Tennis: Corretja ends the long wait

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ALEX CORRETJA became the first Spaniard to win a men's indoor tournament for 22 years yesterday when he beat the German, Tommy Haas, in the Grand Prix final in Lyons, France.

The French Open runner-up won 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 and qualified for next month's ATP Tour world championship in Hannover, Germany. The world No 7 Corretja emulated his compatriot Manuel Orantes, the last Spaniard to achieve an indoor triumph. He took the 1976 Masters in Houston, Texas.

"I will never forget the week I had here. I had lost a final in France this year, in Paris, and this makes it even more special." said Corretja. It was by no means an easy win for him. Haas led 6-2, 3-1 and appeared on course for victory when the Spaniard finally reacted. He broke back in the fifth game of the second set and each player held serve until the tie-break.

Corretja had to save one match and forced a deciding set by an 8-6 margin when the German hit a forehand wide. It was the end for Haas, who lost his serve and was permitted only one more game. "I promise you I'll be back to win this tournament," said Haas, who also lost last year's final to Fabrice Santoro.

n The self-confessed slow starter Mary Pierce picked up sufficient speed to overhaul second seed and world number six Monica Seles 7-6, 6-3 in the final of the Kremlin Cup WTA event in Moscow yesterday. The Canadian- born French fifth seed was trailing 3-1 in the first set but bounced back well.