Auckland, New Zealand – World No. 5 David Ferrer had a successful final tuneup for the Australian Open, with the star Spaniard downing German Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets in Saturday's championship match of the Heineken Open.
Ferrer, the top seed of this event, needed just 1 hour and 18 minutes to dispatch the second-seeded Kohlschreiber by a 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 score and capture his third straight title at this event. He also won this tournament in 2007.
"I'm really happy because I did a new record for my career," Ferrer remarked. "It's really nice to win one ATP tournament, but four times is very difficult."
Ferrer fought back from a 5-4 deficit while staving off a set point in the opening sequence, breaking Kohlschreiber to draw even before later reeling off four consecutive points en route to taking the tiebreaker. He had far less resistance in the second set, recording three service breaks after Kohlschreiber held serve to begin play.
"I think the first set was the key," Ferrer said. "He served to win the first set, but he didn't take his chance. I tried to fight for every point and in the important moments, I was there. In the tie-break, I played better."
A quarterfinalist at last year's Australian Open, Ferrer will be the fourth seeded for the first major of the season and will open play against Belgium's Olivier Rochus. He earned $78,250 for seizing his 19th career ATP title.
Kohlschreiber, the 2008 Heineken Open champ, received $41,200 and will be seeded 17th in Melbourne.