Lopez retains Eastbourne title

 

The Sports Network

Eastbourne, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Feliciano Lopez of Spain won the Aegon International tennis tournament for the second straight year on Saturday, beating top seed Richard Gasquet in three sets in the championship match.

The third-seeded Lopez defeated Gasquet by a 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 margin at Devonshire Park, securing his fourth tour-level trophy overall.

Gasquet had won all of the pair's previous five matchups.

"He beat me five times before, quite a lot," said Lopez. "I have to be even a little bit more happy, because I knew Richard is going to be so tough to beat today. When a player beats you five times before, you don't know what's going (to happen) and how can you manage the situation to beat him for the first time. And I did. It's a great feeling."

The left-handed Lopez, who was last week's runner-up at another grass-court event at The Queen's Club in London, captured last year's Eastbourne title by besting France's Gilles Simon in the finale.

Lopez is the first player to reach back-to-back grass-court finals prior to Wimbledon since 2001, when Lleyton Hewitt and Thomas Johansson were in consecutive finals.

Gasquet, meanwhile, was denied his third Aegon International crown, having triumphed in 2005 and 2006 when the event was held in Nottingham. He fell to 10-12 in career finals.

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