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Chennai champ Wawrinka eyes Melbourne mastery

Swiss ace begins season with Chennai title again and hopes to defend Australian Open next up

Chennai: Stanislas Wawrinka warmed up yesterday for the defence of his Australian Open title by winning the ATP Chennai Open for a second straight year and for the third time since 2011.

Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka celebrates after beating Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in the Chennai Open final yesterday. Pic/AFP
Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka celebrates after beating Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in the Chennai Open final yesterday. Pic/AFP 

The Swiss World No 4 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.

Crowd favourite
Some 4,000 Indian fans at the Nungambakkam tennis stadium cheered wildly as the popular Wawrinka, making his seventh appearance in Chennai, outplayed Bedene.

"This has been a perfect week for me," the genial Swiss said in broken English.

"I served well and hit the ball good. It is amazing to win for the third time here, but I have to continue like this in (the) future also."

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.

"I am very happy with my game and I should have good practice when I get to Melbourne in two days time and will be ready when the Open starts."

The 29-year-old did not drop a single set in the tournament, seemingly beginning 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.

"Chennai is a lucky charm for sure. This is a special place for me and I always enjoy coming back here. I hope I can do as well in Melbourne as I did last year," said Wawrinka.

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