Carlos Moya won his second straight Chennai Open title by rallying from a 5-2 deficit in the third set to beat Paradorn Srichaphan 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) on Sunday in a rematch of last year's final.
Moya donated his winner's check of US$52,000 to relief efforts for the Dec. 26 tsunami-earthquake catastrophe that killed more than 150,000 in Asia.
The fifth-ranked Moya is the first player to win the hard-court tuneup for the Australian Open in consecutive years. Paradorn reached his fourth straight final at the tournament, but his lone championship came in 2003.
"I was extremely lucky to win today," Moya said. "It's a great way to start the year."
Moya, the 1998 French Open champion, twice broke Paradorn when the Thai player served for the match in the last set.
Fourth-seeded Vince Spadea of the US took only 45 minutes yesterday to blank David Sanchez of Spain 6-0, 6-0 in the first round of the US$426,000 tournament.
Spadea, an Auckland regular since 1995, overwhelmed his Spanish opponent, allowing Sanchez only 17 points in 12 games.
The pair had met only once previously and Sanchez had prevailed in straight sets on clay in Austria.
Spadea, Chicago-born but a Florida resident, was more at home Monday on Auckland's hard courts and in warm and humid conditions.
"I like the Auckland surface, it suits my game," Spadea said.
Fifth-seeded Fernando Gonzalez, backed by a raucous crowd of Chilean compatriots, beat James Blake of the US 7-6 (4), 6-1. Blake played for the US in last week's Hopman Cup.
Jose Acasuso of Argentina beat Julien Benneteau of France 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in a center court match between unseeded players which lasted almost three hours. Potito Starace of Italy beat New Zealand wildcard Mark Nielsen 6-4, 6-4, and Mario Zabaleta of Argentina defeated New Zealander G.D. Jones 6-0, 6-2.
Australian Wayne Arthurs opened center-court play at the Medibank Sydney International yesterday with a 7-6 (1), 6-7 (4), 6-3 victory over Filippo Volandri of Italy.
Arthurs, who has played behind Lleyton Hewitt and Mark Philippoussis in Australia's Davis Cup team, said he's happy to take over the No. 2 singles role for the Aussies with Philippoussis injured and a March first-round encounter scheduled against Austria.