Jarkko Nieminen ends six year title drought in Sydney
Jarkko Nieminen won his first title in six years, beating Julien Benneteau to win the Sydney International on Sunday.
Nieminen, who had won just one of his previous 11 appearances in an ATP Tour final, beat Benneteau 6-2 7-5 in the final, which was postponed from Saturday after heavy rain.
In the battle of the over-30s, Nieminen lost his opening service game, but recovered from a shaky start to power to victory - claiming four breaks of serve to secure his first title since Auckland in 2006.
World No. 49 Nieminen, who came through qualifying to reach the main draw in Sydney, extended his unbeaten record against the Frenchman to five wins, while for Benneteau it was his sixth consecutive defeat in a final.
"I don't have a good record in finals, but I don't think I've done anything wrong in the ones I've played," Nieminen said. "Today I felt I had a really good chance to take the title as I had the game to do it. It's been many years since that first title and I had many finals after that, but I'm pretty good at believing in myself."
Both players now head to Melbourne for a swift turnaround ahead of the Australian Open. Nieminen opens his campaign against David Nalbandian on Monday, while Benneteau has the luxury of a day's rest before he faces Karol Beck on Tuesday.