DELRAY BEACH: America’s Mardy Fish became the first top seed in the 17-year history of the Delray Beach tennis championships to win the title, beating Russian qualifier Evgeny Korolev 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday.
Fish endured a wind and a rain delay of about an hour, then converted his fifth match point to earn his third career tournament championship.
“Today was one of those matches where you just want to get off the court with a win,” Fish said. “It was like I don’t care what the score is, I don’t care what it looks like, I just want to get off this court with a win.”
Heading into the match, Fish had won the 2003 Stockholm and 2006 Houston tournaments. He lost in the San Jose, California final earlier this month.
“It’s been well chronicled that I’ve had a lot of losses in finals,” Fish said. “I’d certainly like to feel I’m a better player than three titles, but it is what it is.”
Korolev, who initially held a 5-3 lead in the match, said Fish was too strong and too experienced for him to contend with during the final.
When the players returned to the court after the rain delay at 1-1 in the first set, the power-hitting Korolev pulled ahead to a 5-3 lead.
As it turned out, Korolev couldn’t hold on to his advantage and lost the next four games to drop the first set.
In the second set, Fish immediately broke out to a 3-0 lead and held on to the service break throughout the remainder of the match. —AP