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Wawrinka beaten on return from injury in Rome

AFP  |  Rome 

Swiss star struggled on his return after almost three months on the sidelines, falling to a first round defeat in the clay-court Italian Open on Sunday.

The three-time Grand Slam champion lost 6-4, 6-4 to 55th-ranked American

"I really only started to play again 12 days ago," said Wawrinka, who was broken in each set and hit 30 unforced errors to Johnson's 17.

"I'm happy with physically where I am right now.

"I had a lot of hesitation with my game and it obviously makes a big difference in the way I move and the way I play." Wawrinka, 33, sat out the second half of 2017 after a following a first-round exit at in June.

He then spent eight weeks on crutches following to repair the damage.

He returned this year but has struggled and was forced to withdraw during a second round match in in February against world number 193 Ilya Ivashka of

"I think when I came back in it was quite clear I wasn't ready at all. But for me it's important to play matches to test myself playing against the top guys," added Wawrinka with the French Open, which he won in 2015, just two weeks away.

"It's positive to see that the knee was doing okay, but now I need a lot of time to work on my fitness. Today was tough but I'm really happy to see where I am right now.

"I'm close to my top level, I still need a lot of time to play matches." Three Americans advanced on the first day on the red clay in Rome with 13th seed beating Spaniard 6-3, 6-4, and ousting Japan's 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.

But 12th-seeded American fell 6-2, 7-6 (9/7) to Germany's while Italian wild card came back from a set down to defeat France's 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

Seven-time Rome winner is the top men's seed as the world number one competes after suffering his first clay-court defeat in almost a year in the quarter-finals to Austrian

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, May 13 2018. 22:45 IST