INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka made a successful return to the BNP Paribas Open after four years away, beating qualifier Aleksander Vukic 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 on Thursday.
Wawrinka, a 37-year-old who has been ranked as high as No. 3 and is now No. 100 after a series of operations to his left foot and left knee, hit 10 aces and won 28 of 33 first-serve points. His previous match at the hard-court tournament in the California desert was a loss to Swiss Davis Cup teammate Roger Federer in the third round in 2019.
Wawrinka, the runner-up to Federer at Indian Wells in 2017, will face No. 26 seed Miomir Kecmanovic in the second round at the first Masters 1000 tournament of the season.
Two other owners of major titles who have dealt with injury issues in recent years, Andy Murray and Dominic Thiem, were scheduled for first-round action later on Day 2.
Danielle Collins, the 2022 Australian Open runner-up, lost a second consecutive match against an opponent ranked outside the top 50, knocked out 6-4, 6-4 by 80th-ranked Dalma Galfi. Galif had lost in qualifying but moved into the main draw when someone withdrew. Collins delivered only nine winners while making 41 unforced errors.
Varvara Gracheva, who qualified for Indian Wells after reaching the final at Austin, Texas, last week, defeated Ysaline Bonaventure 6-2, 6-2; Katerina Siniakova beat Jule Niemeier 7-5, 6-4; and Jil Teichmann was a 6-1, 6-4 winner over Ashlyn Krueger.
In other results, Jack Draper overwhelmed qualifier Leandro Riedi 6-1, 6-1 to set up an all-British matchup against No. 24 Dan Evans; and Mackenzie McDonald defeated Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-0.
Stan Wawrinka wins in return to Indian Wells after 4 years away