Pavel Upsets Rafter to Win Title
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MONTREAL (AP) _ Andrei Pavel of Romania upset two-time U.S. Open champion Patrick Rafter of Australia 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-3 on Sunday to win the Tennis Masters Series-Canada.
``This is the highest by far for me,″ Pavel said. ``I was late coming over from clay to hard courts. But I won the first match and then the second and my confidence went up. It was perfect. I couldn’t believe it.″
Pavel broke Rafter just once, for a 5-3 lead in the final set, and closed out the match with an ace to take the $400,000 first prize, the biggest payday of his 11-year career.
``He played well and did all the right things at the right times,′ said Rafter, the 1998 winner in Toronto. ``He played smart in the third set. In a close match, that’s how it goes.
``It’s getting boring being close in tournaments and not finishing them off. but it was a good week.″
Rafter broke Pavel twice in the second set, ending the Romanian’s streak of 46 straight service games without a break.
But Pavel was stingy on his service again in the final set and saw Rafter hit a backhand volley just long to lose serve for the only time in the match.
When he aced Rafter on match point, Pavel fell to his knees and lay face-first on center court at du Maurier Stadium, while the capacity crowd applauded.
It was Rafter’s first tournament since losing to Goran Ivanisevic in the Wimbledon final.
``To beat Rafter in the final of a Masters Series _ I imagine how Goran felt at Wimbledon,″ Pavel said. ``This is a step back from that, but it’s still a huge tournament. It’s one of the biggest in the world.″