Cilic beats Wawrinka in Chennai Open final
Marin Cilic needed two tie-breaks to score his first win in five meetings against Stanislas Wawrinka in the singles final of the $400,000 ATP Aircel Chennai Open tennis tournament, here Sunday for his fourth career pro tour title.sports Updated: Jan 10, 2010 21:40 IST
Marin Cilic needed two tie-breaks to score his first win in five meetings against Stanislas Wawrinka in the singles final of the $400,000 ATP Aircel Chennai Open tennis tournament, here Sunday for his fourth career pro tour title.
Second seeded Cilic, who won the two-hour, 40-minute clash 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3), was richer by $68,450 and picked up 250 points to become the first player in the tournament history after Carlos Moya (2004, 2005) to annex back-to-back titles, while Wawrinka pocketed $35,980 and 150 points.
Cilic, who at 21 and ranked 14, is reckoned one of the future stars, showed far more variety in his shots and played the big points well besides serving consistently well to emerge a deserving winner.
Cilic's inside-out crosscourt bullets, apart from the trademark double-fisted backhand down the line shots and some crafty soft balls that lured Wawrinka to the net only to be passed were eye-catching as also very effective.
Saturday night, after his semi-final win, Cilic had said of his clash with Warinka that "a lot of things have changed" since the defeat, his fourth in as many meetings, at the 2008 French Open, and the observation was spot on.
The 24-year old Wawrinka, seeded third and ranked 21, rarely displayed the kind of form that had helped him beat World No.1 Roger Federer at the Monte Carlo Masters last year. His fitness was certainly a suspect especially after having played a 2-1/2 hours semi-final match last night.
Wawrinka, the first Swiss to reach the final of this tournament since Thomas Enquist in the inaugural year 1996, was unable to sustain his level of play that alternated between brilliant and ordinary.
The match began rather quietly with both players indulging in long rallies that seemed to favour Cilic far more than Wawrinka who just about survived two break points in the third game, thanks to his big serve, but blew other chances to win the first set.
Wawrinka, seeking his second career ATP title and his first in over three years, had his chances when he served for the set after breaking the Cilic, a quarter-finalist at the 2009 US Open, in the eighth to lead 5-3, but was broken in the very next game. He then wasted breakpoint in the 12th as the set flowed into tie-break where Cilic's solid serves tilted the balance.
The Swiss No.2 was also distracted by a few line calls that went against him besides having a sprained neck attended to courtside when leading 4-3 on serve.
The second set began with back-to-back service breaks in the second and third games. Thereafter both players blew a few breakpoints with Cilic, leading 5-4 on serve, wasting a match point in the 10th as Wawrinka hung on to draw level at 5-5 that inevitably led to a second tie-break.
As in the first set, Cilic's serve proved decisive as a tired looking Wawrinka finally drilled a backhand crosscourt wide and crashed to defeat.