Melbourne - Belgian David Goffin put the
final polish on his game for the Australian Open by beating explosive Spaniard
Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-2 on Friday to win the Kooyong Classic.
The world number 16 overcame a lightning
start from Lopez, three behind him in the rankings, with the Spaniard producing
love games on his first two serves before simmering down.
The set turned in an instant at 4-4 with
Lopez broken for 4-5 and Goffin snapping up the set after 33 minutes. The
Belgian took full advantage of his lead by breaking to start the second set.
With the Lopez game suddenly in free fall,
Goffin consolidated with a break for 3-0 and moved out to 5-2.
Lopez rallied briefly in the penultimate
game, saving three match points and holding for 2-5 with his seventh ace of the
afternoon before Goffin served out to secure the title.
The Belgian finished in just over an hour
with 17 winners and five breaks of serve; Lopez was felled by 29 unforced
errors, going nil-for-six on break point chances.
"It was a fantastic week for me,"
said Goffin, who begins at the Australian Open next week against Ukraine's
"This is the best way to prepare for the
Grand Slam. The conditions (rain, heat) are just what you expect for the
Lopez put in a humorous plea to Kooyong
club officials whose venue will host the Davis Cup first-round tie against the
US on grass in March.
"I have a special wish: please keep
the grass courts for us to play on next year," said the Spaniard who has
achieved three Wimbledon quarter-finals and has always had a love for the
The pre-Australian Open Kooyong is played
on the identical hard-court used at Melbourne Park to exactly duplicate
conditions at the first major of the season, starting Monday.
In the playoff for third and fourth place,
Spain's Pablo Carreno-Busta defeated Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-4, 3-6, 10-3.
"It was a good match for me, I'm happy
with my form. I'm ready for the Open," Carreno-Busta said. "I had a
tough match with Gilles but it will help to be ready for the Open."