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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, April 17, 2006

American Fish nets second tour crown

Associated Press

Mardy Fish reacts after beating Jurgen Melzer in the final of the U.S. Men's Clay Court Champion-ships. "It's been an incredible week for me," the American said after he collected $52,000 for winning the clay-court tournament.

DAVID J. PHILLIP | Associated Press

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It's been a long comeback for American Mardy Fish, and he's not done yet.

Two wrist surgeries last year kept him from competing much, but he proved yesterday he's finding his form, rallying from a set down to beat Jurgen Melzer, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, to win the U.S. Clay Court Championship at Houston.

Next on his to-do list: making the main draw at Wimbledon in late June.

"It's reachable now," he said. "I need to bear down again, forget about the last two weeks and start over."

Fish, who had lost six of seven tour finals before yesterday, came into the clay court tournament after winning a lower-tier tour event in Tallahassee, Fla., last week. He said he plans to play four more of those before Wimbledon to gain enough ATP points to get straight into the Grand Slam draw.

Melzer netted a high, easy backhand volley on match point and Fish fell to the ground along the baseline and lay on his back in jubilation after his second tour victory.

"It's been an incredible week for me," Fish told the crowd after collecting his $52,000 winner's check. "I didn't expect to be standing here in front of this trophy to have my name on it."


Nadia Petrova battled stifling heat, sore legs and the temptation to retire yesterday to defeat Patty Schnyder, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, and win the Family Circle Cup for her second straight tournament victory.

Petrova, who also won last week at Amelia Island, now has four tour victories, all in the last six months. Her first came last October at Linz, Austria, where she also defeated Schnyder. Petrova won last month at Doha but yesterday at Charleston, S.C., was her first top-tier tournament win.

"I really had a difficult time today. Maybe it has to do with all the matches I have played. Energy-wise I wasn't in the best of shape," Petrova said after the two-hour match played in 88-degree heat. "At one stage in the match I wasn't really sure if I was able to finish it."

By making the final at the Family Circle, Petrova will improve two spots to her highest ranking at No. 5 in the world. The Russian's previous high was No. 6 last year.


Valencia Open: Qualifier Nicolas Almagro won his first ATP title yesterday, beating Gilles Simon of France, 6-3, 6-2, at the Valencia Open at Madrid, Spain.


Dennis Lajola of 'Aiea fell in the final of the boys 18 singles at the Easter Bowl tournament yesterday, losing to No. 1 seed Donald Young, 6-3, 6-1, at Palm Springs, Calif.

Lajola, who has been playing on the international junior circuit the past few years and was a member of the U.S. Junior Davis Cup team, reached the doubles semifinals at the Easter Bowl.

Advertiser Staff