Spain's Garcia-Lopez wins Thailand Open

October 3, 2010 11:31 AM
NONTHABURI, Thailand (AP) - Guillermo Garcia-Lopez capped a stunning week by winning the Thailand Open and the second title of his career, beating Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the final on Sunday.

The 53rd-ranked Spaniard rode the momentum of his upset over top-ranked Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. He was only the seventh player this year to beat Nadal, a nine-time Grand Slam winner who captured the U.S. Open title last month.

Garcia-Lopez applied the same steely nerves and outserved and outwitted his 60th-ranked Finnish opponent in three closely matched sets. He clinched the title on his fourth match point and dropped to kiss the court.

His only other ATP Tour title came in 2009 in Kitzbuehel.

``It was an unbelievable week for me,'' the 27-year-old Garcia-Lopez said. ``I feel unbelievable. I cannot express (it). Maybe my face doesn't tell, but inside I'm really happy.''

It was the first time the Thailand Open final featured two unseeded players.

The first set started slowly, going back-and-forth on serve until the seventh game when Garcia-Lopez earned the first break. He dashed to the net for a backhand dropshot that gave him a 4-3 lead.

The Spaniard held in the next game, saving a break point as Nieminen unraveled and yelled at himself following errors. Nieminen held serve, but Garcia-Lopez saved four more break points in the next game and served out the set with an ace.

The left-handed Finn fought back in the second set, winning the first three games and repeatedly whipping strong serves and forehand winners down the line. He needed only 32 minutes to get even.

``I came back but he lifted his game in the third set,'' Nieminen said. ``I tried everything but it wasn't good enough.''

Garcia-Lopez took a 3-1 lead in the third set and then lost his rhythm. He got even at 4-4 and then held serve to move ahead.

He finished the championship with a forehand winner on his fourth match point.