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Sunday, 27 October, 2002, 17:36 GMT
Srichaphan sinks Rios
Marcelo Rios of Chile
Rios was not competitive after the first set

Paradorn Srichaphan recovered from losing the opening set to beat Marcelo Rios in the final of the Stockholm Open.

In winning his second title of the year, the Thai lost a first set tie-break before powering back to subdue the Chilean 6-7 6-0 6-3 6-2.


It was a tough match, he went for his shots so much
Marcelo Rios

The 23-year-old, who claimed the TD Waterhouse Cup in New York in August, became the first-ever Asian winner of the Stockholm Open, the world's oldest indoor tournament.

"Over the last four months, everything has been falling into place for me," he said. "I feel confident going on to court. I think I can beat anyone right now."

The 23-year-old said fitness played a key part in his victory over the 26-year-old Rios, who has been troubled by knee tendinitis which forced him to miss part of the season.

"The tie-break was a long one and we were both running side to side. It was tiring, but I'm younger than him. It was better for me if the games went long."

Srichaphan broke Rios' serve twice in the last set and wrapped up the match by holding his serve to love with his 30th ace of the match.

His serve was dominant throughout the match, and Srichaphan seemed able to break his opponent's at will, especially in the second which he won to love.

This was their second meeting - Srichaphan also won the first match, a semi-final in Washington DC in August.

Since then, the Thai has been one of the hottest players on the ATP Tour, winning 25 of his last 31 matches.

His triumph in Stockholm means he will break into the top 20 on the ATP Champions' Race for the first time.

Tough match

As has become his recent custom, Srichaphan donned his red "power" shirt when the end was near after breaking Rios for 4-1 in the fourth set.

"I was waiting for the right time to put it on," he said.

"I wanted to make sure that once I did, I could win. There was a little girl in the crowd speaking Thai who cheered me once I got that shirt on."

Rios' loss means that his streak of winning at least one tournament for eight consecutive years may well come to an end.

"It was a tough match, he went for his shots so much. It was mentally tough to play," said the winner of 18 career trophies.

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