Top seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia lived dangerously before making the final with a confident 6-1, 6-4 triumph over qualifier Go Sodea of Japan in the semi-finals of the ATP Tour $450,000 Chennai Open Tennis championship on Saturday.
World No. 9 Tipsarevic, billed to start the new season with a title win, did not exert himself but played to his game plan against Sodea, who created history to be the first Japanese star to make the semi-final of a ATP Tour event.
Contrary to expectations that Soeda would make an interesting semi-final, he succumbed to the pressures brought about by the consistent and aggressive Serbian.
Tipsarevic had made a big jump last year to top ten rankings climbing from No. 49 to No. 9 in 2011 and earned an alternate spot at Barclay's ATP World tour final in London.
Tipsarevic played a marvellous game bringing in variety and winning each of the vital points throughout the first set where he had breaks in the second and fourth games to lead 5-0 and then went on to win the set in just 23 minutes.
The Serbian was effective in his perfectly executed strokes, while Sodea to his credit brought in some changes in his approach in the second.
Soeda's decision to slowdown the pace on Tipsarevic's serves and then steadily upping the pace to leave the Serbian in two minds was noteworthy as he came near breaking games twice. However, Soeda managed to take his first two services game and then was broken in the fifth game.
Once Soeda broke back in the sixth game, the match became lively. Tipsarevic could not take the Japanese for granted as Soeda was creating opportunities to match the senior pro.
It was seen in the seventh game that went into deuce twice. That was the fighting capabilities of Soeda, who had to finally give away on an unforced error. Thus, Tipsarevic led 5-3 and raised his game to greater levels and played with utmost confidence, as he needed to hold on to his service games for winning the match.
As for his final match on Sunday against fourth seed Milos Raonic of Canada, a solid youngster known for his aces, Tipserevic will have a tough time in winning the title.
The big-serving Canadian youngster Raonic reached his third ATP Tour final after a 6-4, 6-4 thrashing of World No. 10 Nicolas Almagro here.
Ranked 31, Raonic took 72 minutes to dispatch his Spanish rival and earn a shot at his second ATP title, having won one in 2011 at San Jose.
Raonic's game plan was clear -- to use his most potent weapon, the fierce serve and he did that quite impressively.
He broke Amlagro in the seventh and ninth games of the two sets to clinch the issue.
Almagro did counter with an attacking game but Raonic was just unstoppable.
Almagro's deep returns in the second set were spot on as he was up for fight but it was Raonic's day out.
Almagro saved the first of the two breakpoints in the ninth game but could not save the second one and Raonic served out the match in the next game without any fuss.
Raonic said tomorrow will be a big day for him as he has reached final of a tournament at the start of the season.
"It is important for me. It is a big difference to be finalist in the beginning of the season. It is not only important for me but it is important for my tennis and the recognition I get as a player in the final," he said.
"If I do things together and if I get right tomorrow, the title should come to me as I have the game to win," he said.