Michael Chang spent several hours on Sunday night sweating over what would turn out to be a 45-second event. That's how long the world number three needed in actual playing time to complete a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Australian Patrick Rafter and win his third Salem Hong Kong Open title at Victoria Park yesterday morning. The final was halted on Sunday afternoon because of rain just as Chang was about to serve out the first of his two match points. And 19 hours and 52 minutes later, Chang, in front of a sparse crowd, was being congratulated by the defeated Rafter. Chang has now won three Hong Kong titles in five final appearances. He also won in 1994 - when he beat Rafter in the final - and 1995. Last year, he was beaten by world number one Pete Sampras and fell to Jim Courier in the 1992 final. 'I don't know how many times I thought about the match last night,' said Chang. 'Should I hit it to his backhand, should I slice it or serve and volley? 'The first points were important because if Patrick had won them, he would have been back in and it could have been a turning point for the whole match. 'You might have noticed I was a bit tight in the first point with my sliced backhand.' Indeed, Chang was punished on the first point yesterday morning. Serving at 40-15 and 5-3 up in the second set when the match resumed, Chang's weak slice allowed Rafter to hit a deep shot before the Australian put away the resultant overhead smash. However, the match was soon over when, on the next point, Rafter hit a backhand pass shot long. Chang had some tough matches on his way to the title, including a rain-delayed, three-set struggle against fellow-American Jeff Tarango in the second round. However, he feels he is on the right track in his preparations for the French Open, which he won in 1989, and his attempts to become world number one. 'I felt pretty good coming here and it's been a great week for me,' he said. 'I think regardless of how I do, whenever I come to Hong Kong, it's been a fun week.' Chang now returns to the United States and will take a week off fishing for red fish with photographer Michael Baz in Orlando. He will stay on in Orlando for next week's ATP tournament. Rafter said, like Chang, he had put much thought into how he would tackle the first few points yesterday. He joked that the last thing he wanted was for Chang to hit an ace on his first match point. 'After waiting all that time . . . if he had hit an ace, the pants would have gone down. And I wasn't wearing any underwear.' On a more serious note, he said: 'I thought he might be a little tight and I wanted to be aggressive because if I could get to 40-40, it would be a whole new ball game. 'But I had many chances to break him yesterday and didn't take them. 'Michael took his chances and that's why he is where he is.' Rafter now travels to Tokyo to compete in the US$1 million Japan Open. He earned US$25,300 as runner-up while Chang took the first prize of US$43,000. Meanwhile, Chang is keen to return to Hong Kong to help promote tennis in the region, although there are doubts he will play in next year's Hong Kong Open. Chang's agent, Tom Ross, said he did not know if Chang would defend his title next year. 'Michael loves to play in Hong Kong and will definitely be back in the territory,' said Ross. 'But we just have some concerns about this particular tournament.' Ross declined to elaborate on what 'concerns' he had with the tournament.