Chennai Open: Wawrinka sets up semis date with Paire

Wawrinka played at his opponent’s pace, erred occasionally, but kept himself stable in evenly-fought rallies with Garcia-Lopez.

Stan Wawrinka smashed 14 aces compared to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez's 5.   -  M. Prabhu

Courtesy of a better all-round game, in service, in defence, and attack, led by his typically scorching backhand, top seed Stanislas Wawrinka overcame fifth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets to enter the semi-finals of the Chennai Open.

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Wawrinka played at his opponent’s pace, erred occasionally, but kept himself stable in evenly-fought rallies with Garcia-Lopez. The tangible difference surfaced at the end, and it was easy to see why: Wawrinka had a better first-serve percentage (74 per cent to Garcia-Lopez’s 59), a better aces count (14 to Garcia-Lopez’s 5), and a big difference in the number of winners (27 to Garcia-Lopez’s 9). It tells the tale of the underlying domination not completely represented in the score-line.

There were hiccups for the ATP World No. 4, though. After coming close to breaking Garcia-Lopez in the first game of the match, he succeeded at it at 1-1, but underwent a lapse soon. A few unforced errors in his own service game helped Garcia-Lopez break back, but any ideas of a reversal were quickly put to bed by an authoritative game, replete with winners, to get claim another break, to eventually take the set 6-4.

He avoided any such pitfall in the second set.

At 3-3, he engaged in long rallies with Garcia-Lopez, and got the better of them to take the break. Lopez was induced to hit a couple of balls long, and Wawrinka took another point by a soft drop shot in the middle of a long rally. The path through to victory was smooth from there. Wawrinka served out the match nicely, finishing off with an ace, symbolic of the hold he had on the contest.

“[Garcia-Lopez] made it very tough for me throughout the match. So, I had to stay focused. From the beginning to the end it was a great match,” he said after the match.

He put the win down to simple things.

“I was serving well, and moving around the court well. I was aggressive throughout the match.”

His next opponent, in the semis, will be Benoit Paire, the third seed here, who defeated Thomas Fabbiano 6-4, 7-5 in a match running parallel at Court One.

“It’s going to be a really tough match. He has a strong backhand, and he has been serving well. We know each other very well, so it is not going to be easy to play against someone like that.”

The ease with which he has clinched his two wins has made it highly probably that he will defend his title here. Chennai is has been a tennis destination that seems profitable for him.

“I enjoy playing in the conditions here in Chennai, and I have won the last two titles by playing really good tennis. I hope I can continue playing at that level.”

From the evidence of today, he looks like he will.