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Chennai tune up for Wawrinka

Published:Sunday | January 4, 2015 | 11:36 PM

CHENNAI, India (AP) - Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka will sharpen his preparations for the defence of his only Grand Slam title at the Chennai Open this week.

The world No. 4, who lost to Novak Djokovic on Friday in an exhibition in Abu Dhabi, received a first-round bye in Chennai and is drawn to play either Croatian player Borna Coric or Robin Haase of the Netherlands in the second round.

Wawrinka made his career breakthrough last year after clinching his second title at Chennai, overcoming Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and going on to defeat Rafael Nadal in the final.

Wawrinka also helped Switzerland win its maiden Davis Cup title with an epic victory over France. He defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the singles and also figured in a doubles win along with Roger Federer.

"The (Chennai) tournament was a great start to an amazing year in 2014 and I hope that it will be the same in the new year," the 29-year-old said ahead of the 20th edition of south Asia's only ATP World Tour event. "I've had a few great wins (last year), starting from the ones against Novak, (Tomas) Berdych and Nadal in Melbourne as well as beating Roger in the final in Monte Carlo."