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Roddick takes Dubai title with win over Lopez

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- For once, Andy Roddick faced an opponent who could match him serve for serve.

Though Feliciano Lopez managed more aces, he couldn't stop Roddick from winning his second ATP Tour title in three weeks with a 6-7 (8), 6-4, 6-2 victory in the Dubai Tennis Championship final on Saturday.

"This is as well as I've played," said Roddick, who didn't drop his serve throughout the tournament.

In his first appearance in Dubai, Roddick ousted second-ranked Rafael Nadal and third-ranked Novak Djokovic during the week to become the first American winner of the tournament.

"I didn't really know what to expect," he said. "A big part of my decision [to attend] was to be able to get a shot at some of the top guys."

Roddick has used his overpowering serve to dominate opponents throughout the tournament but met his match in the final when Lopez served 24 aces to Roddick's 22.

Lopez had some success returning Roddick's serve in the first set, but couldn't keep it up later in the match.

"It doesn't give you a chance, not one time," Lopez said of the serve.

Roddick failed to convert a set point in the first tiebreaker, but kept pressure on Lopez with powerful forehands and sliced backhands.

He finally broke the Spaniard to take a 5-4 lead in the second set, and then again in the opening game of the third.

Roddick also won in San Jose last month, but Saturday's victory will probably provide a welcome confidence boost after he revealed Thursday that he split with coach Jimmy Connors.

Roddick credited Connors with vastly improving his backhand, and the 2003 U.S. Open champion said he is ready to challenge for Grand Slam titles again.

"If I keep the form I kept this week I'll definitely be a threat again," he said.

Lopez played an aggressive volley game and tried to press Roddick into making mistakes with his backhand.

"The whole time, I felt I was playing well," Roddick said. "The biggest thing this week was the way I played my forehand," he said.

It was Lopez's second runner-up finish in Dubai. He lost to Roger Federer in the 2004 final.

"I have a lot of confidence for the rest" of the season, Lopez said.