Tennis

Stepanek wins Washington title

2011-08-08 07:15
Radek Stepanek (File)

Washington - Radek Stepanek became the oldest winner of the ATP Washington Classic since Jimmy Connors in 1988, the 32-year-old Czech upsetting French top seed Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4 in Sunday's championship match.

Stepanek won his first ATP title in 2 1/2 years and the fifth of his career, rushing the net to control the tempo and frustrate the fleet-footed Frenchman to claim the $264 000 top prize at the $1.4 million US Open hardcourt tune-up.

"It's a great satisfaction for me," Stepanek said. "It's great to still be able to compete with the young guns."

Stepanek, the oldest player in the world's top 100, became the ATP's oldest champion since France's Fabrice Santoro at 35 at Newport in 2008, Washington's eldest winner since a 35-year-old Connors and a top-30 player after starting the week ranked 54th.

"We're like wine. The older we are getting, the better we are," Stepanek said. "Age doesn't matter. It's how you feel.

"The speed is leaving slowly. We can't compete with Mama Nature. But I'm working hard and it's nice to see it paying off."

Stepanek had lost five of seven prior matches to Monfils, including their most recent clash two weeks ago on Hamburg clay, but dominated his first final since last year at Brisbane for his first title since 2009 at San Jose.

"I still believe in myself," Stepanek said. "That's why the emotion was there, winning a big tournament at this stage of my career. It will give me a bit of confidence, a great boost for the rest of the summer."

Seventh-ranked Monfils, in his first US final and his first final of any kind since last year's Paris Masters, fell to 3-11 in ATP title matches, foiled in a bid for his first outdoor hardcourt crown and fourth career title.

"To be honest, I'm unlucky," Monfils said of his finals failure rate.

Monfils, who never managed a break point against Stepanek, also said he was a bit tired after his rain-hit semi-final finished only 14 hours before the final started.

"But when you step on the court you forget about this," Monfils said.

Stepanek came to the net for 29 of his 57 points. While connecting on only 37 percent of his first serves, he won 90 percent of those points, including all 12 in the final set, and took 63 percent of second-serve points.

"He didn't miss much," Monfils said. "I was a fraction slower as well. I couldn't hit many passing shots. He played a great match."

Fromn the start, Stepanek moved to keep Monfils on the defensive.

"I wanted to be in control," Stepanek said. "If I was going to go for it or miss it I wanted to decide all the points. It was my game plan to be aggressive and attack when I can. I was in control from the first point to the last."

Stepanek broke Monfils with a backhand winner down the line in the third game of the match and led 3-2 when rain halted play. A break in the rain allowed them to play three points, enough for Stepanek to hold to 4-2, before another downpour hit.

"He was very aggressive," Monfils said. "I expected that but he didn't miss a lot at the start, hit it pretty deep and fast. This was a bit tricky for me."

When play resumed, each man held twice, Stepanek taking the set on a service winner after 54 minutes.

Stepanek broke Monfils again to open the second set, the Frenchman racing down the Czech's forehand volley but netting a forehand. Stepanek made the break stand, serving out to win after 93 minutes with a forehand volley winner.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
Vote

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.