Dupuis edges Ancic in three-hour battle

Updated: February 15, 2004, 12:38 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MILAN, Italy -- Anthony Dupuis beat Mario Ancic of Croatia 6-4, 6-7 (12), 7-6 (5) in the Milan Indoors on Sunday to win his first career ATP title.

The 30-year-old Frenchman won a gruelling three-hour contest despite losing seven match points in the second-set tiebreaker.

"I cannot describe in words how happy I feel," Dupuis said. "To win an ATP title is such a big achievement for a player.

"I am 30 years old and feel fitter than ever. This victory gives me the motivation to work even harder in the future," he added.

The tall right-hander needed 10 match points to win after failing to convert seven in the second tie break, including four successive points at 6-2.

"In the second set tiebreaker, my hand was trembling. I could not be aggressive, and I missed some points I would not have missed before," Dupuis said. "In the third set I told myself, 'This time I must not be afraid."

Ancic, who has added to his reputation as the eventual replacement for Goran Ivanisevic at the helm of Croatian tennis, had few complaints about the outcome.

"I have to give him credit," the 19-year-old said. "He played well and fully deserved to win.

"I played well too and had a few chances but he was lucky with a couple of net cords on important points, such as in the final set tie-break."

"I am pretty happy with my five matches this week, though. It was a good tournament for me, reaching my first final," he added.

Dupuis was in just his second tour final; he was the runner-up at Munich in 2001. He is ranked 97th.

It was the first ATP Tour championship match for the teenage Ancic. Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.