MIAMI, March 22 (Reuters) - Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka survived a rollercoaster start to his Sony Open campaign on Saturday, advancing to the third round with a bumpy 6-0 3-6 6-3 win over Spain's Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
The third seeded Swiss, playing just his second event since his milestone win in Melbourne, came out guns blazing blasting through the opening set in just 18 minutes but then made tough work of the remainder of his centre court clash, needing nearly an hour and a half to finally tame the Spaniard.
"I started well first set," said Wawrinka, now the number one Swiss ahead of Roger Federer. "It wasn't going that well but I was positive, ready.
"Problem is I still have some up and down mentally.
"I was negative in the second set, a little bit stupid, but then I'm really happy the way I started the third set."
Wawrinka said, "It was important to come back strong, to move well again, to play aggressive, to push him, and was important to get the break early."
After Wawrinka stormed through the first set and held serve to open the second, the momentum suddenly swung the Spaniard's way, Gimeno-Traver claimed the early break on a misfiring Wawrinka to go up 3-2 and then broke the Swiss again to level the match.
Wawrinka, however, steadied himself with a break to open third and again to close out the contest to end an up-and-down performance.
With the victory Wawrinka pushed his season record to a near perfect 14-1, a run that includes a pair of titles.
"I know that if I play my best tennis I can be a favourite of the tournament," summed up Wawrinka. "I know how well I can play.
"But I'm focusing on matches and I don't really care what other things or what others want to do.
"I know that every match are difficult and you need to be focused on what you're doing."
Seventh seeded Czech Tomas Berdych joined Wawrinka in the third round dispatching Frenchman Stephane Robert 7-6(5) 6-1 while big-hitting Croatian Marin Cilic, the 25th seed, was shown the exit by Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2 7-6(5). (Editing by Gene Cherry)