David Ferrer threw his arms in the air and gazed to the heavens after clinching a historic fourth Heineken Open title with a 7-6 (5) 6-1 win over German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Ferrer pockets US $71,900 for his triumph but, more importantly, surpasses New Zealand great Onny Parun, who won in Auckland in 1973, '75 and '76, and equals Australian legend Roy Emerson.
The world No.5 won his home tournament in Valencia three times but this is the first event he has claimed four times and, for that reason, it will hold special significance.
It took the classy Ferrer, who tuned up for the Australian Open in the best way, just one hour 18 minutes to dispatch Kohlschreiber and earn his place on the honour role.
The loyal Spaniard, in his ninth visit to Auckland, added to his success in 2007 '11 '12 and, now, '13.
In the first set a full house w treated to some sublime shot making, but it didn't last.
Both players started with powerful intent, serving love games. To begin, Ferrer was uncharacteristic loose, gifting easy points.
Kohlschreiber snatched the early ascendancy when he broke in the third game, thanks mainly to his rocket serve.
For a fleeting moment one suspected he could challenge for an unlikely upset, or at least push the match three sets.
Unfortunately for the German, he couldn't maintain his aggressive momentum that his unique, stylish one-handed approach had gained.
While it took longer than expected, Ferrer inevitably found his grove to break back in the eighth game. The top two seeds each secured a further break to set up a tense tie breaker. Eventually, after 52 minutes of quality tennis, Ferrer clinched the set.
That was where the contested ended. Ferrer was too good.
In the second set, world No. 20 Kohlschreiber was dejected, realising his only chance was to put the champion under pressure.
He failed to do that and folded in 26 minutes.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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