Defending champion and top seed Stanislas Wawrinka cruised into the $450,000 ATP Chennai Open final with a straight-sets win over fourth seed David Goffin of Belgium on Saturday.
The Swiss world number four, who has not dropped a set in the tournament, gave the 22nd-ranked Goffin a 90-minute masterclass with a 7-5, 6-3 win at the Nungambakkam tennis stadium.
Wawrinka’s opponent in Sunday’s final will be Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene, who continued his amazing seed-slaying run with an three-set victory over third seed Roberto Bautista-Agut.
The 156th-ranked Bedene survived four match points and himself wasted one before edging out the number 15 Spaniard 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10/8) in two hours and 42 minutes.
Wawrinka said he looked forward to playing the final against a man who defeated him in the quarter-finals here two years ago.
“I saw him play today and he played really well,” Wawrinka said of Bedene. “It is going to be an interesting final for sure. One wants to win the last match of the week. I have done it before here and I want to do it again.
“As the matches go on, I feel I am getting better. I am playing with intensity and feel physically better. I am ready to push myself to win another final here.”
Wawrinka broke Goffin in the 12th game to take the first set and even though he lost his serve in the third game of the second set, breaks in the second and sixth games ensured the Swiss a comfortable victory.
Bedene’s semi-final win over Bautista-Agut was his third Spanish scalp this week, having beaten second seed Feliciano Lopez in the second round and fifth seed Guillermo Garcia Lopez in the quarter-finals.
Bedene banged in 15 aces even as both players were broken five times each in a semi-final marked by unforced errors that set up the longest match in this tournament.
Bedene broke Bautista-Agut in the opening game but then himself lost his first three service games to allow his rival to come back and take the first set.
The Spaniard wasted two match points on Bedene’s serve at 4-5 in the decider and two more in the tie-breaker, which the Slovenian won on his second match point.
The London-based Bedene, who awaits his British citizenship this year, became the first qualifier to enter the Chennai Open final.
“I am excited to play my first ever Tour final,” said the 25-year-old Bedene, who had made it to the last four here in 2013.
“It feels good the way I have played in this tournament. It is not that I served badly, but Bautista-Agut returns very well. It was a real tough match.
“I am tired after a hectic week, but I will prepare well for the final,” said Bedene, who played three qualifying matches and another four in the main draw.
The tournament, now in its 20th year, serves as a warm-up for the Australian Open starting in Melbourne on January 19. The champion will pocket $73,400 and 250 ranking points.