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Wawrinka Battles To Five-Set Win In Roland Garros Opener

Stan Wawrinka’s champion’s spirit came to the fore on Monday at Roland Garros.

The 2015 champion narrowly avoided a second consecutive first-round exit at the clay-court major when he battled past Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-7(2), 1-6, 6-4. The Swiss needed four hours and 35 minutes to take an 8-0 ATP Head2Head series lead against the lefty.

It was the 38-year-old’s 30th five-set victory (30-25). According to Infosys ATP Stats, the only active players with more five-set wins are Novak Djokovic (37-10) and Marin Cilic (34-20).

When Ramos-Vinolas missed a final backhand long, the Court 14 crowd rose in unison to roar in celebration. Wawrinka pointed his left index finger towards his temple to signify that he had found a way through another difficult battle.

The Swiss only converted four of the 17 break points he earned, but his 76 winners were enough to advance to the second round. He will next play Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis, who ousted 20th seed Daniel Evans in straight sets on Sunday.

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