Re: ATP Finals
Mardy Fish lifted his fourth ATP World Tour trophy (4-11 final record) at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport on Sunday.
The fifth-seeded American hit 24 aces past No. 4 seed Olivier Rochus of Belgium for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory in two hours and four minutes. It was his first grass-court title after three runner-up finishes on the surface.
“It means a lot to win now on every surface in my career – indoor, outdoor, hard, clay and grass,” said Fish. “I’ve certainly lost a lot of heartbreak finals, and it feels good to win one.”
By capturing his first tour-level title since March 2009 at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, Fish will jump around 30 spots to No. 49 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings on Monday.
The 28-year-old Florida resident picked up a cheque for $75,700 and earned 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points, while 29-year-old Rochus received $39,780 and 150 points.
The first set went with serve to 5-5 when Rochus broke and converted his second set point opportunity to clinch the 45-minute opener. Fish had hit seven aces and dropped nine service points.
At 1-2, Rochus fell to 15/40 and was broken by Fish, who maintained the advantage and hit his 15th ace to win the second set in 30 minutes.
Fish broke Rochus at 4-4 on his fourth break point opportunity of the third set with a forehand volley winner. The former World No. 17 was then forced to save two break points before closing out his 23rd victory of the season on his second championship point.
“I was feeling really good on the court,” said Rochus. “It was just one or two points. The last two games were so close. I had two break points [at 4-5], game points at 4-all. It’s just like this. When it’s that tight, one has to win. But Mardy was pushing hard at the end and his serve was really good, so maybe he deserved it a little more.”
Fish, who set up both of his championship points with aces, said: “I served great, and I needed to for sure. I served great when I needed to in that last game… If I didn’t come up with those [aces] he probably was going to break me eventually.”
Over the past 10 months, Fish has dropped 30 pounds in weight due to a strict diet and training regime with trainer Christian LoCascio. Last month he finished runner-up to Sam Querrey at the AEGON Championships, another ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament, in London.
“In that spot and that atmosphere, it was tough to swallow,” Fish said of the loss at the Queen’s Club. “I wanted to play this match on my own terms, figure out a way to win it or lose it on my racquet.”
World No. 65 Rochus, who did not drop a set en route to his eighth ATP World Tour final (2-6 lifetime), was the first Belgium in tournament history to contest the championship match.
Steve Darcis was the last Belgian titlist at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis in February 2008.