A-Rod survives scare to land title

Roddick won his 28th career title by defeating Stepanek yesterday. (GETTY IMAGES)

Andy Roddick endured a determined fightback from defending champion Radek Stepanek to win the Brisbane International final yesterday.

The American was forced to dig deep after throwing away a substantial second-set lead before finally beating the Czech 7-6, 7-6 at the Pat Rafter Arena.

Roddick won the opening set in a tiebreak and opened up a commanding 5-1 lead in the second before he suddenly got the wobbles. He twice failed to serve out the match as Stepanek forced a second tiebreak and then faltered before eventually winning 9-7.

"It was weird. I don't think I have squandered a lead where I have been putting in first serves and making approach shots," said Roddick.

"And in the breakers it was the same deal. I kept making first serves so that was helping me hold on to the last shred of sanity I had.

"But at the end of the day the only thing that will be remembered is the [win]."

Roddick's hard-earned win provided the world No7 with his 28th career title and will give him a confidence boost ahead of the first Grand Slam of 2010 – next week's Australian Open – after a knee injury ended his season in September last year.

"I certainly don't know if I expected to win my first tournament after a pretty extended layoff. I feel pretty good about it," he said.

Stepanek, who won the inaugural Brisbane title 12 months ago, was also buoyed by his performance.

"I never gave up. I was fighting until the last point," said the 31-year-old. "Back-to-back finals – it has been a magic place for me here. I will be coming into the Australian Open with only positives."

 

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