Wawrinka downs Stepanek, next races Ito again at Japan Open
TOKYO (AP) French Open winner Stan Wawrinka secured his second-round spot at the Japan Open by beating Czech veteran Radek Stepanek in straight sets on Tuesday, avoiding a repeat of last year's shock exit.
The top-seeded Wawrinka crashed out to local wildcard Tatsuma Ito in the first round in 2014, and the Swiss will face Ito again in the second round after overpowering Stepanek 7-5, 6-3.
Wawrinka looked fully recovered from the ankle injury that forced his withdrawal from a tournament in Metz, France, last month.
The unseeded Gilles Muller, of Luxembourg, pulled off a shock on the outside courts, defeating fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson, of South Africa, 6-2, 6-3.