Chennai: Top seed and defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka punctured the challenge of Benoit Paire with remarkable ease on Saturday and earned himself a shot at a third successive Chennai Open title by reaching the singles final.
Wawrinka literally walked into the summit clash with a dominating 6-3 6-4 win over the French third seed in the semifinals of the USD 482,085 hard court tournament.
In seven meetings, it was the sixth win for Wawrinka over Paire and third in a row. The only time the Frenchman, world number 19, managed to beat the Swiss world number four was in 2013 in Canada.
"It's never easy against him. He was serving well, I needed to play my best against him. His backhand was also good. I have played against him a lot and it was not easy," Wawrinka said.
Paire knew he had to do something different to stop Wawrinka and he employed the strategy of charging to the net. It worked to get some points but was never enough to halt someone with the calibre of Wawrinka. Paire managed to stay with the French Open champion till the fifth game of the opening set.
However, one such attempt put him down by a breakpoint when he failed to pick a volley off Wawrinka's return, crashing it into the net. Down a breakpoint, he committed a similar error to hand Wawrinka a 4-2 lead.
It became 5-2 with the Swiss holding his own the next game. Paire, though, hit some impressive passing winners which, however, were not many in number.
The top seed closed out the set in the ninth game with a booming serve, clocking 185kmph.
In the second set too, Wawrinka was quick to pounce on the first available opportunity, breaking Paire in the third game. He held his own without any trouble to give himself a 3 -1 cushion.
Serving for a 4-2 lead, Wawrinka faced a breakpoint for the first time in the match but saved that with a thunderous serve, breaching the 200kmph mark.
Paire fell down, watching the ball pass him from an unreachable position. It was largely representative of the way the match had gone, dominated by the Swiss.
Paire was struggling with his movement in the eighth game, playing at least two shots without moving an inch and managed to win both and held.
The Swiss served an ace to earn his first match point and converted it when Paire's return kissed the net.
Wawrinka now awaits winner of the other semifinal between Borna Coric who defeated Aljaz Bedene 7-5 6-7 6-3 in the other semifinal.