Tennis: World No. 4 Stan Wawrinka sails into Chennai Open final

Stan Wawrinka returns a shot against Benoit Paire during the Chennai Open Tennis Championship.
Stan Wawrinka returns a shot against Benoit Paire during the Chennai Open Tennis Championship.PHOTO: AFP

CHENNAI (AFP) - Defending champion Stan Wawrinka sailed into the ATP Chennai Open final on Saturday after defeating France's Benoit Paire, inching closer to a third consecutive title in southern India.

The world No. 4 took just 1hr 5min to beat third seed Paire 6-3, 6-4 at the Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium, setting up a title clash with Borna Coric of Croatia.

"I'm happy with what I have done so far. I'm feeling great. But you know, the season is really on... Hopefully, I can stay fit and ready for a long season," the 30-year-old said after winning.

Two-time Grand Slam winner Wawrinka is seeking to get his name on the Chennai Open trophy for the fourth time in the US$480,000 (S$692,000) tournament, after earning victories in 2011, 2014 and 2015.

A victory in India will help keep top seed Wawrinka in prime condition before the Australian Open kicks off on Jan 18 in Melbourne.

Two years ago, the Swiss clinched his first Slam when he won the Australian Open just weeks after triumphing in Chennai. Last year, he followed up victory in the southern city by taking home the trophy at Roland Garros in June.

Meanwhile, eighth-seeded Coric reached the final after beating Britain's Aljaz Bedene in the nearly three hour-long second semi-final.

The Croat fought off a spirited challenge from Bedene before winning 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (5-7), 6-3.

The final takes place later on Sunday.