Berdych claims Thailand title

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World ranked No. 7 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic got his 2015 season off to a flying start by defeating Canada’s big serving Milos Raonic 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in the final of the World Tennis Thailand Championship in Hua Hin on Friday, Jan. 2, and in doing so gained a measure of revenge after losing to the Canadian at the 2013 Thailand Open.

The event, held from Dec. 31 – Jan. 2, and being staged for the first time in Thailand, attracted 6 of the world’s top men’s tennis players including David Ferrer, John Isner, Richard Gasquet and Fabio Fognini, along with Berdych and Raonic.

Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic holds up the King’s trophy after winning the 2015 World Tennis Thailand Championship in Hua Hin, Friday, Jan. 2.Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic holds up the King’s trophy after winning the 2015 World Tennis Thailand Championship in Hua Hin, Friday, Jan. 2.

In the third place playoff match held earlier on Friday, Spain’s David Ferrer easily defeated Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-0.

Berdych, who received the King’s trophy and 40,000 USD in prize money, said he was satisfied with his performance and has high hopes for the coming season.

“For me, it’s not revenge,’’ Berdych told reporters.  “It’s good to begin the year with a win.  I’m pleased with that and hope I can become better ahead of the year’s first Grand Slam.  I’m looking forward to the coming season with good results.’’

The Centennial Park in Hua Hin provided a top class venue for the 3-day tournament.The Centennial Park in Hua Hin provided a top class venue for the 3-day tournament.

During the tournament, the players took part in several promotional and charity activities including posing for a watercolour painting by world famous Thai artist Tawee Kesa-ngam.  The painting will be auctioned by the Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand with the proceeds going to the local Hua Hin Dog Shelter.

The six tennis stars have now departed Thailand and are preparing for the year’s first tennis major, The Australian Open, which starts on January 19.