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Martin Foils Agassi's Return, Wins CTCA Championships

October 15, 2009 10:06 PM

Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex - Surprise, Ariz.
October 8-11

Agassi returns after three-year layoff, but falls to Martin in final


Todd Martin won his first title of 2009 on the Outback Champions Series.

SURPRISE, Ariz.– Todd Martin defeated Andre Agassi 6-3, 7-5 Sunday to win the singles title at the $150,000 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at Surprise. Martin earned $60,000 for the tournament victory, his first title in 2009 and his fourth career title on the Outback Champions Series, the global tennis circuit for champion tennis players age 30 and over.

“It’s nice to go out and play well against really good players,” said Martin. "I felt good out there. I felt in a rhythm. I found a great feel for the ball.”

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Championships at Surprise is the seventh and final event on the 2009 Outback Champions Series. Martin's victory was his first on the Series since he won in Naples, Fla., on March 16, 2008. Martin also won Outback Champions Series titles in 2006 in Boston and in 2007 in Newport, R.I. Last year in Surprise, Martin lost the championship match to John McEnroe by a 3-6, 7-6(3), 11-9 (Champions Tie-Breaker) margin.

Andre Agassi returned to tennis after a three-year layoff, but came up a match short in Surprise.
Agassi, who earned $30,000 for the runner-up showing, was playing in his debut event on the Outback Champions Series.

The event marked his first tournament appearance since he retired from his ATP career at the 2006 U.S. Open.

"I really enjoyed being here this week, with a lot of peers and familiar faces and the crowds were great," said Agassi. "Three days in a row is a lot of tennis for me now. Hopefully I can improve next time."

En route to the final, Agassi defeated Mikael Pernfors of Sweden 6-2, 7-5 on Friday night and Wayne Ferreira of South Africa 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon.

Martin took control of the match from the start, controlling points with a high percentage of first serves and aggressive play off his backhand side. After winning the first set 6-3, Martin broke Agassi early in the second set and held for a 3-0 lead. Agassi had a chance to break back, holding triple break point at 0-40 with Martin serving at 4-2, but Martin was able to claw back and hold for 5-2.

After Agassi held serve, Martin served for the title at 5-3, but was unable to close out the match as Agassi's powerful returns kept him alive. Martin was then able to break Agassi's serve at 5-6 and clinch the match, benefiting from an Agassi forehand error on match point.

Said Martin, “I felt that as long as I didn’t get carried away with my serve I was really going to have a good day.”

Nearly 200 kids were in attendance at the free Kids' Clinic in Surprise on Saturday, Oct. 10.

Said Agassi of his experience in Surprise, "This week exceeded my expectations. It was a lot of fun. This is a competitive tour and these guys take care of themselves. You’ve got to come ready to play.”

In the third-place match Sunday, Aaron Krickstein concluded a memorable week of tennis by defeating Ferreira 3-6, 6-3, 10-8 (Champions Tie-Breaker) to earn the $25,000 third-place purse. Krickstein upset Jim Courier in the first round of the event on Thursday night before losing to Martin in Saturday evening’s semifinals.

The event capped a frenzied week of activity out at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex. From a USTA Meet & Greet on Thursday, Pro-Am on Thursday to a free Kids' Clinic on Saturday that was attended by nearly 200 youth, as well as the near-capacity crowds for most sessions, the tournament helped showcase tennis in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.

USTA Southwest also held a 'Win a Babolat' racquet drawing for a Babolat Aero Drive, which nine-year-old Rachael Buker of Goodyear, Ariz. won. Almost 350 entries were put into our pot at our USTA Booth in Surprise! A special thanks to Babolat for providing us with some giveaways and the racquet.

The CTCA Championships will be re-broadcasted on the Tennis Channel, beginning Monday, Oct. 19. For more information on the Outback Champions Series, visit www.championsseriestennis.com.

CTCA Finalist Andre Agassi and 2009 Champion Todd Martin