Wawrinka reaches Chennai final

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iol spt jan4 Wawrinka

AP

Top seed Stanislas Wawrinka sailed into the ATP Chennai Open final after Vasek Pospisil of Canada retired with a back injury. Photo by: Arun Sankar K.

Top seed Stanislas Wawrinka sailed into the ATP Chennai Open final on Saturday after Vasek Pospisil of Canada retired with a back injury, setting up a a title clash with Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

The Swiss world number eight, who won the title in 2011, was leading 6-4, 5-5 when a hobbling Pospisil conceded the semi-final at the Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium.

The 23-year-old Canadian was the sixth player to be sidelined with injury during the $450,000 season opener in the past week, a list that included second seed Mikhail Youzhny of Russia and third seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy.

A seventh player, defending champion Janko Tipsarevic, had withdrawn before the tournament began due to a heel injury.

Pospisil, who made it to the semi-finals without dropping his serve, was broken by Wawrinka in the fifth game of the first set and again in the seventh game of the second set.

He broke back in the eighth but was clearly in discomfort, having already called for the trainer towards the end of the first set and then again midway through the second.

“It feels good to be in the final, but I feel sorry for my opponent,” Wawrinka said. “He was playing well. I hope he is OK because this is the start of the season and it is important to be ready physically.

“It was a tough match before the final. I did not serve well but I was aggressive from the baseline and moved well on court. I will go into the final tomorrow with a lot of confidence.”

Meanwhile, Roger-Vasselin reached his second ATP World Tour final after a tough three-set win over Marcel Granollers of Spain in the first semi-final.

The 52nd-ranked Frenchman fought off a spirited challenge from world number 38 Granollers before winning 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in a two-hour centre court battle.

Roger-Vasselin, who trailed 2-0 in the final set, reeled off five games in a row to make it 5-2 before holding serve in the ninth game to clinch the match.

The Frenchman revealed that at 5-2 he was reminded of compatriot Benoit Paire's loss to Granollers on Friday night despite being 5-1 up in the decider -- and was determined not to allow a repeat.

“I must admit I did think of that and did not want another Frenchman to lose to the same guy two days in a row,” Roger-Vasselin said. “But it worked out for me.

“To be in the final is the best possible start I could have had. I lost my only other final a year ago, so the goal obviously is to win at least one title this year, hopefully this one.

“Having come this far and with one match to go, I have to take advantage of the place I am in and try and win.”

Granollers admitted he was tired after the bruising quarter-final against Paire, but acknowledged that Roger-Vasselin played better than him.

“It was a tough match,” the Spaniard said. “I had my chances, I was a break up in the third set, but he was aggressive and played a solid game.” – AFP


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