Tennis: Stan Wawrinka labours into French Open third round

Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland during his match against Japan's Taro Daniel on May 25, 2016.
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland during his match against Japan's Taro Daniel on May 25, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS
Wawrinka  in action against Taro Daniel.
Wawrinka in action against Taro Daniel.PHOTO: EPA

PARIS (AFP) - Defending French Open champion Stan Wawrinka reached the third round on Wednesday after labouring to a 7-6 (9/7), 6-3, 6-4 win over Japan's Taro Daniel.

The third-seeded Swiss fended off two set points against world number 93 Daniel in an opening tie-break, and Wawrinka was also forced to rally from a break down in the third set before wrapping up a straight-sets victory.

Having narrowly avoiding becoming the first reigning Roland Garros champion to lose in the first round when he was taken to five sets by Lukas Rosol, Wawrinka was relieved to eventually come through unscathed against a player with just one Grand Slam win to his name.

"I'm happy to get through in three sets. For sure it was some up and down, could have been better, but winning three sets, it's always good, and in general I think it's been a good day," said Wawrinka.

"I think he was playing well. I had a lot of opportunities to break, to take the lead. I didn't and he started to play better.

"I was struggling a little bit. I was hesitating a little bit sometimes with my game. That's why I did so many mistakes.

"It was a tough three-sets match, but I think I did the job I had to do. I'm happy. I think I'm playing better and better."

Wawrinka will face 32nd-ranked Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, an opponent the Swiss has beaten in all four previous meetings, for a place in the last 16.