THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published — Sunday 23 June 2013
Last update 23 June 2013 2:57 am
ROSMALEN, Netherlands: Nicolas Mahut of France won his first ATP title at the age of 31, playing impeccable serve and volley tennis to beat second-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-4 in the Topshelf Open final yesterday.
Earlier, Simona Halep of Romania made it two titles in two weeks, beating Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-4, 6-2 in a rain-interrupted women’s final.
Mahut’s and Wawrinka’s match also was disrupted by rain and Mahut — appearing in his first final since 2007 — dealt with the interruptions better.
The Frenchman’s victory on grass capped a comeback from a career-threatening knee injury that sidelined him for months.
“Six months ago, I was not sure I could play again on the tour and here I am with the trophy,” he said.
“I am really proud with the way I played all week,” added Mahut, who came through qualifying.
Mahut had to break Wawrinka only twice for the victory, once to take a 5-3 lead in the first set — with Wawrinka serving a double fault to gift the Frenchman the game — and again in the third game of the second set.
Mahut’s serve was broken only once all week and he will head to Wimbledon full of confidence for his opening match against Jan Hajek. Wawrinka faces Lleyton Hewitt in the first round.
In the women’s final, Halep was a break up at 5-4 when rain forced a 75-minute break, but she came back strong, holding serve to take the set.
She then twice broke Flipkens’ serve to race to 3-0 before the Belgian broke back.
But Flipkens had no answer to the powerful groundstrokes from Halep, who easily won her first grass-court title.
Halep clinched her first WTA title last week in the inaugural Nurnberger Versicherungscup, a clay event. She heads to Wimbledon where she faces Olga Govortsova in the first round.