Moodie beats Ancic in Tokyo final
Moodie recovered from a shocking first set to claim his first career win
TOKYO, Japan -- Unseeded Wesley Moodie of South Africa upset fifth seed Mario Ancic of Croatia 1-6 7-6 6-4 at the Japan Open to win his first ever ATP singles title.
"It's great to win, especially being down match points. I don't think it's sunk in yet," said the 99th-ranked Moodie.
Czech teenager Nicole Vaidisova won the women's competition after France's Tatiana Golovin was forced to retire with a leg injury in the second set.
Moodie also took an injury timeout for treatment on his shoulder after winning the second set against Ancic.
In a match between two big servers, Ancic, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon last year, raced into the lead. After the one-sided first set, however, the final turned into an absorbing battle of crunching serves, great returns and dazzling winners.
Moodie saved two match points in the second-set tiebreak, the second with a superb curling forehand pass down the line.
"I thought it was all over," Moodie said. "Mario was playing much better than I was but at match point I just went for broke. That shot fired me up."
His big break came in the ninth game of the third set when Ancic lost his rhythm on serve and the South African was able to close out the match with another strong service game.
The victory for 16-year-old Vaidisova was her biggest title to date and her fourth overall. It was also her second in succession having won in Seoul last week.
Second seed Vaidisova was leading the match 7-6 3-2 when a limping Golovin called it quits.
"I played a pretty good match but I feel really sorry we couldn't finish it," Vaidisova said. "I'm sad for Tatiana. The first set was really tight but I was confident I could close it out."
In a battle of youth Vaidisova was well matched by the 17-year-old Golovin.
The pair served well and matched each other for ground strokes during a close first set which Vaidisova clinched with a confident tiebreak.
After going 3-1 down in the second set, Golovin, the third seed, required a medical timeout for pain in her Achilles tendon and was clearly uncomfortable after that.
"I've been waking up with a lot of pain," Golovin said of the injury.
"But I was still able to get through the matches as I didn't feel it that much. Today I really had no choice."
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