On Day 3 of the Chennai Open, all eyes were on the defending champion Stan Wawrinka as he began his quest for a third singles title at India’s only professional ATP tournament. The reigning Australian Open winner did not disappoint his legion of fans as he posted a commanding victory over young Borna Coric to enter the quarter-finals.
In doubles, it was a good day for India as the two pairs – Mahesh Bhupathi/Saketh Myneni and Purav Raja/Adil Shamasdin – both won their respective opening matches.
Wawrinka enters quarters of Chennai Open
World No. 4 Stan Wawrinka began his title defence in style, hammering 18-year-old Croat Borna Coric into submission. With his trademark backhands on display, the Swiss claimed a quick first set 6-1 in 22 minutes.
The talented Coric started reading his higher-ranked opponent’s game much better in the second set. It was a neck-to-neck affair till 3-3 after which Stan broke to go ahead 4-3, courtesy a backhand error from Coric. Despite some dogged resistance from the youngster towards the end, the top-seeded Wawrinka held on to win 6-1, 6-4 in 68 minutes.
The two-time singles champion will next meet the eighth seed Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in the quarters. Muller defeated Elias Ymer of Sweden 6-4, 6-3 in his second round match on Wednesday.
Goffin struggles to win
Fourth seed David Goffin, in contrast, had a tough start to his Chennai Open campaign. The World No. 22 Belgian captured the first set 6-0 in 19 minutes by virtue of some sizzling forehands.
His opponent, Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania, put up a much better fight in the second set. After breaking Goffin in the first game, he piled on the pressure on the 24-year-old to take the second set 6-4.
In a tightly-contested decider, Goffin first broke to go up 5-3. But a determined Berankis broke back to force a tie-break. The fourth seed then played some exquisite tennis to clinch the win 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(1).
David Goffin will next take on Andreas Haider-Maurer in the quarters. The Austrian upset rising star Jiri Vesely 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4 in a hard-fought second round encounter on Wednesday.
Mahesh Bhupathi makes a winning return
Mahesh Bhupathi who launched the highly successful International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) recently, made a comeback as a player on the courts where he had won the doubles title 5 times. Pairing up with Asian Games mixed doubles gold medallist Saketh Myneni, he began his comeback by losing the first set to the debutant Sood brothers 6-7.
The experienced duo later on withstood a strong challenge from the Sood twins to ultimately snatch the win 6-7(4), 6-4, 10-6.
Bhupathi to meet Paes
Bhupathi and Myneni’s triumph sets up an exciting clash between old partners as Bhupathi-Myneni will now face Leander Paes and Raven Klaasen in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Purav Raja wins
There was double delight for Indian fans as Purav Raja also won his match partnering Adil Shamasdin of Canada. They beat Bedene/Dzhumur 6-1, 6-2. In the third doubles match of the day, Berankis/Pavic beat Muller/Sijsling 7-6(7), 3-6, 10-8.
With the form that Stan Wawrinka has shown on Day 3, he looks very much determined to take the crown again. On Thursday, two of the other top contenders for the title, Feliciano Lopez and Roberto Bautista Agut, begin their challenge.
But Indian fans will be keenly waiting for the big doubles clash – Paes v Bhupathi. With all Indians crashing out of singles on Day 2, they remain India’s best hope for the Chennai Open title.