NEWPORT, R.I. Second-seeded Fabrice Santoro captured his second straight Hall of Fame Tennis Championships title Sunday, beating Prakash Amritraj 6-3, 7-5 to become the second player since 1990 to win an ATP event after his 35th birthday.
In winning his sixth career title, the 35-year-old Santoro became the oldest player to win the tourney on the International Hall of Fame's grass courts. Andre Agassi won three events in 2005 when he was 35 years old.
Amritraj, the son for three-time Newport winner Vijay Amritraj and a wild-card entry, was the lowest ranked player to reach a Newport final. India's Davis Cup member entered the week 305th in the world.
Santoro, who earlier in the week said he was likely to be cutting back his tour play next year, won his 451st match, fourth among active players behind Roger Federer, Carlos Moya and Lleyton Hewitt.
"When you start a career at 16 years old, never, ever can you imagine you'll win a tournament 20 years later. I played my first French Open in 1989," Santoro said. "I have the same passion for the game as five, 10, 15 years ago, maybe more."
It was just the second No. 1 or No. 2 seed to win the finale in the tourney's 32-year history; Johan Kriek did it in 1981.
Vijay Amritraj, who won 13 titles in 26 career finals, watched his son from behind one of the baselines.
"We talked after the match. He told me my strategy was right, but I just needed to be a little more aggressive," Prakash said.
After getting broken in the first game of the match, Santoro broke right back en route to winning four straight games. Amritraj's consecutive unforced errors closed out the second game.
"I think I was broken three times this week, and every time I broke right back," Santoro said.
Amritraj made three unforced errors in the final game of the opening set before Santoro closed it out with forehand off a net ball.
Santoro had the only break in the second set, taking a 6-5 lead, before hitting a backhand passing shot at 40-love to win the match. He raised both hands in triumph.
"I'm just very happy on the court, to have the trophy in my hands," he said, smiling.
Santoro collected $64,000 for the title and Amritraj earned $32,000.
In Sunday's other events:
MERCEDES CUP: At Stuttgart, Germany, Juan Martin del Potro won his first ATP title, upsetting second-seeded Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-5 in the clay-court Mercedes Cup final.
The 19-year-old Argentine broke Gasquet for a 5-4 lead in the first set and, after a brief rain delay, broke the Frenchman again to lead 6-5 in the second. Del Potro closed out the victory with a strong serve and a forehand winner off Gasquet's return.
Along with his first title, del Potro also collected a white convertible presented by the tournament sponsor.
"This is incredible. I've dreamed of winning a tournament since I've been a kid and now I also get a car," said del Potro, who drove it around the court after the awards ceremony. He also earned $186,853 for the win.
"I congratulate Juan Martin but he'd better be careful, it's a fast car," Gasquet joked.
Del Potro, who entered the event ranked No. 65, beat four seeded players to win the tournament.
SWEDISH OPEN: At Bastad, Sweden, Tommy Robredo defeated Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-1 to win the clay-court Swedish Open.
The third-seeded Spaniard outplayed Berdych in the second set, breaking the Czech three times. He faced a break point at 1-1, but Berdych hit a forehand long.
"This win is more important than the first one," Robredo said. "In 2006 I played the best tennis of my life, I was in better shape. This year I did not play very good in the beginning of the year. This gives me confidence again."
It was Robredo's sixth ATP singles title, but his first since Metz, France, last year.
Berdych had his right knee treated and taped by a trainer after the sixth game of the first set. The Czech continued to move well on the court and had a break point for 5-5, but his forehand went just wide after a long rally.
After trading early breaks in the opening set, Robredo broke again with a brilliant forehand passer down the line to lead 4-3. He held the rest of his service games to close out the first set.
The 17th-ranked Robredo, who played in Bastad for the eighth straight year, said it was difficult to face Berdych.
"When somebody is injured, it's tough to play," Robredo said. "He was hitting harder and he could win any point. He could hit a winner."
Spanish players have won the last four Swedish Opens. David Ferrer, whom Robredo knocked out in the semifinals, won last year and Rafael Nadal was the winner in 2005.
SWISS OPEN: At Gstaad, Switzerland, Victor Hanescu won his first career title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Igor Andreev in the Swiss Open final.
A 26-year-old Romanian ranked 80th in the world, Hanescu followed his semifinal upset of top-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka with another strong performance.
Hanescu broke Andreev early in both sets, and the Russian might have been tired after overcoming Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain in a third-set tiebreaker earlier Sunday. Their semifinal was suspended by rain on Saturday at one set apiece.
Hanescu will move into the top 60 in the rankings. Eighteen months ago, he fell as low as No. 759 after having repeated back problems.
BUDAPEST GRAND PRIX: At Budapest, Hungary, Alize Cornet of France won the Budapest Grand Prix, defeating Andreja Klepac of Slovenia 7-6 (5), 6-3 for her first victory on the WTA Tour.
The second-seeded Cornet, ranked 20th, was down 5-3 in the first set before winning three games in a row. She served for the set, but Klepac broke back to force a tiebreaker.
The Frenchwoman, playing in her third career final, took a three-game lead in the second set and served for the match at 5-2. Klepac, ranked 135th, broke back, but Cornet followed with a break of her own to close it out.
"I was a little sick at the beginning of the match because of stomach problems," Cornet said. "I was given medication this morning. I could play thanks to that and I tried to do my best given the circumstances."
Klepac, who was playing her first final, said she was tired after a long week, but seemed satisfied with the result.
"With the points I get here, I will be in the top 100," Klepac said.
PALERMO INTERNATIONAL: At Palermo, Sicily, Sara Errani captured her first WTA Tour singles title when she beat Mariya Koryttseva of Ukraine 6-2, 6-3 in the Palermo International.
The chair umpire awarded the fifth-seeded Errani an ace on her first match point after going down to check the mark on the red clay court and overruling the linesman's call.
"It was a great match for me. Maybe neither of us played our best, but it was very important for me to win today," Errani said. "I think the difference between us was I was stronger in the long points. It was difficult to stay physically strong the whole week because it's very hot here, but I think I did better in the end."
She is the first Italian to win the singles crown in Palermo.
Errani had never been to a tour final of any kind before this week. Now she owns singles and doubles titles. On Saturday, Errani teamed with Nuria Llagostera Vives to capture the doubles crown.
Koryttseva, the No. 7 seed, was also trying for her first WTA title in her second final appearance.
"I was trying my best, but it just wasn't my day," Koryttseva said. "She was using smart tactics and I just wasn't able to play my game. I could have won my first title today but I can't think about that tomorrow is another day and another tournament. I just try to improve my game, day by day."