ST PETERSBURG - Slovakia's Martin Klizan secured his maiden ATP title when he eased past Italian Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-3 in the St Petersburg Open final on Sunday.
The third seed from Bratislava, playing in his first Tour final, raced into a 4-0 lead after breaking Fognini in his first two service games before taking the opening set.
Klizan, 23, looked much fresher than his fourth-seeded opponent despite having beaten top seed Mikhail Youzhny in a semi-final that lasted nearly four hours on Saturday.
Both players suffered from nerves in the second set, surrendering serve for five consecutive games, before Klizan clinched a well-deserved victory with a deft drop shot after 69 minutes.
"This is my first title but I hope it won't be the last," the world number 45 told reporters.
"I must say it was a very tough week, I played many long matches here. Yesterday, I felt totally exhausted after the Youzhny match but fortunately I was able to recover.
"I'm only 23 and I want to finish the season on a high. Hopefully, I could break into the top 40 or even top 30 by the end of the year."
For Fognini it was the second failure in a title match.
"I'm really disappointed. I don't even have words to describe how bad I played today," said the 53rd-ranked Italian, who lost to France's Gilles Simon in his only previous final in Bucharest this April.
"Although I lost the Bucharest final I played well there, but not today. I can only say sorry to the fans." (Writing By Gennady Fyodorov; Editing by John Mehaffey)