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City news, 02.11.2004 13:10

Youzhny wins St. Petersburg Open

st_petersburg_open The Associated Press

Mikhail Youzhny of Russia won the St. Petersburg Open on Sunday, defeating Karol Beck of Slovakia 6-2, 6-2 for the second title of his career.

Youzhny, a runner-up in this event two years ago, had little trouble against an opponent playing his first career final. The Russian won seven consecutive points to break serve in the third game and again at love in the seventh game to take the first set. Youzhny made two more breaks in the second set and closed the 62-minute match with an ace.

"It wasn't that easy a match," Youzhny said. "In the beginning of the second set, I was 0-30 down on my serve and it could have gone the opposite way. I was lucky to make early breaks."

Youzhny, seeded fourth and ranked No. 31, won his other title in Stuttgart, Germany, in 2002, the year he helped Russia capture its first Davis Cup championship by defeating Paul-Henri Mathieu of France in the decisive singles match.

Beck, ranked No. 53, upset fifth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko in the second round and seventh-seeded Llodra in the semifinals. He never threatened Youzhny with a break.

"I was trying to play aggressively but it didn't work," Beck said. "I was making lots of mistakes and Mikhail was also quicker."

Youzhny was playing in his second final this season after losing to Marat Safin at the Beijing Open in September. He is having the most productive season. He has a 39-26 record and has reached the quarterfinals or better in nine ATP Tour events. Since reaching the quarters at the Athens Olympics, his record is 20-6.

The French pair of Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra won the doubles title, beating Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia and Jaroslav Levinsky of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2.

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