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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."

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