Klizan captures maiden tennis crown in St Petersburg

Slovakian world number 45 Martin Klizan captured his first ATP title on Sunday when he defeated Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the St. Petersburg Open.

He is the first Slovakian to win a tour title since Dominik Hrbaty triumphed at Marseille in February 2004.

Third-seeded Klizan, who put out top seed Mikhail Youzhny in a marathon semi-final on Saturday, is set to rise to around a career-high world No. 33 in the world rankings as a result of his victory.

Until two months ago, 23-year-old Klizan had never won back-to-back tour-level matches.

However, since the end of July he has reached the semi-finals in Kitzbuhel and knocked out world number six Jo-Wilfried Tsonga en route to a fourth-round showing at the US Open.

"I said last year that I would like to be Top 100 by the end of this year and I've already done it," said Klizan.

"Now I've been Top 50, Top 40, maybe I can be Top 30 at the end of the year. I hope I can be healthy and still with enough power to play until the end of the season. I've played many, many great weeks."

The 25-year-old Fognini was contesting his second final having also finished runner-up to Gilles Simon in Bucharest.

"It's horrible to play a final like this," said Fognini. "I've played two finals this year. Simon in Bucharest was a really great final; we played one hour and 50 minutes and I lost. On the court today he played his best tennis ever and I did not play my best tennis for sure."

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