Top seed and World No. 4 Stan Wawrinka successfully defended his Aircel Chennai Open crown by beating Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene in the final of the 2015 edition in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
Back-to-back titles for Wawrinka
Wawrinka matched the achievements of Carlos Moya (2004, 2005) and Marin Cilic (2009, 2010) in being winning back-to-back singles titles here at the Aircel Chennai Open. The Swiss is now the sole leader in match wins at the tournament with a record of 24-4 (he started the tournament tied with Moya at 21-4). The reigning Australian Open champion also continued his January hot streak where he’s been unbeaten since last January, winning 13 matches in a row.
Meeting for the third year in a row at this very event, having split the previous two matches, Wawrinka and Bedene exchanged service holds initially. But that was as good as it got for the the Slovenian, who was playing his first ATP Tour final. Wawrinka broke his relatively inexperienced opponent in the sixth game of the first set and then held serve to close out the set.
In the second, it was a single break of serve that did the trick again, as Wawrinka broke in the seventh game to forge ahead 4-. He then stayed strong on serve to emerge with the winner’s trophy without having dropped a set this week.
Bedene, the first qualifier to make the final in the Aircel Chennai Open’s 20-year history, was under immediate pressure from his opponent with Wawrinka’s forceful groundstrokes and big first-serve causing him much trouble. He was not able to get around his backhand and hit his inside-out forehand, as Wawrinka used his own down-the-line strikes off both wings to keep Bedene busy at the back of the court.
Mr. Sankara Narayanan, Head Aircel-SBU, gave away the winner's and runner-up trophies.
Still a great week for Bedene
“I was also a little tired and I was a little nervous since it was my first final. I couldn’t even really sleep last night because of the excitement,” Bedene said after the match.
“I still felt that it was a good game from my side, just that Stan played outstanding,” the Slovenian added.
Even though he lost, reaching the final was an incredible achievement for Bedene, who has spent much of his career on the fringes. The 25-year-old has a solid game and is constantly making efforts to improve, which should hold him in good stead going forward in 2015, and beyond.
Wawrinka meanwhile was elated at winning back-to-back titles and his third overall.
"It's just amazing to win it again, to start the year with a trophy,” Wawrinka said.
"First I'm going to enjoy a little bit (winning) this trophy. It's not every week that you win a trophy", Wawrinka asnwered when asked about going into the Australian Open as defending champion.
When told about his remarkable achievements at this tournament that make him amongst the best to have ever played here, Wawrinka said, “Yes, that’s why I love coming here. The conditions are good, I always feel welcome and its always a good preparation for the Australian Open with the heat and humidity.”
Wawrinka will next play at the Australian Open starting January 19 after a week of tennis where he and compatriot Roger Federer ended up being the only ones from the Top 4 to make the final and consequently win in their first tournament of the year.