The victory marks his 300th on Tour; Bhambri loses to Pospisil
Stanislas Wawrinka notched up his 300th tour win as he coasted to a 6-2, 6-1 quarterfinal victory over Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene at the Aircel Chennai Open. There was to be no repeat of last year’s episode when an irate Wawrinka, sulking over a couple of line calls, had lost to the same opponent at the same stage.
“I didn’t know about it before coming here,” said Wawrinka of the landmark. “But now that I do, it feels special to have achieved it. It’s an amazing feeling. Over the past years I have taken some time and a few matches to get into good form. But this year it’s been different and I am feeling very good.”
The scoreline was flattering, even more impressive than his destruction of Benjamin Becker in the previous round. But it was a workout that the top seed would not have minded.
Bedene’s serve let him down; he held only once in the whole match.
It took the Slovenian five games in the opening set to get on the board. Wawrinka was serving for the first set at 5-0 when Bedene was presented with three break points.
After fluffing the first two, he took the third with a fantastic on-the-run forehand pass. The crowd applauded vociferously and made its desire for a closer match known.
Bedene was broken early in the second too.
But the only change in pattern from the first set was that he broke right back. Quite uncharacteristically, Wawrinka served two double faults to drop serve.
Bedene turned more aggressive, but it was all misdirected. His serves had pace but they only ended up right in Wawrinka’s strike zone.
On occasions, it was bad luck that proved Bedene’s undoing: twice he had Wawrinka on the mat, but the net-cord dragged his ball wide.
If there was one take-away from the match for the Slovene, it was that he made Wawrinka work for his points, making him to hit that one extra shot.
For Wawrinka, the plus was that, he could step it up when pushed.
His backhand failed on occasion but it was right on the money when it mattered the most: on game points in the fourth, fifth and sixth games of the second set.
Wawrinka now faces fifth seed Vasek Pospisil, who brought the Indian challenge in the singles draw to a close by beating Yuki Bhambri 6-3, 6-3.Solitary break
A solitary break in the first set, and breaks in the opening and closing games of the second helped Pospisil clinch the match.
Asked after his victory over Fabio Fognini about the one big improvement from last season, Bhambri had picked his net game.
On Friday, Bhambri did make a lot of forays forward, but his approach shots were left wanting.
Bhambri failed to earn even a single breakpoint through the match as he lost in an hour and ten minutes.
Late on Thursday night, the top seeded doubles duo of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam ul-Haq Qureshi were upset 7-5, 2-6, 12-10 by wild cards Karen Khachanov and Saketh Myneni, after the Indo-Pak pair squandered four match points in the match tiebreak.
R. Ramkumar and Sriram Balaji lost too, falling 6-3, 6-3 to Croatia’s Marin Draganja and Mate Pavic.
Singles: Quarterfinals: 7-Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Fra) bt Dudi Sela 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-0; 1-Stanislas Wawrinka (Sui) bt Aljaz Bedene (Slo) 6-2, 6-1; 5-Vasek Pospisil (Can) bt Yuki Bhambri (Ind) 6-3, 6-3; 6-Marcel Granollers (Esp) bt 4-Benoit Paire (Fra) 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(5). Doubles: Quarterfinals: Marin Draganja & Mate Pavic (Cro) bt Sriram Balaji & R. Ramkumar (Ind) 6-3, 6-3.
On Thursday: Second round: Karen Khachanov & Saketh Myneni bt Rohan Bopanna & Aisam ul-Haq Qureshi 7-5, 2-6, 12-10.