Chennai - World number eight Stanislas Wawrinka has warmed up for the Australian Open later this month by bagging the ATP Chennai Open title with a fluent victory over Edouard Roger-Vasselin on Sunday.
The top-seeded Swiss, playing his 500th ATP Tour match, outclassed the 52nd-ranked Frenchman 7-5, 6-2 in the 90-minute final at the Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium.
It was the fifth career title and the second in Chennai for 28-year-old Wawrinka, who emerged from the shadows of his renowned Swiss compatriot Roger Federer with a top 10 finish last year.
"This is big for sure," said Wawrinka, who has a 302-198 career win record. "It has been an amazing week for me and put me in the right frame for the Australian Open.
"Winning in Chennai means a lot to me. I like the place and that is why I have played here for six years now. This is just the place I want to start the season from.
"Last year was very good for me and I hope this year will also be the same. I have practised hard and tried to improve my game. This is just the first tournament of the year, I hope I can continue this way."
The morale-boosting win ahead of the year's first Grand Slam in Melbourne, starting January 13, earned Wawrinka the winner's purse of $72,490 and 250 ranking points.
Seventh-seeded Roger-Vasselin received $38,180 and 150 points.
The first set lasted an hour as both players held serve till the 10th game, before Wawrinka broke through in the 11th with a backhand cross-court shot that left Roger-Vasselin stranded.
The Frenchman, playing only his second final in a 12-year career, lost his serve in the opening game of the second set and then again in the fifth game before Wawrinka served out the match with an ace.
Wawrinka won the title without dropping a set during a bruising week in which six players, including second seed Mikhail Youzhny of Russia and third seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy, were sidelined due to injury.
A seventh player, defending champion Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, withdrew before the tournament began due to a heel injury.
Roger-Vasselin said he will leave Chennai with mixed feelings as he heads for a tournament in Sydney later on Sunday night.
"This is a bit of a heartbreak for sure," said the 30-year-old. "It was very disappointing to lose the final but there was little I could do to change that.
"Stan was too good for me and deserved to win. I tried my best, did everything that I could. But then I had just one breakpoint in the whole match.
"On one hand I am not happy I lost the final, but then I can say this has been a good week for me. I go from here with mixed feelings, but hopefully I will do better next time."