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Daily Archives: January 13, 2008

Tennis: Roddick clinches Kooyong hat-trick

Andy Roddick sealed his Australian Open preparation with a third straight Kooyong Classic title yesterday, defeating Marcos Baghdatis in the final 7-5, 6-3.Roddick, ranked sixth in the world, fired ten aces and nailed the win over the Cypriot with an untouchable serve after 76 minutes.The American added the former Australian Open finalist to his list of Kooyong victims who include Tommy Haas in 2006 and Roger Federer in 2007.The hat-trick equalled the three in succession won by fellow American Michael Chang from 1995-1997."Winning here means I'm well prepared for the Aussie Open," said Roddick, who faces a qualifier in the Grand Slam first round. "Winning shows you what you've accomplished and that you're ready to go."Roddick, who did not drop a set at Kooyong, said: "I'm happy and ready to go for the Open."Baghdatis was strongly supported by his contingent of Melbourne fans in a city which he calls his second home."When I walk down the street, every third guy is a Greek and speaking Greek," said the Cypriot. "I'm very comfortable here."Baghdatis fell victim to Roddick's big serve but was not disappointed with his overall performance. "I've had a good four days here.""I'm really happy to have played this week," said Baghdatis, who was a late substitute for the ill Roger Federer. "I still need some more matches but I hope to go well next week."Roddick said he was grateful for the presence of his coach of more than one year, Jimmy Connors."Jimmy will stay for the Open. We've not gotten a lot of face time, since I had some injuries in the autumn and then focused on the Davis Cup, spending a lot of time with the team."Though Connors "won't travel 30 weeks per year" with him, Roddick said the pair will "focus more on preparation, spending off-weeks together instead of him showing up at tournaments as a band-aid (plaster) effect."

Tennis: Russia’s Tursunov wins Sydney International title

by Robert Smith* Russian Dmitry Tursunov beat power-serving Australian Chris Guccione in two tiebreak sets to win the Sydney International men's title yesterday.Tursunov broke the deadlock in both sets to win 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4) in 1hr 22min.The Californian-based Russian won his fourth career ATP title following tournament wins in Indianapolis and Bangkok last year and Mumbai in 2006.Tursunov also became the first Russian since Wimbledon champion Alex Metreveli in 1972 to win the Sydney International title, formerly the NSW Open.There were no break point opportunities in the two sets and Guccione lost despite dropping just 10 points in his 12 service games.The 35th-ranked Tursunov was a member of the Russian team that lost the Davis Cup final 4-1 to the United States in Portland, Oregon, early last month.Guccione, ranked 125, was playing in his second ATP final after losing to Serbia's Novak Djokovic in Adelaide last year.The tall Australian left-hander, who received a wildcard into the tournament, reached the final after wins over Spanish qualifier Alberto Martin, sixth-seeded compatriot Lleyton Hewitt, fourth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych and unseeded Czech Radek Stepanek.Seeded 32 at next week's Australian Open, Tursunov has a first-round match against Belgium's Xavier Malisse, while Guccione takes on Asia's leading player South Korean Lee Hyung-Taik.It was the first men's final at the Sydney International tournament between two unseeded players since Lleyton Hewitt beat Jason Stoltenberg in the all-Australian final in 2000.Tursunov pounced with two mini-breaks in the opening tiebreaker and clinched the opening set seven points to three when Guccione hit an unforced backhand into the net.Again games went with serve in the second set and Tursunov had early control after rifling a volley as Guccione positioned at the net.

He brought up two match points with a rasping return of serve and then forced Guccione to hit wide on the first match point to claim the title.