Wawrinka remains champion of Chennai

Wawrinka remains champion of Chennai

Top seed Swiss swats aside giant-killing Bedene

Wawrinka remains champion of Chennai
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 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 defeated Wawrinka on the way to the semifinals in Chennai in 2013, earned $38,650 and 150 points for winning three qualifying matches and four more in the main draw.

Interestingly, the two players have played against each other only at this event. It was their third meeting. Bedene had recorded win in 2013 while Wawrinka had avenged that defeat last year.

“It’s special to start the year with a trophy. It’s going to be a strange feeling going to Australian Open as defending champion. First I want to enjoy this trophy. Happy to do it here again,” Wawrinka said after the match.

“It’s amazing atmosphere. That’s the reason why I keep coming back. It’s a pleasure to play here, it’s seven years now,” the Swiss added.

Wawrinka had words of praise for his opponent too. “I would like to congratulate Bedene for playing great. He beat a lot of seeds. He played amazing match yesterday. Good luck to him for the season.”

Bedene was elated at his performance in the last 10 days, becoming the first qualifier to reach final at Chennai Open.

“It’s been a great week. Thank you everyone. I guess hard work pays off. Thank you my team, you were great. It’s my favourite tournament now and I want to come back next year,” Bedene said.

“Well done to Stan. He played amazingly today. Looking forward to Australia,” Bedene added.