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Fish bounces back from Queen’s “heartbreak”


 

Originally published on: 12/07/10 10:59

He sat motionless on his chair with a towel draped over his head after compatriot Sam Querrey had blunted his hopes of a dream title at Queen’s club.

For several minutes he pondered the missed opportunity to end his run of three runner-up finishes in grass court finals as a swarm of photographers unashamedly gathered around to capture his despair. But that was then, and this is now.

Four weeks later – following a disappointing second round exit to Florian Mayer at Wimbledon –  Mardy Fish captured his first grass court title at Newport’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships to provide apt reward for his new found fitness and tantalising recent form on the green stuff.

Sunday’s 5-7 6-3 6-4 victory over Olivier Rochus saw another serving masterclass. The power and placement that made the difference in his third round scalp of Andy Murray at Queen’s Club was once again in full evidence against the diminutive Belgian.

The 28-year-old struck 24 aces en route to his triumph, leaping a colossal 30 places up the rankings as a result. It propels the American back towards the elite group in which he clearly belongs, but most importantly, it put those demons from Queen’s to rest.

“In that spot and that atmosphere, it was tough to swallow,” said Fish of his loss to 22-year-old Qurrey at the AEGON Championships. “I wanted to play this match on my own terms, figure out a way to win it or lose it on my racket.”

And that’s exactly what he did, capturing his first tour-level title since his Delray Beach triumph in March 2009 in two hours and four minutes.

The fitter, faster and leaner Fish has lost 30 pounds in the past 10 months, attributing his recent form to the strict diet and training regime that he has followed under the watch of trainer Christian LoCascio. The hard work has clearly paid dividends, and Fish was in buoyant mood after his first victory at a lawn tournament.

“It means a lot to win now on every surface in my career – indoor, outdoor, hard, clay and grass,” said Fish. “I’ve certainly lost a lot of heartbreak finals, and it feels good to win one.”

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