CHENNAI, India (AP) — Stan Wawrinka will defend his Chennai Open title against Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, the first qualifier to reach the final in the tournament’s 20-year history.
Wawrinka, also preparing for his defense of the Australian Open title, beat fourth-seeded David Goffin of Belgium 7-5, 6-3, while Bedene knocked out a third seed this week when he overcame third-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8) in the semifinals on Saturday.
Looking for his third title here, Wawrinka had to slug it out with Goffin in the first set, then cruised after breaking him in the second game of the second.
Wawrinka said he was looking forward to his fourth final at Chennai.
“I lost against him here some years ago and he played amazingly then,” Wawrinka said of his loss to Bedene in the 2013 quarterfinals, though he beat him last year at the same stage. “It’s going to be a really good match, an interesting one for sure.”
In reaching his first career final, Bedene also became the first Slovenian to make an ATP final since October 2012.
In a match replete with service breaks, Bedene saved four match points, including two in the tiebreaker.
He made 20 unforced errors to lose the first set tamely but rallied for a memorable win over 15th-ranked Bautista Agut, the ATP’s most improved player of 2014.
Bedene slammed seven of his 15 aces in the deciding set.
“I’ve worked hard and have been playing well this week,” said Bedene, who has dropped only two sets in three qualifying matches, and four in the main draw.
Bedene has beaten second-seeded Feliciano Lopez, and fifth-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, both from Spain.