Tue, Feb 17, 2009 - Page 19 News List

SAP win moves Stepanek to perform ‘worm dance’

AP , SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA

Fourth-seeded Radek Stepanek won his second ATP title this year, rallying to beat fifth-seeded American Mardy Fish 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the SAP Open on Sunday.

Afterward as he celebrated, Stepanek donned a San Jose Sharks jersey and paraded around the court. He dropped to the ground briefly for a mini-version of the worm dance he has become known for, then jumped to his feet and held his arms in the air as the crowd applauded.

A day after rallying from a set down to beat last year’s champion, Andy Roddick, in the semi-finals, Stepanek was forced to do the same against Fish while becoming the first Czech player to win the San Jose event since Ivan Lendl in 1983.

Stepanek got some help from his 27-year-old opponent. Fish lost 10 straight points during one stretch in the third set, nine by unforced error.

The turning point of the match came in the second set when Stepanek held serve to go up 5-4 then broke Fish to even the match and force a third set. Prior to that Fish had been broken just once in 45 service games.

■OPEN GDF SUEZ

AFP, PARIS

France’s Amelie Mauresmo capped her stunning resurgence in form this week with a 7-6 (9/7), 2-6, 6-4 victory over Russian third seed Elena Dementieva in the final of the WTA Paris Open on Sunday.

It was the former No. 1’s first tournament win since Antwerp, Belgium, in February 2007 and her third victory over a top 10 player in a week after she defeated Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarter-finals and Jelena Jankovic in the last four.

Dementieva slumped to just her second defeat this year, having won tournaments in Auckland and Sydney before losing to eventual champion Serena Williams in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

Mauresmo has slipped to No. 24 in the world after a succession of injury problems but looked back to her best as she captured her third Paris Open title.

■DUBAI CHAMPIONSHIPS

AP, DUBAI

Alisa Kleybanova rallied to beat Anna Lapushchenkova 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in an all-Russian match on Sunday in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Kleybanova, who reached the fourth round of the Australian Open, will next face former top-ranked player Ana Ivanovic, who had a bye in the first round.

Ivanovic has slipped to No. 8 in the WTA rankings, but she recently started training with a new coach — Craig Kardon.

Seeded players Zheng Jie and Kaia Kanepi also advanced to the second round. The 13th-seeded Zheng defeated Anastasia Rodionova of Russia 6-1, 6-1, and the 16th-seeded Kanepi beat Tamira Paszek of Austria 2-6, 6-2, 6-0.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia beat Maria Kirilenko of Russia 6-2, 6-4 and Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria defeated Viktoriya Kutuzova of Ukraine 6-2, 6-3.

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