Spain's Alex Corretja has won the Swiss Open tennis tournament in Gstaad, beating Argentina's Mariano Puerta in straight sets and under a rare blue sky.
After a week of rain-forced interruptions, Monday's brief final could hardly have been in greater contrast to the protracted misery of the previous seven days.
As the tournament's number one seed Corretja started the final as clear favourite, although there were fears he might be showing signs of tiredness after having played both his quarter- and semi-final matches on Sunday.
But there was nothing sluggish about the start made by Corretja. The 25-year-old from Barcelona took an early lead in the first set, after breaking Puerta in the second game.
The Argentinean was still looking for his rhythm in the fourth game - an ace and a fortunate net bounce was not enough to compensate for a double fault and a series of unforced errors. With less than 20 minutes played, Puerta was trailing 4-0.
In the fifth game, Corretja further emphasised his superiority, finding the necessary strength and accuracy of shot while his opponent found only the net.
Puerta finally held serve in the next game, but at 5-1 down he was well out of contention. As the crowd used slow handclaps to try to force a response from the Argentinean, Corretja held firm to take the opening set 6-1 in just half an hour.
Perhaps the top seed's exertions on Sunday had made him determined to wrap up Monday's match in double quick time. Whatever his motivation, Corretja showed little sign of easing up in the second set.
In his service game the Spaniard looked equally invincible. When returning he seemed equally in control, repeatedly putting his opponent on the back foot, both strategically and literally. In the third game of the set, Puerta was broken once more.
With Corretja dropping just three points in his first four service games, Puerta was soon serving to stay in the match at 5-3 down. In keeping with his performance throughout, however, Corretja showed little mercy. For the fourth and final time he broke the Argentinean to take the match 6-1, 6-3.
With the match lasting just one hours and six minutes, it was a short-lived finale to a long drawn-out tournament. As the sun finally shone in Gstaad, the crowd along with Mariano Puerta had cause to reflect on what might have been.
by Mark Ledsom
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