Spain's world No.5 Carlos Moya retained his ATP Chennai Open title today, then donated the entire $US52,000 ($68,439) prizemoney to tsunami
The top seed emerged unscathed after a three-hour slugfest against Paradorn Srichaphan, of Thailand, to win 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5) in a repeat of last
year's final before a sell-out crowd of 6000 at the Nungambakkam tennis stadium in Madras, India.
"I want the money I have earned here to help the survivors of one of the worst tragedies of our times," said the 28-year-old Moya after winning his
18th ATP title in a rousing final.
More than 156,000 people were killed across Asia in the December 26 tsunami disaster - nearly 10,000 of them in the southern Indian state of Tamil
Nadu of which Madras is the capital.
"It is a small contribution which I hope will help the affected families," said Moya.
"They deserve all the help they can get."
Moya, who led Spain's victory against the United States in the Davis Cup final in December, said he was delighted to start the season with a win.
"There is no better way to start the new year," he said. "Last year, too, I won here in January, ended the year by winning the Davis Cup and have now
begun the year with another win.
"It bodes well for the tough contests ahead in the Australian Open."
Paradorn, seeded second, appeared to have the title in his grasp when he served for the match at 5-2 in the final set, but Moya showed his undisputed
class with a stirring comeback. The Spaniard reeled off four games in a row to lead 6-5 before Paradorn, playing his fourth successive final in
Madras, forced the tie-breaker after saving a match point. Moya wasted two more match points following a 6-3 lead in the tie-breaker, but then sealed
the match as Paradorn returned a serve beyond the baseline.
Paradorn pocketed $US30,000 ($39,484), once again narrowly missing out on the title after a similar tie-breaker loss in the third set had cost him the
final against Moya last year.
"I had my chances but did not take them," said Paradorn. "But I have to take the positives from the match.
"I could have lost in the first round, but at least I made the final.
"Carlos played very well and came back strongly. He was the better player today and deserved to win."
The 25-year-old, Asia's top player at No. 27, made his first Chennai final in 2002 after entering the tournament as a wildcard, but lost the title
round against Guillermo Canas of Argentina. The genial Thai won the event in 2003 and reached the final again in the next two editions.