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Dent Tops Roddick to Win Kroger St. Jude

February 24, 2003 03:27 PM

Taylor Dent took home his second career ATP title on Sunday with a 6-1 6-4 win over defending champion Andy Roddick at the Kroger St. Jude in Memphis. The match took exactly one hour to complete, as Dent's serve and volley game proved too much for Roddick's powerful groundstrokes. Dent's first career title came at Newport last year, where he and his father became the first father and son tandem to win an ATP event in the Open Era.

"The title last year [in Newport] was special because I like playing grass court tennis and beating James [Blake] in the final was great," said Dent. "But today was especially nice. I beat a Top 5 player in the world and really played well, so I have to do that from week to week. That first set was a joke. If I could do that every match, it would be something special. My returns were working very well and I backed that up with some great volleys and great second serves again."

The USTA Southern Section was well represented in the tournament, with three players (Brian Vahaly, Robby Ginepri, and Brian Baker) in the Men's side of the main draw, and two on the Women's side (Tanner Cochran and Carly Gullickson).

Vahaly, an Atlanta resident, reached the semifinals by defeating German Lars Burgsmuller, American Eric Taino, and Irakli Labadaze, a Georian player who took out third-seeded James Blake in the first round. In the semifinals, Vahaly fell to finalist and top seed Andy Roddick 7-5 6-1.

Fellow Atlantan Robby Ginepri staged an impressive run through the draw as well. He defeated Armenian Sargis Sargisian in the first round and Italian Davide Sangiunetti in the second before falling to Roddick in the quarterfinals 6-4 6-4.

The Kroger St. Jude, one of two Tier I professional events in the Southern Section, was the first tournament on tour to include a charity in its title when it joined forces with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and has contributed millions of dollars to fund research in the fight against childhood cancer.

For complete tournament coverage, go to the Kroger St. Jude website.




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