Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt ended a two-year title drought on Sunday with a victory over Wayne Odesknik in the final of the US Clay Court Championship.
Australia’s Hewitt defeated the American 6-2, 7-5 to claim his 28th ATP title — just his second on clay.
Hewitt hadn’t won a title since March 2007, when he triumphed in Las Vegas.
Until last year, Hewitt had won at least one ATP title for 10 straight years.
“This is what all the hard work is for, to play weeks like this and have this kind of feeling at the end,” said Hewitt, who is working his way back from left hip surgery last August. “It makes going through the surgery and all the hard work worth it. It’s good stuff.”
After taking the opening set, Hewitt quickly went up two breaks in the second, but Odesnik, playing in his first ATP final, won the next five games.
However, Hewitt wouldn’t let Odesnik level the match, winning the last four games to secure the victory.
“Clay is a tough surface to close players out,” Hewitt said.
“I was playing great tennis up to that point, but he’s a tough player and he doesn’t give you any cheap points out there. He makes you work for all of them. I felt I was able to put pressure on him up to that stage,” Hewitt added. “Even though he got back in that second set every game he won, I had game points. It could easily have been 6-1 in the second set.”
Hewitt has now won 499-169 matches on the men’s tour, and could notch his 500th match win at this week’s Monte Carlo Masters, where he has received a wild card entry.
He has drawn a first-round meeting with another former world No. 1, Russian Marat Safin.
Roger Federer and Carlos Moya are the only active players with 500 or more match wins.
AFP, PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA
Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark beat Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak 6-1, 6-2 on Sunday to win the WTA claycourt tournament in Ponte Vedra.
Denmark’s Wozniacki made just just 14 unforced errors and won 84 percent of points on her first serve to lift the trophy.
Taiwan’s Chuang Chia-jung teamed up with India’s Sania Mirza to win the MPS Group Championships’ doubles final.
The pair earned a 6-3, 4-6, 10-7 victory in a thrilling match against top seeds Lisa Raymond of the US and Czech Kveta Peschke.
It was the second meeting in as many tournaments for the duos after Mirza and Chuang lost to Raymond and Peschke in the semi-finals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne last week.
Chuang and Mirza won US$5,500 each for their victory on Sunday. Chuang’s doubles ranking jumped two places to 15th in the world following the victory.
Wozniacki claimed her fourth career title and her first this year.
Wozniacki played with her right thigh bandaged for the second straight match, but she said her injured leg no longer hurt and she felt as quick as ever on the court.
“The speed is one of my pluses,” she said.
She also coped better with the heat, after experiencing dizziness and nausea in her semi-final victory over Elena Vesnina.
She kept ice bags near her chair and used them at times during the changeovers to cool down.
“They were precautionary,” she said. “I didn’t want the same thing to happen today as happened [on Saturday].”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER
AP, MARBELLA, SPAIN
Jelena Jankovic beat Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 on Sunday to win her first title of the season at the Andalucia Tennis Experience.