Lopez retains Eastbourne title

Eastbourne - Feliciano Lopez of Spain retained his title at the ATP-WTA Eastbourne International on Saturday.

Third-seeded Lopez defeated top seed Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, sealing a contest that lasted nearly two and a quarter-hours with his 13th ace of the match.

Lopez won the title in 2013 and proved his strength on the lawns as he played last week's final at Queen's club against Grigor Dimitrov, with the Spaniard losing after holding a match point.

The victory in Eastbourne prevented Gasquet from claiming a hat-trick of trophies at the pre-Wimbledon event, which he won when it was played in Nottingham in 2005 and 2006.

Lopez saved five of six break points he faced against Gasquet, who was playing in only his third tournament after missing almost all of the clay season with back problems.

Lopez earned the key break late in the final set of the marathon as he broke for 6-5 and closed out the win moments later.

The Spaniard, 32, became the eighth different player over the age of 30 to win an ATP title this year.

Lopez also defended a title for the first time as he claimed the fourth of his career and second on grass.

"It was a big battle, I'm just glad to get through," said Lopez.

"Richard plays well on this surface and I really had to work to win.

"But it feels great to back up a title here right before Wimbledon."

Despite losing Gasquet was pleased to be making a start after his injury worries and goes into Wimbledon ready to challenge.

"Of course I'm very disappointed to lose 7-5 in the final (set). You don't win a title every week. So of course it's tough. That's the sport.

"(But) the most important was here to feel no pain, to play 100 per cent," said the world number 14.

"I played many matches here so I think I will be ready for Wimbledon.

"I had a lot of problems with my back, and I'm trying to come back every day. I've worked a lot on my physical condition.

"I will take the positives and I try my best next week again. This win was for him, and next time I hope it will be on my side."

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