Dent Wins Hall of Fame Tennis

Sunday, July 14th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) _ Taylor Dent beat James Blake 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 on Sunday to win the first All-American final in five years at the $400,000 Hall of Fame Championships.

``I was just ecstatic,'' Dent, 21, said. ``I was happier than I thought I'd have been. It's just a great feeling that I can't describe in words.''

Dent broke Blake in the second and sixth games, capturing the first set in just 19 minutes. He took control when he broke in the third game of the final set.

He thought he served a match-clinching ace at 40-30, but his celebration was premature as the serve was ruled wide. Dent did close it out on the next ball in play, making a lunging backhand return for a winner.

``I don't think it's ever fun to do that,'' he said. ``I thought it was in, and I really got lucky with the half-volley flick.''

Blake, 22, was just as surprised by Dent's winning shot.

``He made a great volley. I thought I was at least in control of the point, but there's nothing you can do about it,'' said Blake, after his second career final. ``He made a great return. When I saw it go over, it hurt a little.''

Blake's other final appearance came at Memphis earlier this year when he lost to Andy Roddick.

Dent earned $54,000 for his victory at the only grass tournament in North America.