Volandri defeats Malisse in Raiffeisen final


ST. POELTEN, Austria -- Italy's Filippo Volandri won the
first ATP title of his career, defeating Xavier Malisse 6-1, 6-4 in
a wet, chilly final at the Raiffeisen Grand Prix.

The eighth-seeded Volandri eliminated David Sanchez in a rainy
semifinal Friday and coped far better than Malisse in Saturday's
conditions. The Belgian played in sunshine all week.

"It's awesome," said Volandri, a runner-up in Croatia in July
2003. "I cannot believe I have finally won a title."

The Italian started the match by breaking serve and breezed
through the first set. In the second set, Volandri surged ahead
4-0, but Malisse changed rackets and won four straight games to
even the set. Volandri then held serve and broke his opponent in
the next game to win the match.

"My racket strings were not ideal, and my hits not precise and
strong enough," Malisse said.

Volandri said he expected Malisse, a 2002 Wimbledon
semifinalist, to play more aggressively.

"But, obviously, he had problems with the conditions,"
Volandri said.