Versdasco vindicated with Pilot Pen title

NEW HAVEN: Second-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco won the men's title at the Pilot Pen hardcourt tennis tournament Saturday, the last tuneup for next week's US Open.

Verdasco beat sixth-seeded American Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) in 1 hour, 35 minutes to capture his first title of 2009. He was runner-up in Brisbane earlier this year.

Verdasco fended off three set points in the tiebreaker to win his third career crown, and the first since Umag in 2008.

Querrey was playing in his fifth final of the season, and won the title in Los Angeles earlier this month. He captured the points title in the US Open series of tournaments leading up to the final Grand Slam of the season.

Querrey battled back from an early break in the second set to force the tiebreaker, and led 6-3 before Verdasco won the next five points to clinch the deal.

Both finalists played twice on Saturday, after the semi-finals were postponed by rain.

In the first semi-final Querrey beat Argentina's Jose Acasuso 6-3, 6-4, while Verdasco edged seventh-seeded Russian Igor Andreev 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/5).

The semis were played indoors as organisers hustled to get the tournament finished despite the remnants of tropical storm Denny in the area.

"I think it was a little slower indoors. Kind of cold in there, so the balls were a little dead," said Querrey, who nevertheless belted 11 aces, including one that knocked the numbers from the hand-cranked scoreboard at the back of the court in his win over Acasuso.

The women's semis had been played indoors on Friday, but the weather cleared enough for the championship matches to be held on the stadium court at Connecticut Tennis Center.

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki won her second straight New Haven WTA title, downing Russian Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-4.

Wozniacki, the second seed, claimed her sixth WTA title and third this year. The 19-year-old broke unseeded Vesnina in the first game and went on to win in an hour and 16 minutes.

"Now it's my time," Wozniacki said. "It's my turn to win some tournaments. I just feel I've had a great year. I'm so happy that it's my name coming up a lot of times now." Wozniacki was unseeded when she won here last year, but came in this year ranked ninth in the world.

"It has really surprised me how fast everything has been going and that I'm right now eight or nine in the world," she said. "That's just amazing at age of 19, being one of the youngest players out there. I'm happy everything is going my way."