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Klizan beats Fognini to win first ATP title at St. Petersburg

Associated Press

9/23/2012 11:27:28 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Martin Klizan of Slovakia defeated Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday to win his first career ATP title at the St. Petersburg Open.

The third-seeded Klizan broke the fourth-seeded Fognini twice in the first set and four times in the second, including in the final game when the left-handed Slovak hit a cross-court forehand winner to seal the victory.

Klizan had used his only ace of the match to close out the first set.

In the past seven months, the 23-year-old Slovak has moved up from No. 121 in the world to a career-high 45 in a breakthrough season that included reaching the fourth round of the U.S. Open by beating No. 6-ranked Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.

He reached the final in St. Petersburg by upsetting top-seeded Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in a three-set match that lasted nearly four hours on Saturday. After a short break, Klizan played a doubles semifinal, which he and his partner lost.

"I was really dead yesterday after the match, but I played very solid this week and I'm very happy that I won this week," Klizan said. "It's my first title and I hope not last, and I hope I can make more points in the end of this season."

Klizan said he was serving better than on Saturday, when his back was giving him some trouble.

The 25-year-old Fognini, ranked 53rd, was playing in his second ATP final after losing to Gilles Simon on clay in Bucharest earlier this season.

In an error-filled performance on Sunday, he won only 40 per cent of the points on his first serve, including 27 per cent in the final set, compared to 68 per cent for Klizan.

"To play a final like this, it's sorry, especially for me," Fognini said. "I don't play my best tennis for sure today."