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Lopez retains Eastbourne title, Keys wins her 1st

  • Article by: BARRY WOOD
  • Associated Press
  • June 21, 2014 - 12:20 PM

EASTBOURNE, England — Feliciano Lopez of Spain completed a successful title defense when he beat top seed Richard Gasquet of France 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-5 in the Aegon International final on Saturday.

It's the first time the third-seeded Lopez has retained an ATP title, and the first time he has beaten Gasquet in their six meetings.

Madison Keys earned her first career WTA title by beating Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in the women's final.

Playing in her first final, unseeded 19-year-old Keys became the first American to triumph since Chanda Rubin won back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003, and she is the youngest American to win a singles title since Vania King in Bangkok in October 2006.

Lopez held championship point against Grigor Dimitrov last week at Queen's Club, and he is the first player to reach back-to-back grass-court finals before Wimbledon since 2001, when Lleyton Hewitt won at Queen's and s-Hertogenbosch, and Thomas Johansson won Halle and Nottingham.

There was little to separate him and Gasquet, with two breaks giving the Spanish left-hander the opening set, and Gasquet, the 2005 and 2006 champion, sneaking the tiebreaker in the second.

In the third set, games went with serve until Lopez broke to lead 6-5 and then served out for the fourth title of his career.

Kerber lost in the Eastbourne final for the second time - to Tamira Paszek in 2012 - and in a final for the third time this year after defeats in Sydney and Doha. She was seeking her first title came winning Linz in October 2013.

"I'm so incredibly happy," said Keys, who on Monday should be ranked in the top 30 for the first time. "You know, it's one of those things where when you're training and you don't want to be there, you're tired or everything hurts, it's one of those things where you think of this moment, and, you know, it really helps push you through all the hard times.

"My serve was definitely a weapon today, and it really helped me through the entire time."

Keys' win came after she fired 17 aces and struck a serve clocked at 126 mph (203 kph), the fastest this year on the WTA tour, and if confirmed, would establish her as one of the top five fastest servers since records began in 1989.

Most of the rallies were short and just one break of serve decided the first two sets, with Keys breaking to lead 3-1 in the first and Kerber 2-0 in the second.

Games went with serve in the third until the dramatic 12th game. Kerber held two game points to take the set to a tiebreaker before Keys claimed victory on her fourth match point.

"It's always not easy when somebody is serving like she did the whole match," Kerber said. "She played at a really high level."

With Coco Vendeweghe winning at s-Hertogenbosch, two American women have won titles in the same week for the first time since February 2002.

Two Spanish men also won titles on Saturday, with Roberto Bautista Agut winning his first title at s-Hertogenbosch.

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