LONDON (Reuters) - Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka made light work of Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the opening round of the Queen’s Club grasscourt tournament on Monday, winning 6-2 6-3.
The 33-year-old Swiss, ranked 261 in the world after two knee surgeries, served solidly throughout a one-sided contest on the slick center court, easing past an opponent who struggled to cope with Wawrinka’s power.
Wawrinka needed just shy of half an hour to pocket the opener, breaking twice, and was hardly troubled in the second set as he set up a second round match against American fifth seed Sam Querrey who beat British wildcard Jay Clarke 6-3 6-3.
“In general (the knee) has been improving week after week,” Wawrinka, beaten in the first round of the French Open, said. “Now I feel really good on court, strong physically.
“I will have ups and downs in the next months and need to be patient. You need to be ready to accept frustrating but today was a great day.”
Top seed Marin Cilic, runner-up at Wimbledon last year to Roger Federer, looked razor sharp as he came through a potentially tricky opener against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.
The 29-year-old Croat, champion at Queen’s in 2012, lost only four points on serve during a 6-3 6-4 victory — his fourth in succession against Verdasco.
He will face Luxembourg’s grasscourt dangerman Gilles Muller next after he beat exciting Canadian shot-maker Denis Shapovalov 7-6(7) 7-6(6) in the day’s opening contest.
Shapovalov was left to rue his failure to convert a set point in the opener as he bowed out against the man who ended Rafael Nadal’s Wimbledon hopes last year.
Double Wimbledon champion Andy Murray makes his return after nearly a year out with a hip injury on Tuesday when he will face Australian Nick Kyrgios in the first round.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Alison Williams and Ken Ferris