- ATP Tour
Roddick earns first grass-court title for five years
Andy Roddick, the three-time Wimbledon runner-up, will enter the 2012 iteration of SW19 bursting with confidence after he claimed victory in the AEGON International final on Saturday.
Roddick, who came into the tournament riding the longest losing streak of his career (six matches), faced an opponent in Andreas Seppi who contrastingly has never been in better form. However, it was one-way traffic in the final as the American roared to a 6-3 6-2 triumph that will not have gone unnoticed by the favourites heading into Wimbledon.
Sixth seed Roddick had not featured in an ATP Tour final since February 2011 and had gone five years without success on grass. Seppi was undoubtedly the form man, coming off a triumph in Belgrade last month, and he had not dropped a set all week.
That soon changed though as Roddick set about winning an ATP title for a 12th consecutive year. For context, only Roger Federer currently matches him for longevity.
After a break apiece in the opening three games, Roddick penetrated the Seppi serve again and then found his first ace in the fifth game to cement a 4-1 lead. Creating nine break chances in the first set, he converted a third for 5-1, serving out at the second attempt after Seppi closed the gap to 5-3.
No American has won an ATP crown in 2012 so Roddick was fighting not only on behalf of himself but also of his country, and it was his returning ability - not his trademark serve - that was doing most damage. The wildcard won seven of 15 points on Seppi's first delivery early in the second set, and the pressure predictably resulted in another break.
Seppi, the reigning champion, was left with the daunting job of having to break the Roddick serve to stay in the contest, something that simply did not look likely as the American operated at a 90% first-serve success rate early in the set.
One small window of opportunity was quickly shut by Roddick before he turned the spotlight back on the Italian, breaking yet again to build himself a cushion. In the end, victory arrived in 72 minutes as Roddick clinched his 31st career title.