Following a less-than-stellar opening to his season at an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi, Chennai defending champion Stan Wawrinka will look to right his earlier wrongs with a solid showing in his tournament opener against rising star Borna Coric. This marks the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour and could be a remarkable opportunity for Coric to start his year with a massive upset of a Grand Slam champion.
At the Mubadala World Tennis Championships last week, Stan Wawrinka needed just 61 minutes to dispatch Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-2. It was a no-nonsense performance from the world No. 4, as he served with sublime accuracy and had no issues with his one-handed backhand on this occasion. However, faced with the task of fending off world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Wawrinka failed to win a single set and eventually lost the contest in straight sets. He would even lose the battle for third place against Rafael Nadal, who defeated him 7-6(1), 6-3 after his thrashing at the hands of Andy Murray the previous day.
Already in Chennai, 18-year-old Borna Coric began his season with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Robin Haase. It was a fantastic performance from the youngster in his debut that lasted a total of 66 minutes and sets him up for an entertaining second round encounter against Wawrinka. The Croatian is a formidable force, as he made a memorable impact on the tour when he upset Nadal at the Swiss Indoor Open before reaching the semi-final round of the event.
While this marks the first time that Wawrinka and Coric meet on the professional tour, it has the makings of an intriguing and competitive affair. Wawrinka is yet to find his top form ahead of his Australian Open title defense, while Coric is brimming with confidence and looking for an early upset to turn the tides in 2015.
Prediction: Borna Coric in Three Sets