Roddick Wins Regions Morgan Keegan Championship - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Roddick Wins Regions Morgan Keegan Championship

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Andy Roddick wants to clear up any

misconceptions about why he's not going to Dubai. It has nothing to

do with his health, and he proved that Sunday on the court.

Roddick won his first title of 2009 and the 27th of his career,

beating Czech Radek Stepanek 7-5, 7-5 in the finals of the Regions

Morgan Keegan Championships.

Only Roger Federer (57) and Rafael Nadal (32) have won more

titles among active players. Roddick confirmed Friday that he

wouldn't defend his title at Dubai. He said he wasn't happy about

the denial of a visa to Israeli player Shahar Peer by the United

Arab Emirates for the women's event this week.

But Roddick read a report that a hernia was his reason for

withdrawing.

"There's no other reason. Obviously, I don't have a hernia. I

probably wouldn't have played too well today. I would ask you guys

to check but that might be inappropriate. I'm 100 percent

healthy," Roddick said.

Now Roddick plans to work on his conditioning with his week off

and may arrive in Birmingham, Ala., a little early for Davis Cup

first-round play with Switzerland.

"I love the tournament in Dubai. The actual event that's put

on, they do a great job with this. I know a lot of this was out of

their hands, but it is what it is. You have a week off as opposed

to traveling there," Roddick said.

Being healthy is what Roddick worked so hard for during the

offseason with new coach Larry Stefanki. He lost 15 pounds.

On Sunday, Roddick got a bit of revenge for losing to Stepanek

in the semifinals in San Jose last week and improved to 5-1

all-time against the man trying to become the first Czech to win in

Memphis since Ivan Lendl in 1991. He called it satisfying to win a

tight match with lots of long rallies. Roddick won the key points

by breaking Stepanek in the 12th game of each set.

"Obviously, he's been playing his best tennis of his career

probably this year and especially the past couple weeks. I knew

what it was going to take, and I was able to get there," Roddick

said.

Roddick extended his streak of years with at least one title to

nine, the longest current streak on tour, though Federer could

match him with a victory this year.

"We have a long year ahead of us," Roddick said. "We always

do, but this is the best start I've had in a long time. Possibly

ever, actually, if you just look at the first two months of the

year."

The world's sixth-ranked player took home the $300,000 winner's

check and 500 ranking points for the ATP World Tour. He improved to

17-3 in match play this year. Of his 27 titles, 19 have come in

North America. This is Roddick's second at Memphis.

The American, with his fiancee, model Brooklyn Decker, cheering

him on at courtside, was coming into the final off the longest

match of the tournament. He needed two hours, 11 minutes to beat

Lleyton Hewitt compared to the 57 minutes Stepanek breezed past

qualifier Dudi Sela.

Stepanek came in enjoying the best start to a year in his career

with two titles already to his credit and trying to win for the

second straight week. He had won nine consecutive matches but

started slowly.

Roddick broke him in the second game to go up 2-0. Stepanek

trailed 3-1 when he broke Roddick and then held serve to even the

first set at 3-3.

"I had no doubts I wouldn't break him back," Stepanek said.

"I had a lot of chances today to break him and didn't convert

them. That was the biggest difference between the two of us."

They appeared headed toward a tiebreaker when Stepanek trailed

30-40 and hit a forehand long to give Roddick the first set.

Tied at 4 in the second set, Stepanek had a chance to break

Roddick at 15-40. The American fought back to force deuce, served

up one of his eight aces with a 130 mph, before Stepanek hit a

forehand wide after a long rally.

Stepanek kept the match entertaining, at one point using his

head to knock a ball back to a ball girl and then hitting a ball

over to a ball boy through his legs. After the match, Stepanek

noticed he had been given the winner's trophy and presented it to

Roddick.

"Since he said I was the best player throughout those two

weeks, I said, `OK, maybe I keep it maybe.' But no. He deserved

it," Stepanek said.

When needing to hold serve to force a second-set tiebreaker,

Stepanek won only one point off a forehand Roddick hit long up

0-40. Roddick then closed out the title with a forehand passing

shot, celebrating by raising both arms in the air.

"It was huge. You go into a third, it's a coin flip at best

because he probably has a little bit of momentum going," Roddick

said. "I feel like when I'm playing well I do a good job of

closing out. Even the two games before I broke him, I played pretty

good games and at least forced him to work a little bit."

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