AMERSFOORT, Netherlands -- Martin Verkerk became the first
Dutchman in 31 years to win his country's tennis championship,
beating Chile's Fernando Gonzalez 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4 Sunday in the
Dutch Open final.
It was the second ATP title for Verkerk, who also won the 2003
Milan Indoors and reached his first Grand Slam final at last year's
French Open. The last Dutch player to win this event was Tom Okker
"I've been waiting for this since I started struggling after
Roland Garros last year," a teary-eyed Verkerk said. "I've been
hearing for the past year that I was a flash in the pan, which hurt
my morale. It's just fantastic to win here in the Netherlands."
Verkerk, whose serve occasionally exceeded 125 mph, withstood a
break point in the 11th game of the opening set. In the tiebreaker,
Verkerk captured a long rally to gain the lead, then took a mini
break on Gonzalez's second serve to win the set.
In the second set, Gonzalez survived three break points in the
seventh game, and broke Verkerk on his first chance in the 10th
game to win the set.
Verkerk trailed 0-40 in the second game of the deciding set, and
forced the game to deuce five times before finally holding serve.
He then broke in the following game and each player held serve,
with Verkerk winning the final game at love for the victory.