MEMPHIS, February 23 – US top seed Andy Roddick captured his first title of the season, defeating Czech fifth seed Radek Stepanek 7-5, 7-5 here Sunday in the final of a 1.22 million-dollar ATP hardcourt tournament.
Roddick fired eight aces, one more than Stepanek, to claim his 27th career crown and a 300,000-dollar top prize. It was the second Memphis title for Roddick, who also won the event in 2002.
Sixth-ranked Roddick, a semi-finalist or better in his four starts this year, improved to 5-1 lifetime against 21st-rated Stepanek, who was seeking his second title in as many weeks after taking the San Jose tournament last week.
Roddick broke Stepanek in the second game of the match but Stepanek answered by breaking back in the fifth game and holding to equalize at 3-3.
Roddick broke again in the last game of the first set and denied Stepanek on three break chances in the second set before taking the Czech’s final service game.
Stepanek, who had not lost a set this week, fell to 16-3 this season, still the best start of the 30-year-old’s career.