Cilic meets Wawrinka in Chennai Open final
CHENNAI, India — Defending champion Marin Cilic continued his winning streak against Janko Tipsarevic to enter the final of the 400,000-dollar ATP Chennai Open on Saturday.
The world number 14 from Croatia triumphed 6-1, 6-3 in a semi-final lasting 84 minutes to record his fourth successive win against the 38th-ranked Serbian.
The second-seeded Cilic, favoured to retain the title after top seed Robin Soderling crashed out in the first round, takes on third seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in Sunday's final.
The 21st-ranked Wawrinka fought off a tough challenge from number 43 Dudi Sela of Israel before winning the baseline slugfest 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 in two hours and 32 minutes of absorbing tennis.
Wawrinka goes into the final with a 4-0 record against Cilic, but their last meeting was way back at the French Open on 2008 when the Swiss star won a second-round match in straight sets.
"It was a long time ago, it really does not matter now," said Wawrinka. "He won the title here last year, while I lost in the first round.
"I will have to be at my best to beat Cilic because he serves well and is good from the back too. I hope I get the support of the crowd here."
Cilic, who beat Tipsarevic in the quarter-final here last year, ran away with the first set in just 27 minutes after the Serb failed to hold his serve even once.
Tipsarevic, seeded fourth, was broken again in the first game of the second set, allowing Cilic to dominate in front of 1,000 Indian fans at the Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium.
"I know the crowd was with Janko, but I played to my potential and won," Cilic said.
"It is great to be in the final here again, a very good way to start the year. This was my best match in the tournament. I served well and hit well from the back.
"He was trying to come back in the second set, but I did not give him an opening. I feel really good about my game and look forward to returning to the court tomorrow."
Cilic had defeated Indian wildcard Somdev Devvarman in last year's final.
Wawrinka, beaten in the first round here last year, broke Sela in the 10th game to wrap up the first set in 51 minutes.
Sela hit back by breaking Wawrinka in the third and seventh games of the second set which he won easily in 39 minutes to draw level.
Both players traded a break each early in the decider before Sela faltered with his serve in the 12th game to hand Wawrinka victory.
"It was a relief to get out of that one," said Wawrinka. "It was a real tough match because he seemed to return everything I had.
"But I am glad I kept the pressure on till the end and won. It was a good win for me."Stan at Chennai Open:1st Round:def. R Bopanna 6-1 6-4
2nd Round:def. M Russell 6-3 6-4
Quarter F:def. M Berrer 7-6 6-4
Semi Final:def. D Sela 4-6 6-2 7-5
Final: vs Cilic !