Chennai: Swiss tennis star Stanislas Wawrinka overcame Belgian Xavier Malisee in a hard fought three-setter to lift the Chennai Open singles title here on Sunday.
In a marathon 134 minute summit clash, Wawrinka overcame a sluggish start to register a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 to head to the Australian Open on a victorious note.
After splitting the first two sets, Wawrinka, a finalist here last year, raised the level of his game by a few notches and came out victorous.
Wawrinka, in his third appearnce here, became the first wild card entrant to clinch the title in tournament`s 15-year history.
Wawrinka was undecided about playing here initially, but then sought a wild card to play this time around.
World number 25 Wawrinka was brilliant at net.
Malisse, the 2007 champion here, rarely succeeded with backhand returns while Wawrinka excelled with inside out shots.
Wawrinka broke Malisse twoce -- eighth and 12th games -- to put his nose ahead but a drop of serve in the third game of the second set brought the match to even terms.
Riding on that break, Malisee went on to win the set and stretch the match to a decider but lost steam in the all-important final set.
Wawrinka broke the Belgian as early in the second game and almost sealed the fate of Malisee when he broke him for second time in the sixth game.
Wawrinka clinched the final with an overhead smash.
Later, Wawrinka said he was disappointed in his first visit having to go out in the first round itself but did well to reach the final last year.
"I always wanted to come here and win a title and I am happy to achieve it this time. I had worked on my techniques during the off season and had prepared well for this tournament.
"As I had predicted earlier, it was a tough final and Malisse in our first meeting really played well and gave a big fight. Malisse tightened his game in the second and was more aggressive than me and I could not get back after the break. It was difficult for me to find solutions and I also made few errors in between," Wawrinka said.
Wawrinka, Olympic Gold medalist with Roger Federer, became richer by USD 68,850 and collected 250 ATP ranking points for his win while Malisse collected USD 36,250 and 150 points.