You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Stan Wawrinka survives Australian Open scare

AFP logoAFP 16-01-2017
Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka in action against Martin Klizan of Slovakia in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne on January 16, 2017 © Provided by AFP Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka in action against Martin Klizan of Slovakia in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne on January 16, 2017

Former winner Stan Wawrinka survived a massive first-round scare to edge Martin Klizan in a five-set thriller at the Australian Open on Monday.

Wawrinka, a three-time Grand Slam champion, fought back from a break down in the final set to overhaul the 35th-ranked Slovak, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in 3hr 24min on Margaret Court Arena.

Tensions ran high in the final set when Wawrinka slammed a ball at a defenceless Klizan, who had conceded the point after a rally and was standing at the net.

The Swiss fourth seed quickly jumped the net to offer his apologies as Klizan sunk to his haunches in pain.

"It was a big fright tonight, he's a tough player who pushes a lot and I am very happy to get through," Wawrinka said.

"I was fighting a lot and I never give up but it was most important to get through."

Wawrinka, who beat Rafael Nadal to win the 2014 Australian Open, will next play American Steve Johnson.

The Swiss hit 21 aces and 13 winners with his signature single-handed backhand but made 43 unforced errors as he struggled to contain left-hander Klizan's powerful forehand.

Wawrinka maintained his record of never having lost in the first round at his 12th Australian Open campaign.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon