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Robredo tops Stepanek for first Hamburg title

HAMBURG, Germany -- Tommy Robredo beat Radek Stepanek 6-1,
6-3, 6-3 on Sunday in the Hamburg final for his first Masters
Series title.

The eighth-seeded Spaniard won his third career title without
dropping his serve, and is 13-3 on clay this year.

The title will provide a boost for Robredo heading into the
French Open, which starts May 28. He had previously lost in
straight sets to Rafael Nadal at his home tournament in Barcelona
and then in the first round in Rome last week.

"That I won today does not mean I will win every match or win
in Paris, but it does mean I am in good shape," Robredo said.

Robredo, who was in his first Masters final, has now won all
four of his meetings with the Czech.

Both players will enter the top 10 when the latest rankings are
released Monday.

"It's a second Masters Series final for me, so it's a great
result," Stepanek said. "I go out of this tournament with a lot
of confidence and will now get ready for Paris."

Leading 2-1 in the opening set, Robredo got three break points,
but Stepanek saved the first with a passing shot, the second at the
net and the third with an ace. However, a double fault then gave
Robredo a fourth break point, but he needed a fifth before he could
take advantage and lead 3-1.

Down 5-1, Stepanek had three break points but blew all of them
and handed Robredo the set when he sent the ball into the net.

Robredo broke Stepanek's first serve of the second set, then
again at 5-3 with a forehand passing shot down the line. Stepanek
had two break points at 4-3 but Robredo saved them with a service
winner and some big forehands.

Stepanek missed more break points at 1-1 and 3-3 in the third
set. Robredo broke in the next game for a 5-3 lead, hitting a
running backhand down the line. Serving for the title, he took a
40-0 lead and won on his second match point with a volley off the
top of the net.

Although Robredo reached a career-high eighth this month before
entering Hamburg ranked 12th, it will be Stepanek's first time in
the top 10. Currently ranked No. 16, Stepanek's previous best was
12th last month.

Stepanek, who was seeking his first title on clay, was runner-up
to Marat Safin in Paris in 2004 in his only previous Masters final.

"Everything I did went wrong," Stepanek said. "I think 6-1
gave Tommy confidence for the rest of the match and it showed in
his game. My chances came in the third set but I didn't take them.

"Tommy just played his best match, he was passing from
everywhere, playing big top-spins which were landing most of the
time on the line."

Robredo, meanwhile, already knows what he'll do with his latest
trophy.

"I will put it behind my plasma TV in the living room and say
to Carmen, the woman who cleans, I want this so clean every day,"
Robredo said.