Frenchman Nicolas Mahut won a wild and wooly Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport on Sunday, surviving his semifinal and final in the same day after rain on Saturday.
The wildcard Mahut defeated American Michael Russell in a little over an hour before outlasting former Wimbledon champ and No. 4 seed Lleyton Hewitt 5-7, 7-5, 6-3.
“When you want to win a final, everything can happen. I just can’t believe it’s true,” Mahut said. “A month ago I was playing to make the cut for the qualies at the US Open, I was 240 with some points to defend. I told my coach, I have to play great on grass to make the cut for the qualies. A month later I have two titles.”
Hewitt served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but could not close.
“It was a long battle this morning,” said Hewitt, who in his semifinal defeated John Isner in three sets. “It was tough on both of us. In the end I got the better of John. It was going to be pretty wearing for either of us coming back-to-back this afternoon.”
Fabio Fognini was the unlikely winner in Stuttgart, claiming his first career title as the No. 5 seed, defeating No. 2 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 for the MercedesCup title.
“Finally, after two finals, I have won,” Fognini said. “This gives me a lot of confidence. I will never forget my first title. It would be great to play on hardcourts like this.�
Argentine Carlos Berlocq was another first-time winner over the weekend, defeating Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco 7-5, 6-1 for the title at the SkiStar Swedish Open.
The 30-year-old Berlocq, No. 74 on the ATP Rankings, denied Verdasco who was appearing in his first final since March of 2012 when he lost to countryman David Ferrer at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel.
Roberta Vinci beat Italian countrywoman Sara Errani in the Palermo final 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, denying the defending champion.
“Sara started to play much better in the second set,” Vinci said. “Starting the third set I was 4-0 up and had a lot of chances for 5-0 but lost the game and started to get a little bit nervous, but at the end I won, so I’m really happy right now.”
It was the second title of the year and ninth career for Vinci, improving to 9-1 in career finals. “I live here and practice here at this club, so winning here is fantastic for me,” Vinci said. Errani dropped to 7-7 in career finals.
Simona Halep won her third title in five weeks on Sunday, defeating Yvonne Meusburger 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-1 for the title at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“I had match points in the second set and she came back, and it was very difficult to win after that but I did and I’m very happy,” said Halep, who improved to 16-1 since the French Open.
“I think Simona and I played a really good match today,” said Meusburger after her first final. “It was a great atmosphere to play here. The people were really great and they were helping us both during the match, I think. But at the end she was just better and she really deserved to win the title today.
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