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American Andy Roddick wins third straight Kooyong Classic title

MELBOURNE, Australia - Andy Roddick started and finished with aces in a 7-5, 6-3 win over Marcos Baghdatis on Saturday to claim his third consecutive Kooyong Classic title.

MELBOURNE, Australia - Andy Roddick started and finished with aces in a 7-5, 6-3 win over Marcos Baghdatis on Saturday to claim his third consecutive Kooyong Classic title.

Roddick beat Tommy Haas in 2006 and top-ranked Roger Federer in last year's final of the exhibition event. Federer avenged that loss 13 days later at the Australian Open, beating Roddick in the semifinals en route to the title.

Roddick and Michael Chang (1995-97) are the only players to win three straight titles at the Australian Open tuneup event.

Andre Agassi won three in four years, with the sequence broken by Pete Sampras.

Roddick beat Ivan Ljubicic and 2005 Australian Open champion Marat Safin in the earlier rounds here and went straight to business in the final, firing the first of his 10 aces on his first serve of the match.

He will face a qualifier in the first round of the Australian Open and a possible second-round match against young American Donald Young.

Roddick broke Baghdatis' serve in the 12th game of the first set after a small blip in the 11th, when he wasted three game points with some forehand errors and disputed a line call on what he thought was an ace.

He broke Baghdatis' second service game in the second set and closed out at love with an ace.

Safin, the only man to beat Federer at Melbourne Park in four years, finished off his preparations for the season's first major with a 6-3, 6-3 win in the third-place match against Fernando Gonzalez, losing finalist at last year's Australian Open.

No. 7 Gonzalez is seeded to meet Federer in the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.

Federer will begin his bid for a third consecutive Australian title without a competitive match in the leadup, hoping to be the first man since Andre Agassi achieved that in 1995.

He missed the Kooyong tournament because of a stomach virus, creating the spot for Baghdatis in the elite eight-man invitation draw.

 
 
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