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 on Tuesday.
The 37-year-old Wawrinka hit his ninth ace to seal a 6-4, 6-4 win over Ruud, who was the US 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 US 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 ½ 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 US. 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.