Mon, Feb 27, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Raonic, Melzer set up clash thriller in ATP Memphis final

AFP, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

Jurgen Melzer of Austria reacts as he breaks the serve of Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic in their Memphis Open men’s singles match in Memphis, Tennessee, on Saturday.

Photo: Reuters

Red-hot Milos Raonic booked a finals showdown with Austrian Jurgen Melzer on Saturday at the US$1.37 million ATP and WTA Memphis Open.

Canada’s Raonic, seeking a third ATP title of the year, subdued Germany’s Benjamin Becker 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, Melzer defeated Czech third seed Radek Stepanek 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

WOMEN’S ACTION

Women’s action wrapped up on Saturday night as Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson notched her second career title — and her second in Memphis — with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over fourth-seeded Marina Erakovic of New Zealand.

Arvidsson shook off a sluggish start to polish off the victory in 1 hour, 24 minutes, lifting the title six years after she won her only previous WTA Tour trophy at the same venue in 2006.

“I think I’m going to buy a house here,” said Arvidsson, who also reached the Memphis final in 2010. “I just love to play here.”

Raonic, 21, won his ninth straight match and said he feels he’s improving with every contest.

“I feel like I’m not stalling at any point,” he said. “I’m constantly getting better throughout the matches. That’s very encouraging. It’s something fun to build off of.”

RED HOT

Raonic, seeded fourth, fired 14 aces past Becker and never faced a break point as he stayed on course to add to the titles he has won this year in San Jose, California, and Chennai, India.

The Canadian, who has won 19 successive sets since he fell to Lleyton Hewitt in the third round of the Australian Open, converted both of his break opportunities.

“I felt in the beginning, he started well, especially serving, but I was able to get close in the games, and that put a little pressure on him,” he said.

Melzer, who upset US top seed John Isner in the quarter-finals, was delighted to find himself in the final.

“I’ve played a great tournament thus far,” he said. “Reaching a final is something special. I haven’t played a final since 2010.”

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