Living up to his top billing, Stan Wawrinka claimed his third Chennai Open singles title in a row, demolishing the challenge of Borna Coric in the final last Sunday (10).
The Swiss star and world number four strolled to a 6-3, 7-5 win over 44th ranked Coric in an hour and 26 minutes.
Wawrinka asserted his supremacy over the Croatian youngster, winning the third clash against him and extending his Chennai winning streak to 12 matches and 24 sets.
“For the past two years, I am trying to change. It is a big thing though. Trying to move better, play more aggressively, have a better forehand and serve better.
“I am happy with my improved performance this week. I served well and it was better than last year,” he said after.
With a hat-trick of Chennai Open titles now under his belt, he then thanked the crowd for their support.
Wawrinka said: “I think it is a great feeling to play and win finals. It is important to focus on every plan. When my opponent is tough and gives a fight, I myself take off. I am really happy to win it in straight sets.
“The crowd support was amazing. I am happy to have won three titles here. There is lot of support in Chennai and it is great feeling to be on court (in India).”
“When I come to a venue, I am focused and ready for the first match. I am the top seed and I am happy the way I played from the beginning of the tournament.”
Reacting to news that the Chennai Open was being extended for another three years, he said: “This is my eighth time here and if I can come back, it will be great. It is a great place to play tennis and a great city to start the year in.
“I always enjoy the people here. The fans have been nice with me every time I come here.”
Wawrinka was clearly playing at a different level and the onus to make it a contest was firmly on his opponent.
While the former Australian Open champ hardly conceded points on his serve, Coric’s serve was under tremendous pressure from the start.
It was evident in the second game of the match when Coric just survived the Wawrinka onslaught. The Swiss hit a deep return inches before the baseline, which Coric failed to return, his forehand dying at the net.
Wawrinka’s backhand was too hot as he opened the court with single-handed shots, landing very wide. Another Coric forehand landed at the net and it was the second deuce.
The defending title-holder almost repeated the strategy but could not execute the final shot in the open court and Coric managed to hold.
Wawrinka was great with his soft drop shots, using those very effectively. He broke Coric in the sixth game, hitting a backhand to the body which the Croat failed to return across the court.
Wawrinka made it 5-2 but not before defusing five breakpoints in the nine-minute game. Wawrinka never looked under pressure and wriggled out of the tight situation with his forehand winners and powerful serve.
Coric was now serving to stay in the set, which he managed, but could not stop the Davis Cup winner from pocketing the set in the next game.
The Croat succeeded in delaying an inevitable defeat and did not concede a game until the 11th game, saving a break point chance in the third game inbetween.
In that game, Wawrinka won the battle of picking drop volleys to earn a break point and converted that with his trademark backhand winner.
Wawrinka conceded only three points in the entire second set as he served four games at love. He served out the match when Coric failed to pick up another superb drop shot.
The doubles trophy was lifted by third seeds Fabrice Martin and Oliver Marach, who got the better of Austin Krajicek and Benoit Paire 6-3, 7-5.
In the 68-minute contest, the third seeds broke their rivals once in the opening set and saved two breakpoints. In the second, Martin and Marach surrendered serve but broke the opponents twice to seal the win.