Lopez wins SA Open title

SPANIARD Feliciano Lopez sunk to his knees and removed a monkey off his back after winning his first ATP singles title in six years yesterday.

SPANIARD Feliciano Lopez sunk to his knees and removed a monkey off his back after winning his first ATP singles title in six years yesterday.

The good-looking 28-year-old beat French Stephane Robert 7-5 6-1 in the South African Open final at Johannesburg's Montecasino.

It was, in fact, only the third seed's second major career singles title following on his victory in Vienna in 2004, with additional sweeteners on the R600000 winner's prize and a world ranking that is expected to be elevated from 39th to 31st when the new ratings are released today.

There seemed no lack of confidence as Lopez dominated the match against Robert with his potent serve and took a stranglehold on the proceedings in the second set by reeling off five games in a row.

But Robert, the relatively unknown 100th-ranked player in the tournament, had no cause to feel disgraced with his performance.

This was Robert's first ATP final and he emerged with enhanced stature and credit.

He got a runners-up prize of R300000. - Sapa

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