The American James Blake won his sixth title in 12 months when he beat Carlos Moya, of Spain, 6-3 5-7 6-1 on Saturday to win the Sydney International for the second year running.
Blake held off a brave fightback from Moya to join Pete Sampras and Lleyton Hewitt as the only men to win the title in successive years since tennis turned professional in 1968.
Moya, the runner-up in Sydney in 1997 and again in 2004, looked to be heading to a straight-sets defeat when he trailed 4-0 in the second set before fighting back to force a third set by winning seven of the next eight games, an effort that brought the Sydney crowd to its feet. But Blake, ranked four in the world, ran the Spaniard ragged in the decider to gain a psychological advantage over Moya with the pair drawn to play each other on Tuesday in the Australian Open first round.
Andy Murray will be joined in next week's Australian Open draw by his fellow Scot Alan Mackin, who sealed his first place in a Grand Slam main draw outside Wimbledon by coming from a set down to beat the world No 137, Federico Luzzi, 2-6 6-3 6-4 in the qualifying tournament. Mackin will face Nicolas Lapentti, of Ecuador, in the first round.
Mackin, 25, had earlier pulled off superb wins over the higher-ranked Davide Sanguinetti and Alex Bogomolov Jnr, and Murray said: "For Alan to qualify on merit is obviously great. I don't want to put pressure on him but I think with the right guidance and the right people around him, he could be in the top 100. He just needs to learn to relax a little bit on court."Reuse content