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Lopez Masters Wind & Simon For Eastbourne Title

Eastbourne, England

Lopez© AFP/Getty ImagesFeliciano Lopez mastered the windy conditions to win the Eastbourne final.

Gusting winds and the guile of Gilles Simon could not get in the way of Feliciano Lopez winning his first ATP World Tour grass-court title on Saturday in Eastbourne. The Spaniard finished strongly to defeat Simon 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 6-0 in the final of the Aegon International.

The pair will meet again on Tuesday in the first round of The Championships at Wimbledon, where Lopez is a three-time former quarter-finalist.

"I think grass is my best surface, and to have at least one title on grass is very nice feeling," said Lopez. "This match was really special, because it's great to be in the finals and it's an opportunity to win another ATP event. But playing the same guy in two days, it's also important to have some feedback, even though we know each other very well, because almost every week we see each other."

Following in Nicolas Mahut’s footsteps in ‘s-Hertogenbosch earlier in the day, Lopez became the eighth ATP World Tour winner aged 30-over this season. The left-hander captured the third title of his career and first since 2010, when he triumphed in Johannesburg. His first title came nine years ago in Vienna. He has a 3-6 finals record, including a runner-up showing in February in Memphis (l. to Nishikori).

The unseeded Lopez fought back from a break down to win the first set in a tie-break and arguably missed his chance to wrap up the match in straight sets when he squandered four break points in the fifth game of the season set. Simon seized his chance to level the match in another tie-break. With the wind rattling the flag poles at Devonshire Park, Lopez proved the stronger in the final set, dropping only eight points on serve as he claimed victory in two hours and 48 minutes.

"It was really tough," said Lopez. "I mean, sometimes it was about pushing and putting the ball on the other side of the court. Especially when we were serving. It was almost impossible sometimes. The wind was so strange. It was coming from everywhere.  Normally it's one side to another. Today was so strange. So we made the best we can, to be honest."

The second-seeded Simon was chasing his 11th ATP World Tour title and dropped to a 10-4 finals record. The Frenchman has won at least one title every year since 2007 and, like Lopez, was looking to win his first trophy on grass.

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