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WORLD SPORT

Robredo romps to first Masters win

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Robredo ruled with thumping passing shots and top-spin lobs.

HAMBURG, Germany -- Spain's Tommy Robredo won his first Masters Series title on Sunday, defeating Czech Radek Stepanek 6-1 6-3 6-3 in a one-sided final in Hamburg.

The Barcelona-based eighth seed, twice a French Open quarterfinalist, broke Stepanek twice in each of the first two sets.

He then smashed a backhand winner down the line to grab the crucial break in the third for a 5-3 lead.

With the retractable roof closed to protect the clay of centre court from the rain, Robredo gained the upper hand over the 15th seed with thumping passing shots and skillful top-spin lobs.

Dressed in a black and white striped ice-hockey umpire's shirt, Stepanek had chances to break the Spaniard in all three sets but could not quite produce the form that had taken him to the final without dropping a set.

Sunday's match was Robredo's first final in the elite nine-tournament Masters Series after he made the last four on his debut in Hamburg in 2002 and in Cincinnati in 2004.

Stepanek, 27, was also going for his first Masters crown, having lost to Russian Marat Safin in the final of the Paris indoor event in 2004.

The pair had played each other three times in ATP events before Sunday, with Robredo holding a 3-0 advantage. He beat the Czech 6-3 6-2 in the quarterfinals in Barcelona last month.

Robredo regained the top 10 world ranking he briefly attained earlier this month, while Stepanek broke into the top 10 for the first time in his career.

World number one Roger Federer and French Open champion Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Hamburg tournament due to fatigue after their five-set final at the Rome Masters last Sunday, won by Nadal.

Robredo is the 50th different Masters champion since the series began in 1990.

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