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Melzer Defends Vienna Title; Boosts London Chances

Vienna, Austria

Jurgen Melzer© Getty ImagesJurgen Melzer improved to a 3-7 record in ATP World Tour finals.

World No. 12 and top seed Jurgen Melzer successfully defended his title at the Bank Austria TennisTrophy Sunday after battling to a 6-7(10), 7-6(4), 6-4 victory over lucky loser Andreas Haider-Maurer in an all-Austrian final in Vienna.

"It was a very tough match for me today," said Melzer. "He was really serving well, and then at the end he was serving for the match, I was a little lucky to get back into the match. I’m really fortunate to defend my title. I’m very happy. It’s a lot of emotions going through a match like this. Winning the title, it means a lot to me."

Victory marked Melzer’s first ATP World Tour title of the season and gave a boost to his chances of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The left-hander, currently 11th in the year-to-date ATP Rankings, is chasing one of the three remaining berths in the elite eight-man field and earned 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points as champion of the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament.

Enjoying the best season of his career on both the singles and doubles courts, Melzer, who is the only player on the ATP World Tour ranked inside the Top 15 in both singles and doubles, has already qualified for the doubles year-end championships with fellow Wimbledon champion Philipp Petzschner.

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The 29-year-old Melzer was made to work hard for his third career ATP World Tour title by the No. 157-ranked Haider-Maurer, who benefitted from the withdrawal of fifth seed Ernests Gulbis before beating Thomas Muster and second seed Marin Cilic en route to his first ATP World Tour final.

The 23-year-old Haider-Maurer saved one set point before clinching a one-set lead on his fifth opportunity in a gripping first-set tie-break. He then gave himself the chance to serve for the match at 5-4 in the second set after having broken Melzer’s serve in the first game. However, nerves affected the younger Austrian and two double faults proved costly as he allowed Melzer to break back and level the match in the subsequent tie-break.

Both players saved break points in the early stages of the final set before Melzer broke through decisively in the seventh game and went on to seal victory in two hours and 47 minutes. It was the first all-Austrian final in Vienna since 1988 when Horst Skoff beat Muster.

"I’m happy with the first final, but I was up 7-6, 5-3, I served for the match," said Haider-Maurer. "I had big chances to win this title, but it’s the first time. I was a little bit nervous. Jurgen played good in this moment, and I lost."

Melzer became the first player to win back-to-back titles in the Austrian capital since Ivan Ljubicic in 2005-2006. "Playing at home is always special," he said. "Then when you actually win a tournament it’s really nice."

Haider-Maurer was bidding to become the first lucky loser to win an ATP World Tour title since Rajeev Ram triumphed in Newport in July 2009.

Despite his runner-up finish, Haider-Maurer drew positives from his performance in Vienna. "For sure I had a dream come true because now I’m near Top 100, and this is my next goal. I can learn a lot for the future and I’m happy."

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