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|July 12, 1999||
Woodruff bags singles crown
Chris Woodruff reached a pair of milestones in his comeback from a serious knee injury with a victory over Denmark's Kenneth Carlsen in the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships final.
The 26-year-old American held off Carlsen 6-7(5-7), 6-4, 6-4 at Newport Casino yesterday for his first title in almost two years, a victory that will propel him back into the world's top 100.
''I came here with no expectations, so winning was a great feeling,'' said the former US Collegiate champion, who missed virtually all of last year after a December 1997 knee injury.
''I hope I can take this into the rest of the summer.''
Woodruff earned 41,800 dollars for his second career title.
His ranking hit a career high of 29 after winning his first title at the Canadian Open in 1997. After the long lay-off sent him off the rankings radar screen, Woodruff pushed it back up to 116 entering this event and he will be around 90th in the world, according to ATP officials, after winning the only grasscourt tournament in the United States.
Woodruff claimed the first service break of the match to go up 5-4 in the second set and served it out to force a third. He raced out to leads of 4-0 and 5-1 in the third set before a visibly frustrated Carlsen battled back.
The Dane took three successive games to reach 5-4 before Woodruff ended the treat by holding serve for the title.
''After leading 4-0 in the third set, I felt myself getting a little tight,'' admitted Woodruff. ''But he also started returning well. I was hitting the same serves but he was returning to my feet.''
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