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Stepanek lifts San Jose title

February 16, 2009 10:17 IST

Radek Stepanek shook off a leg injury on his way to a 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Mardy Fish in the San Jose Open final on Sunday, the Czech fourth seed picking up his fourth career title with the win.

"Mardy was serving incredibly well and hitting great from the back in the beginning and I didn't have any chances, but I knew that If I held my serve in the second that I believed my chances would come again and I would win it in the third," Stepanek told reporters.

After an astounding first set-and-a-half where he dominated on serve and at the net, the American fifth seed came undone after his 30-year-old opponent took a medical time-out while leading 3-2 in the second.

Fish questioned the timing of the intervention and felt that Stepanek was employing gamesmanship.

"I didn't think it was an injury at all," Fish said.

"He seemed fine to me. I would have been shocked if I was up a set and he didn't call the trainer. It's par for the course for him. You know what to expect. It's unfortunate."

In the final game of the second set, Stepanek broke when the American missed an easy backhand and Fish never recovered.

His serve kept him in the match at the beginning of the deciding set but he began to litter the court with unforced errors while the Czech played steady tennis.

Stepanek broke to love for a 4-2 lead and broke again to win the contest with a forehand volley winner.

"The break of serve and losing the second (set) was a bit tough mentally for him to come back from and he made more mistakes," Stepanek said.

"I had my rhythm, put lot of returns back in play and I stopped easy errors and that was most important thing."

Stepanek has had a fine start to the season, posting a 12-2 record and winning titles in Brisbane and San Jose.

"I came here with a lot of confidence. This is my best beginning of a year," the 21st ranked Stepanek said.

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