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Goffin wins Japan Open for 2nd title in 2 weeks

(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

By DAVID HULMES

Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) David Goffin atoned for his defeat in the Japan Open final last year by winning it on Sunday, beating Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 7-5.

The victory extended Goffin's winning streak to nine matches, including four in Shenzhen last week when he won his first title in more than three years. He lost last year's Tokyo final to Nick Kyrgios.

The Belgian stands at No. 8 in the ATP Race to London rankings. With the injured Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka ruled out, 10th place will be good enough to secure a place at the end-of-season showpiece.

Mannarino started slowly in his attempt to win a first ATP title. Goffin broke in the fourth game with a forehand winner down the line, and again in the seventh.

The Frenchman posted his first victory over a top-five opponent when defeating Marin Cilic in the semifinals. As in that match, he gained a foothold in the middle of the second set, breaking Goffin to lead 4-2.

However, Goffin immediately broke back, and again in the 11th game before serving out to love for the title.

"I've been serving well for a few weeks," Goffin said.

"During the rallies he was hitting the ball really flat, and that combined with the surface meant the bounce was really low. It was tough on the legs to stay with him in the rallies.

"When we started the second he became more aggressive and my return was not enough. He started to serve better so I needed to do something more aggressive because the first six games he was really comfortable. I read his serve a bit better, and then I took control of the rallies."

Goffin has 33 hard-court wins this year, joint-top on the tour with Rafael Nadal, who played the China Open final later Sunday.

Mannarino leaves Japan having equaled his 2015 career-best 28 wins in a season.

Also, Japan Davis Cup duo Ben McLachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama surprised hot favorites Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 6-4, 7-6 (1) to claim the doubles crown.

Updated October 8, 2017

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