Re: ATP Finals
World No. 18 Nicolas Almagro continued to light up the post-Wimbledon clay-court swing as he won his second trophy in three weeks with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Richard Gasquet Sunday in the final of the Allianz Suisse Open Gstaad.
As champion of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament, Almagro received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €68,450, while Gasquet earned 150 points and €35,980 in prize money.
Almagro’s victory in Gstaad follows hot on the heels of his triumph in Bastad two weeks ago, when he snapped a 17-month title drought with victory over home favourite Robin Soderling in the final. The Spaniard improved to a 7-2 mark in ATP World Tour finals, each one coming on clay. It is the second time he has won two ATP World Tour titles in the same year, having also done so in 2008 at Acapulco and Costa do Sauipe during the Latin American “Golden Swing”.
Following his recent surge of good form, the Spaniard stated his goal for the rest of the season "is to reach the Top 10 and stay there".
The Murcia native was making his debut in Gstaad this week and is the first Spanish winner since Alex Corretja in 2002. Spaniards had won the title nine of 11 years between 1992 and 2002. It is the 15th Spanish victory at an ATP World Tour event this year, with Juan Carlos Ferrero still to play in the ATP Studena Croatia Open final later on Sunday.
The second-seeded Almagro served for the first set at 5-4, but could not close it out as Gasquet converted his first break point of the match to level at 5-5. Almagro immediately regained his advantage, though, and served out the set at the second time of asking, closing with his 10th ace after 43 minutes.
Almagro capitalised on his momentum by breaking to lead 2-1 in the second set. A spate of unforced errors from an out-of-sorts Gasquet then proved costly for the Frenchman as Almagro prevailed in a lengthy fifth game to open up a 4-1 lead. He then broke serve once more in the seventh game to seal victory in 75 minutes, finishing with a trademark backhand winner.
"I played my best tennis today," said Almagro. "I returned well and served amazingly. The altitude doesn't make it easier here, but it's nice to face that challenge. I realised during the first set that Richard had trouble with his serve."
"It wasn't easy from the beginning of the week," said Gasquet. "I just started serving on the Friday before the tournament because I had problems with my shoulder. It became worse last night. Also Nicolas was playing well so it was very difficult today."
Seventh seed Gasquet had been looking to regain the Gstaad title he won in 2006, when he defeated Feliciano Lopez in the final. He dropped to an 11-2 event record. The Frenchman was contesting his third ATP World Tour final of the season and suffered his second defeat. He also finished runner-up in Sydney (l. to Baghdatis), but won his sixth ATP World Tour title on clay in Nice (d. Verdasco).
"I tried to fight and focus well all week and thanks to that I made it to another final here," said Gasquet. "It's still a good week for me. This is a very beautiful tournament and it's always a pleasure to come here.
"Now I will try to be back in form as soon as possible and get ready for the hardcourt swing in the US."