Berdych’s strong start to 2016 continues

Third seed Tomas Berdych cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Joao Sousa at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday while Stan Wawrinka claimed victory from the jaws of defeat in an entertaining come-from-behind win against Sergiy Stakhovsky.

The 30-year-old Berdych notched up his 10th win of the season as he prevailed in 70 minutes, converting four of his five break points.

“I think he struggled in the first set, so he could get only better,” said Berdych.

“I think he just started to play a little bit more solid, played a little bit more aggressive from his forehand side, which is his stronger side. He pushed me a little bit more. But I think overall it was quite good.”

Berdych goes on to face qualifier Thomas Fabbiano, who defeated Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 6-4.

Wawrinka was two points from defeat as he trailed 4-5, 0/30 on serve in the deciding set against Stakhovsky.

However, the Swiss star reeled off four straight points to hold serve before immediately breaking his opponent. Wawrinka then served out the hard-fought victory to love.

Last week in Marseille, Wawrinka saved two match points as he edged Stakhovsky in a third set tie-break.

“It’s good for my confidence but it was a tough first match,” said Wawrinka.

“I was hesitating, always being behind, staying aggressive. And it’s tough to play especially against Stakhovsky, who doesn’t give you too much rhythm.”

He will now play Franko Skugor who overcame Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-2, 6-3.

Elsewhere on a busy day in Dubai there were straight set triumphs for Roberto Bautista Agut, Borna Coric and Mikhail Kukushkin over Simone Bolelli, Jirí Veselý and Denis Istomin respectively.

While Lukas Rosol, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Nick Kyrgios were all forced to three sets before they were able to book their spots in the next round.

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