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Sunday, July 16, 2006
Philippoussis tops Gimelstob to win Hall of Fame title

Associated Press

NEWPORT, R.I. -- Mark Philippoussis beat eighth-seeded Justin Gimelstob 6-3, 7-5 to win the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships on Sunday.

Philippoussis, ranked No. 214 in the world entering the tournament, didn't lose serve in the entire tournament, showing some of the form that had him ranked No. 9 two years ago. It was his first title since winning Shanghai in 2003.

"It feels great. It feels like 20 years," the 29-year-old Australian said after winning his 11th career title. He wasn't broken in 54 service games in the tournament.

Philippoussis, a wild card entrant, had dropped out of the top 100 the last two years because of injuries.

"I've always said the No. 1 thing is your health," he said. "If you feel great you start off the day great. I'm enjoying my tennis."

Philippoussis, a 2003 Wimbledon finalist, won 87 percent of his first-serve points for the second straight day. He had 15 aces after getting 16 in Saturday's semifinal win.

"I've been working extremely hard and this is when it pays off," Philippoussis said. "I felt like I had good rhythm on my serve. I just felt good the whole week."

Philippoussis broke Gimelstob in the second game of the match to go up 2-0. He closed out the first set with three straight aces.

In the second set, Gimelstob rallied to go up 4-3, but Philippoussis broke in the 11th game for a 6-5 edge. He then had aces on the first two points of the final game before Gimelstob hit a forehand volley wide and a backhand into the net.

"It's good for tennis to have him back," Gimelstob said. "On grass courts he's one of the best players in the world."

The Hall of Fame championships is the only grass-court tournament in North America.