Russian top seed Nikolay Davydenko pulled back a second-set break of serve on his way to a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Spain’s Fernando Verdasco to win the Malaysian Open.
The world number eight has now made it a hat-trick of titles this season after triumphing on clay two months ago in Hamburg and Umag.
“It feels just great to win here,” said Davydenko, 17-5 in finals and 6-1 over second-seed Verdasco. “I have confidence now. It was a tough match, but they are all different.” It was the sixth time this ATP season that a tournament number one and number two have squared off in a final, with the obscure record tied at three wins each.
Davydenko showed no signs of the sore wrist he has been recently treating, while Verdasco, the world number nine to the Russian’s eighth, was equally untroubled by a foot problem which is due for surgery once Spain plays the December Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic.
Davydenko took the win, his 42nd of the season, in just over 90 minutes, breaking Verdasco three times. The winner saved six of the seven break points.
Both men are fighting to secure spots in the eight-man season finals next month in London. Davydenko will play next week as fourth seed at the China Open in Beijing before competing at the Shanghai Masters.