Wawrinka starts 2015 with Chennai Open title
Stanislas Wawrinka warmed up on Sunday for the defence of his Australian Open title later this month by winning the ATP Chennai Open for a second straight year and for the third time since 2011.
The top-seeded Swiss world number four ended Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene’s giant-killing feats in the season-opening $450,000 event with a 6-3, 6-4 win in a 69-minute final. Some 4,000 Indian fans at the Nungambakkam tennis stadium cheered wildly as the popular Wawrinka, making his seventh appearance in Chennai, outplayed Bedene.
Wawrinka wrapped up the first set in 30 minutes with a break in the sixth game in which he unleashed two lethal backhand down the line shots to leave Bedene stranded. Bedene, hoping to become the first Slovenian to win an ATP Tour title, gifted a break in the seventh game of the second set when he double-faulted and then let Wawrinka smash an easy forehand winner.
Wawrinka pocketed $73,400 and 250 ranking points for his efforts. But his biggest gain was a perfect tune-up for the Australian Open which starts in Melbourne on January 19. The 29-year-old did not drop a single set in the tournament, appearing to begin the new season with the same zeal he showed by helping Switzerland win its maiden Davis Cup title last year. Wawrinka had followed his win over Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France in last year’s Chennai Open final by beating Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final three weeks later.
Bedene had entered his first Tour final after coming through the qualifiers to scalp three Spanish seeds in number two Feliciano Lopez, number three Roberto Bautista-Agut and number five Guillermo Garcia Lopez. Bedene, who beat Wawrinka on the way to the semifinal in 2013, earned $38,650 and 150 points for winning three qualifying matches and four more in the main draw. If he had won the final, the London-based Bedene, who awaits his British citizenship this year, would have become the first qualifier in the 20-year history of India’s only ATP event to have clinched the title.
Paes-Klaasen fail to cross final hurdle
Chennai: Yen-Hsun Lu and Jonathan Marray outplayed top seeds Leander Paes and Raven Klaasen to win the men's doubles title at the Chennai Open on Sunday. Paes and his 99th doubles partner Klaasen tried their best before going down 3-6, 6-7 (4) to a superior pair on the day. Despite the partisan crowd support, the 41-year-old Indian fell short of winning his seventh title here. Paes, who has entered his 25th ATP season, acknowledged he and his South African partner lost to a better team. "They played a great match today. I would love to see the statistics. I don't think they missed too many first serves. Having said that, I would like to thank my partner for a good start to the new season. Now we have to concentrate for the coming weeks as big tournaments are coming. We look forward to a great partnership during the year," said Paes at the post-match on court interview. Klaasen added: "What a great week it was. I enjoyed being here. The crowd tried their best today but there was not enough time I guess. Though we lost, it has been a good start for us (Leander and him)." A break was enough for the Marray and Lu to seal the opening set. The second set went down to the wire and witnessed many breathtaking rallies, much to the liking of the vociferous crowd at the SDAT Stadium. In the tie-break, Lu was able to convert the first championship point when Klaasen sent his service return long.
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