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Melzer Tops In-Form Raonic To Win Memphis Title

Memphis, U.S.A.

Raonic, Melzer© Memphis Tennis / R. AngleMilos Raonic finished runner-up to Jurgen Melzer in Memphis.

Austrian Jurgen Melzer capped off a stellar week at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, relegating fourth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic to runner-up status for a second straight year at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament with a 7-5, 7-6(4) victory Sunday.

Melzer became the first 30 year old to clinch the Memphis crown since Ivan Lendl in 1991, and improved to a 4-7 mark in ATP World Tour finals. He also won the indoor hard-court titles in Vienna in 2009-10 and the clay-court tournament in 2006 at Bucharest.

"Of course it’s a relief to win a tournament, especially a 500; I haven’t won one before," said Melzer. "After a tough season last year, it’s obviously something nice. I played a really good match today, I kept my head in the game. I knew it was tough. He’s probably the best server on tour at the moment. Sometimes you just walk left to right without doing anything, but I felt like when the ball was in play and when I had my chances, I played really solid."

The former World No. 8, who had recorded wins over top seed John Isner and No. 3 seed and former finalist Radek Stepanek this week, broke in the 11th game before serving out the opening set. Raonic went up 4-1 in the second set, but Melzer drew level at 4-4 and proceeded to close out the one-hour, 37-minute win in the tie-break.

"After the match against John, I felt this could be my tournament because I’ve been really playing well and things have been going together," he said. "I’ve been going for lines when it was important and especially the big points I’ve been playing well the whole tournament. This is confidence, this is what you need. In the end, it’s one or two points and I’ve played those better than the other guys this week."

Raonic had won 19 straight sets coming into the final, losing serve just once in 41 games. He fired 22 aces in the final to take his week’s total to a tournament-high 88.

Read 'Raonic Riding Rocket Serve' In RICOH ATP MatchFacts

"He neutralised my serve better than anybody else the last two weeks, so a big part of it is getting a lot of free points to not getting that many," said Raonic. "You have one mentality set on why the free points aren’t coming, like the last few times, and that was pretty much all due to credit to him. I just didn’t catch on early enough.

"There wasn’t really much I could do a lot of times in the matches. He was pretty much taking it to me. I felt like he was the one dictating more than I was, so he was taking that away from me. He was playing very close and inside the line, while I felt I was quite far behind, so I was the one doing most of the running."

Similar to 2011, the 21-year-old Canadian had come to Memphis straight from his title win at the SAP Open in San Jose. Last year, he was edged out by Andy Roddick in a 7-5 third set. "It doesn’t feel like it’s too far out of my grasp," said Raonic. "It’s like somebody dangling a piece of cake in front of my face and then taking it away at the last second. I’ll definitely be back."

He was attempting to win his third title of the ATP World Tour season, having opened the season with the hardware at the Aircel Chennai Open (d. Tipsarevic).

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