Malisse meets Wawrinka in summit clash

MARCHING ON: Stanislas Wawrinka saw off the challenge of top-seed Thomas Berdych to set up a title clash with Xavier Malisse. Photo: M. Vedhan

MARCHING ON: Stanislas Wawrinka saw off the challenge of top-seed Thomas Berdych to set up a title clash with Xavier Malisse. Photo: M. Vedhan  

Stanislas Wawrinka reached his second consecutive Aircel-Chennai Open tennis final with a 6-4, 6-1 shellacking of top-seeded Tomas Berdych on Saturday.

The third-seeded Swiss set up a summit clash against Belgian Xavier Malisse — the 2007 winner — following a rout of the 2010 Wimbledon finalist, Berdych, who struggled to get his first serves in for most of the semifinal.

Showing no signs of fatigue after a late-night quarterfinal on Friday, Wawrinka broke Berdych, the top seed and World No.6, once in the first set and thrice in the second, his stunning one-handed backhand emerging in all its glory.

Berdych managed to get on board in the second set, with a hold in the opening game, after which Wawrinka rattled off six consecutive games, sealing the win with another break.

Berdych, stranded at the net, could only turn and watch as a perfectly-placed lob soared and descended, kissing the baseline on match-point.

Impressive Malisse

In the other semifinal, seventh-seeded Malisse surmounted an indifferent start to register a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic.

Malisse was broken in the second game and surrendered his first set in the tournament before getting his act together and scoring a win in what was his first meeting with Tipsarevic.

The players traded breaks to start the second and, serving at 3-4, Tipsarevic over-hit a backhand down the line to give Malisse another break, which the Belgian capitalised on, closing out the set on serve in the next game

Tipsarevic got increasingly fidgety in the decider and came close, twice, to giving his racquet the Alejandro Falla treatment.

At the other end, Mallisse, now serving fearlessly (five of the Belgian's eight aces came in the third set), found depth in his ground-strokes and opened up the points with angled hits down either flank.

The 30-year-old broke Tipsarevic first up in the third set, and added another break in the seventh game. A hold by Malisse, aided by two crunching aces, brought about an end to the match after 97 minutes on court.

Nishikori out

On Friday, Tipsarevic recorded 6-4, 6-4 win over Japan's Kei Nishikori.

The 26-year-old from Serbia avoided going the way of defending champion Marin Cilic and Colombian Alejandro Falla — both Nishikori's victims in the tournament — when he prevented the Japanese from taking the match into a third set.

Tipsarevic broke Nishikori in the seventh game to go up 4-3, and led by a set after hanging on to his service games. Nishikori, who had come back to win from a set down in his previous matches here, raised visions of a similar comeback when he broke Tipsarevic for 2-1 in the second set.

But Tipsarevic, broke right back and breached Nishikori's serve again in the seventh game for 4-3.

Serving at 3-5, Nishikori saved a match-point and held serve, before Tipsarevic disallowed any misadventures with a business-like hold, going through in an hour and 42 minutes.

The results: Singles: Semifinals: Xavier Malisse (Bel) bt Janko Tipsarevic (Srb) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2; Stanislas Wawrinka (Sui) bt Tomas Berdych (Cze) 6-4, 6-1.

Quarterfinal: Tipsarevic bt Kei Nishikori (Jpn) 6-4, 6-4.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 1:41:48 AM |

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