay to hard court. I had almost a week, five days here to practise, to be ready.”
"Everything is great. I`m playing great, I`m practising really well. To win in two straight sets was really good for me."
Former US Open winner Juan Martin del Potro, seeded 16th as he continues a return from 2010 wrist surgery, crushed Finn Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-0 in 68 minutes.
Top seed Novak Djokovic, number two Rafael Nadal and fourth-seed Andy Murray learned who their second round opponents will be when they open their campaigns after first-round byes.
Djokovic will start on Tuesday against Russian Nikolay Davydenko, a former member of the top five elite who beat Italy`s Flavio Cipolla 6-3, 6-3.
Nadal will face Ivan Dodig after the Croatian`s 6-4, 6-3 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, while Murray plays South African Kevin Anderson, who beat Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-4.
Los Angeles champion Ernests Gulbis made the most of his wild card entry with a fighting 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory over Spanish veteran Juan Carlos Ferrero. The Latvian fired 14 aces as he continues to turn his game around this summer.
"After my win in LA I`m going on court with the attitude of a winner, not ... of a loser like before," he said.
The tournament, which precedes another Masters 1000 next week in Cincinnati marks the fist time that the world top four of Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray have played since either Wimbledon or the Davis Cup last month.
Murray has won the last two editions of the Canadian tournament, which alternates between Montreal and Toronto.