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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Krajicek Triumphs in St. Pete




ST. PETERSBURG -- Top-seeded Richard Krajicek of the Netherlands defeated fourth-seeded Marc Rosset of Switzerland to win the St. Petersburg Open tennis competition.


The 1996 Wimbledon champion won 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) playing to a packed stadium Sunday at SKK stadium.


But in the opening games, it was not at all certain whether Krajicek would come out on top.


Rosset controlled the early going with his massive, near-perfect serves, while Krajicek made numerous unforced mistakes and seemed to be losing his serve.


But the world No. 9 fought back to gain control and overtake Rosset, whose confidence ebbed as Krajicek's increased.


The Swiss player's serve lost its initial brilliance, notching an increasing number of faults.


The match between these two giants, with Rosset at 2.01 meters and Krajicek at 1.95 meters, could be described as baseline-dominated, but it would be more accurate to say that while Rosset stuck to the back of the court, Krajicek mostly stayed with his traditional serve and volley. It carried him through a difficult second set with each player fighting tooth and nail to gain control.


As Krajicek won one game, Rosset won the next and so on. Neither player controlled the set that grew faster and more aggressive as it went on.


But world No. 30 Rosset's big serves stopped unnerving Krajicek, who finally ousted Rosset in the dramatic tiebreaker.


Rosset was morose after the match, answering virtually all questions with a string of "don't knows." He could not explain why he lost his early winning streak, saying: "I don't know. It's strange, I was leading 4-2 [in the first set] and everything seemed to be OK in the game. I cannot really tell you."


Krajicek was similarly surprised. He acknowledged it was a tough match and that Rosset "made it difficult" at the beginning with his huge serves.


"Then out of the blue the match changed," he said. "In the first half, I thought I had no chance. But in the second half, [Rosset] made lots of mistakes and made it pretty easy."


The Dutch player said his main aim this year is to improve his Grand Slam performance.


"I think that is a goal [for this year], to play better in the Grand Slams," he said.


There were no surprises in the doubles as fourth-seeded pairing Nicklas Kulti and Mikael Tillstrom of Sweden beat South African duo Marius Barnard and Brent Haygarth 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).