Wawrinka sets up Vasselin final clash

Swiss ace stays on course for a second title triumph

Wawrinka sets up Vasselin final clash

World No 8 Stanislas Wawrinka and Eduard Roger-Vasselin survived close semifinal matches here on Saturday to make it to the title round of the Aircel Chennai Open.

The 28-year-old Swiss Wawrinka, winner here in 2011, looked relieved when Canadian World No 32 Vasek Pospisil conceded the match due to a sore lower back at 5-5 in the second set after the top seed had taken the first 6-4.

Pospisil, who had Wawrinka, the top seed, in a corner in the second set, thus became the fifth player in the tournament to retire.

In the other semifinal, Frenchman Roger-Vasselin had to dig deep to overcome an inconsistent sixth seeded Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. 

Wawrinka, who in 2013 broke into the top 10 for the first time and also reached the US Open semifinals by beating Andy Murray, was stretched to the limit by the 23-year old Pospisil whose lower back eventually gave way just as he seemed to be peaking.

Sloppy Pospisil

Wawrinka did just enough to win the first set in which the six-foot, four-inch Pospisil, who helped Canada reach the Davis Cup final last year, had his chances.

Pospisil blew six break points to lose the first set which Wawrinka clinched with a service break in the tenth game. The lanky Canadian did well to keep pace with his senior opponent, but didn’t quite play well on the big points.

At 1-1 in the second set, Pospisil took a medical time out as the courtside trainer worked on the player’s lower back. On resumption, the Canadian looked a step slower and dropped serve in the seventh, but broke back in the eighth.

Wawrinka had trouble holding serve. In fact, there were two 10-minute games on the Swiss’ serve before Pospisil broke for the first time in the match in the eighth game. However, with the players tied at 5-5, the young Canadian walked up to the net and shook hands with Wawrinka to concede the tie.

“I feel sorry for Vasek. I just hope that he gets well in time for the Australian Open. I am playing the best tennis of my career and look forward to tomorrow’s (Sunday) final against Eduard (Roger-Vasselin),” said Wawrinka in a courtside chat after the match.

Earlier, the seventh seeded Roger-Vasselin, in his 13th season on the Tour, but playing just his second ATP semifinal, served better and was far more consistent in shot making to overcome Granollers who was far too erratic, with his game swinging from sublime to mediocre in the blink of an eye.

The Frenchman showcased his obvious talent with some searing double-handed backhands and wonderful retrievals.

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