Milos Raonic beat top seed Fernando Verdasco in the SAP Open final to become the first Canadian in 16 years to win a title on the men’s tennis circuit.
Raonic, 20, saved four set points in the opening set yesterday before winning his first ATP World Tour final 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5) in San Jose, California. Spain’s Verdasco has now lost nine of his 14 tour finals.
Raonic, who reached the round of 16 at last month’s Australian Open as a qualifier, is the first Canadian to win on the ATP Tour since Greg Rusedski in Seoul in 1995. He’s also the youngest Tour winner since Marin Cilic took the 2008 New Haven title one month shy of his 20th birthday.
“I hope I can keep this going,” Raonic said in comments posted on the tournament’s website. “At this level, to go through a whole week without losing a match is great. I’ll always remember this.”
Australian Open champion Kim Clijsters, who will today reclaim the No. 1 ranking in women’s tennis, lost in straight sets against Petra Kvitova in yesterday’s GDF Suez Open final.
The 27-year-old Belgian, who won her previous two matches against the Czech, was beaten 6-4, 6-3 in about an hour in Paris.
Clijsters ensured her return atop the WTA tour rankings, displacing Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, for the first time since March 2006 following a quarterfinal victory three days ago.
Elsewhere, Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova won her first title in almost four years with a 6-0, 6-2 victory against Sara Errani of Italy in the Pattaya Open in Thailand.
Robin Soderling retained his Rotterdam title with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 defeat of France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Swede has now won all four of his meetings with Tsonga.