Nieminen wins Sydney International


Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen beat Julien Benneteau 6-2, 7-5 in the rain-delayed Sydney International final Sunday, sealing a remarkable tournament win after he came through qualifying. Nieminen, ranked 77th, came into the pre-Australian Open contest with a 4-0 record against Benneteau and took a firm grip on the match after being broken in the first game, forcing three breaks of serve in the first set.
The second set at Olympic Park went with serve, with the 49th-ranked Frenchman saving a match point in the 10th game with a forehand winner to stay alive. But Nieminen refused to be denied, holding serve and breaking his fellow 30-year-old to take the second set 7-5 in just under 80 minutes, sealing only the second tournament win of his career. He is the first qualifier to win an ATP title since Sergiy Stakhovsky won in St. Petersburg in 2009. “I tried to focus and win every point I could. I think I managed to do that pretty well,” Nieminen said.