Feliciano Lopez was crowned SA Tennis Open champion yesterday in Montecasino after a comfortable straight-sets victory over first-time ATP Tour finalist Stéphane Robert.
The 39th-ranked Lopez broke in last game of the first set and then cruised in the second to earn his first title since 2004. The Spaniard never faced a break point but created 12 as he continually pressured Robert on his serve, breaking two more times in the second set.
"It's been six years since my last ATP title, which was also my first, so to win again is very sweet," said the 28-year-old Spaniard, who beat top-seeded Gael Monfils in the semifinals. "Playing tennis at high altitude here in Johannesburg where the game is faster suits me because I like to hit the big shots and go to net."
Robert was playing in his first career ATP final. He returned to the tour just six months ago following a long bout of hepatitis that sidelined him for the previous 15 months.
"This has been a very big week for me," the Frenchman said. "I'm not a power player like Feliciano and my game is more suited to clay-court tennis. But I've proved to myself here that I can also be competitive against the big servers at altitude, and I beat four of them to get to the final."