Top seed Stan Wawrinka won the Japan Open on Sunday after thrashing Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-4 to capture his fourth title of the year.
French Open champion Wawrinka took just 65 minutes to complete victory in Tokyo with Paire, who underwent a scan on his left ankle before the final and needed pain-killing injections to play, clearly in discomfort.
“It feels really great, it’s been a special week,” said Wawrinka, sporting a red “Stan the Man” T-shirt and snapping selfies silver trophy.
“I took my time to get to the top but once I get somewhere, I stay,” added the Swiss after winning his 11th career title. “Once I started to beat the top guys and win trophies, I got the confidence to know I can do it. But four in one year is amazing.”
Wawrinka quickly found his groove and fierce pressure earned him a break for 4-2 in the first set. The world No 4 pressed home his advantage with a thumping crosscourt forehand which wrong-footed
the his close friend Paire.
With little left in the tank after toppling defending champion Kei Nishikori in Saturday’s semifinals, Paire took a tumble early in the second set but gamely battled on despite being obviously in pain.
The “lucky” sneakers held together by tape he wore in his win over Nishikori granted Paire no such mystical powers against Wawrinka as he looked to become the first Swiss to win the Japan Open since Roger Federer in 2006.
Several times Wawrinka’s dipping one-handed backhand, one of the most potent weapons in men’s tennis, whistled past a grimacing Paire, whose brave resistance finally ended when he coughed up a double-fault on match point.
Wawrinka, who is a perfect 4-0 in finals this year and is one of four players - along with Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Federer - already qualified for next month’s season-ending ATP Tour Finals in London, confessed to having mixed feelings after his victory.
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland reaches for a return against Benoit Paire of France during their men’s singles final match at the Japan Open tennis tournament in Tokyo, yesterday. PHOTO AFP