25 Feb MOYA OUTLASTS McENROE FOR 2ND DELRAY BEACH TITLE
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MOYA OUTLASTS McENROE FOR 2ND DELRAY BEACH TITLE
[column size=”00-1″ last=”1″ style=”1″]Spaniard Dominating ATP Champions Tour By Steve Dorsey
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – He was a French Open champion, helped Spain capture a Davis Cup title and earned a No. 1 ranking in the world during his ATP World Tour career. Carlos Moya now can add another impressive accomplishment to his professional tennis resume.
Moya became the first two-time ATP Champions Tour winner at the Delray Beach ITC when he defeated Hall of Famer John McEnroe 6-4, 6-2 Sunday in the final of the three-day tournament.
Moya, who has finished each of the last two years ranked No. 1 on the ATP Champions Tour since a foot injury forced his retirement from the ATP World Tour in 2010, extended his unbeaten match record here to 7-0. He punctuated his second consecutive Delray Beach title by defeating one of the game’s legends on a hot Sunday afternoon at the Delray Beach Stadium and Tennis Center.
“It’s such a pleasure to play John McEnroe, who I used to watch as a kid,” said Moya, who defeated Ivan Lendl, his boyhood idol, in last year’s final and now has won eight Champions Tour titles.
McEnroe, who like Moya won both of his round-robin matches to earn a berth in the championship final, showed early he was not going to be a pushover for the 36-year-old Moya, who is 18 years McEnroe’s junior. But heat and age difference might have played a factor in Moya’s ability to take charge of the match in the second set when he broke McEnroe twice in the last four games to clinch the match and stamp his name in the Delray Beach ITC record book.
“He has a tricky game. It’s not easy to play him and it was a bit windy,” Moya said of McEnroe. “He’s still serving well and has got great volleys. He doesn’t allow you a lot of rhythm and plays very flat, something that I’m not very used to. But it’s fun to watch and fun to play.”
McEnroe said he thought the heat and humidity affected both players, but conceded that the better player on this day won.
“Carlos was just too good,” said McEnroe, who also was a finalist in the tournament’s inaugural year in 2010 but has yet to win the Delray Beach title in three appearances. “I’m pleased with how I played. The conditions today were tough. I don’t think either Carlos or I are used to playing in heat and humidity like this anymore. But I’ve had a great week here and the fans have been fantastic, so I’m leaving here happy.”
Moya, who is 36, said he didn’t think that his career has been resurrected on the Champions Tour despite his success so far.
“I’m having a lot of fun playing these events,” he said. “I’m happy with the way I’m playing and I’m happy to be playing in this event, and I’ll keep on playing as long as they want me to.”
Aaron Krickstein took home the third-place trophy, rallying from a first-set loss to defeat Mats Wilander 4-6, 7-5 (10-5). Krickstein, who runs a tennis academy in nearby Boca Raton, won two of his three matches during the three-day event and improved his record to 7-6 at the Delray Beach ITC.
Following the match, Wilander was presented his gold International Tennis Hall of Fame ring. Wilander, whose Wilander on Wheels (WOW) tour conducts teaching clinics around the country, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002, but personalized rings were only introduced last year and are being presented to Hall of Famers at tennis events around the world over the next few years to commemorate their induction.
“I think when you first start playing tennis, the last thing on your mind is being inducted into the International Hall of Fame,” Wilander said after receiving his ring. “Then it happens, but it really hits you when you arrive in Newport and see it’s real. I feel great about being there.”
Four first-round matches in the ATP Tour’s ITC main draw will be played Monday. Three of the top eight seeds will be in action – No. 8 Xavier Malisse (NB 2:30 p.m.), No. 5 Alexandr Dolgopolov (NB 6:30) and No. 3 Sam Querrey (NB 8:30). There’s also four qualifying matches beginning at 11 a.m. to determine the final four open spots in main draw.