Wawrinka through to next round in Brisbane
US OPEN champion Stan Wawrinka followed the day's trend of early struggle for the Brisbane International men's seeds before winning his first match at the tournament on Wednesday night.
Serbian opponent Viktor Troicki served for the first set, but found Wawrinka, the world No.4, too resourceful to close out a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 win.
Troicki has a good record in Australian conditions, but the penetration of Wawrinka, who had won their previous six encounters, proved decisive.
Wawrinka arrived on December 28, giving him five days more practice in Brisbane than rivals Rafael Nadal and Milos Raonic.
The Swiss right-hander said he was content with his choice to play in Brisbane after ending nine consecutive years in which he started the season in Chennai, India.
"I'm liking the facility and the city,” he said.
"At 31 years old, when you've been on the tour for so long, to play some new tournaments, it makes you a little fresher mentally.
"I'm quite happy with my level to start the year. I think it was a good match, in general.”
Wawrinka, the second seed, said the court speed was a "a little bit fast”, a comment Raonic also made after two days of practice at the Queensland Tennis Centre.
"But the ball can get slower. If you play a long rally, the ball can really change a lot when you have new balls and when you play a few balls with it,” he said.
Wawrinka will play unseeded Briton Kyle Edmund on Friday at Pat Rafter Arena for a semi-final place.
Sydney wildcard Jordan Thompson, meanwhile, has scored the best win of his life by running down former world No.3 David Ferrer in three sets to reach the Brisbane International quarter-finals.
Thompson, the third-ranked Australian man, closed out with composure a 4-6 7-5 7-5 defeat of eighth seed Ferrer at Pat Rafter Arena.
The 22-year-old baseliner outlasted one of the road runners of men's tennis, a winner of $29 million in career prizemoney, despite the disappointment of being previously unable to convert four match points on Ferrer's serve.
"I've done it step by step. It's good to be at at this level and play against players like Ferrer and Nishikori,” Thompson said after the match.
Thompson became an Olympian last year and bears an Australian Olympic tattoo on his right upper arm.
"There were some long rallies, especially that last one - I was feeling pretty good until then. It's impossible to wear down David Ferrer - I've got a bigger frame and have a bigger serve, so I tried to use those.”
Ranked No.79, he will now play Japan's world No.5 Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.
Two Aussies proved one too many for world No.21 Ferrer, who had sent Bernard Tomic packing in rhe first round.
Nishikori lost control of his second-round match against American qualifier Jared Donaldson after sweeping the first four games, but prevailed 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 at Pat Rafter Arena.
Japan's 2014 US Open runner-up is playing his seventh Brisbane International and is looking to do better than his best finish of three semi-finals in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
"I always like to start the year here,” said Nishikori, who was a quarter-final loser to Bernard Tomic last year.
France's Lucas Pouille wa the first men's seed to leave the Brisbane International, quitting his second-round match due to discomfort from a toe.
Pouille, a quarter-finalist at the past two grand slam tournaments, had a view to safeguarding his Australian Open fitness when he retired while trailing Britain's Kyle Edmund 6-3 3-1.