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Novak Defeats Czech Republic's Federer in 5-Set Marathon - 2003-07-13


Third-seeded Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic defeated home-country player Roger Federer in a five-set marathon Sunday to capture the Swiss Open tennis title in Gstaad.

Novak's 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 victory snapped the Wimbledon champion's 15-match winning streak. It also prevented Federer from becoming the first Swiss player to win the Open in 23 years.

Novak extended a streak of his own, winning his 10th straight match at Gstaad, and first ATP Tour title since he won this event in 2001. He was unable to defend his title last year because of injury. It was also a bit of revenge for Novak, who had lost his only other final this year to Federer in February. The 21-year-old Federer has a match record of 53-10 this season and was trying to win his first title on Swiss soil. He had been to the final at Basel twice before, losing in 2000 and 2001.

Mariano Zabaleta has become the first Argentine player to capture the Swedish Open tennis title, defeating Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador in Bastad on Sunday.

Zabaleta won the battle of South Americans 6-3, 6-4 to win the second title of his career and first in five years.

The fifth-seeded Argentine broke the number six Lapentti to lead 3-1 in the first set, then again to go up 5-4 in the second. Zabaleta had knocked out defending champion Carlos Moya in the semifinals on Saturday, while Ecuador's Lapentti toppled second-seeded Tommy Robredo.

In women's tennis, meanwhile, Russian teenager Dinara Safina defeated Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia in straight sets Sunday to win the Palermo International clay-court tennis event in Italy.

The ninth-seeded Sarafina's 6-3, 6-4 victory over the number-four Srebotnik was the second title of her career. The 17-year-old won her first title at the Polish Open, becoming the WTA Tour's youngest champion.

The younger sister of Russian tennis star Marat Safin, played powerful, consistent tennis as she sailed to victory at the Country Club in the Sicilian capital.

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