ATP Finals [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

ATP Finals

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:02 PM
I wanted to make a thread featuring articles about every final of the ATP world tour from 2010 onwards.All articles belong to www.atpworldtour.com and no copyright intended.






If you dont like the thread please dont comment on it :):).This is my first thread on MTF :o:o

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:06 PM
Brisbane 2010

Erasing the memories of an injury-plagued second half of 2009, Andy Roddick bounced back on Sunday to win his first ATP World Tour singles title on Australian soil. The No. 1-seeded American defeated No. 2 seed and defending champion Radek Stepanek, 7-6(2), 7-6(7) in the final of the Brisbane International.

The first set was a tight affair with neither player dropping serve, though Roddick held set point on Stepanek's serve at 6-5.

The tie-break itself was a totally different proposition, with Stepanek's back-court game suddenly falling apart, virtually handing the American the opening set on a platter.

That set the tone early in the second set, with Stepanek double-faulting to hand Roddick breaks in the first and third games. But holding for 4-1 seemed to steady the 31-year-old Czech who clawed his way back, recovering both breaks as Roddick twice served for the title, and even leading 6-5.

Roddick held to force another tie-break, where he once again stamped his authority, blazing through the first four points. He held five championship points at 6-1 but Stepanek wasn't done quite yet, snatching the next six points to hold a set point of his own.

Roddick fended off that challenge and two points later claimed the title after two hours, five minutes.

"I don't think I've ever squandered a lead where I've been putting in first serves and making approach shots," Roddick said.

"The first time I served for it I had a double fault, but I don't know that I missed a ball apart from that. The next one I actually made five out of six first serves and again was coming in.

"Once he got down he kind of loosened up and played more aggressively."

"I was able to come back from 1-5 down in the second set against a player such as Andy with a tremendous serve, to break him twice in a row... I was fighting until the last point; I never gave up," said Stepanek.

"I had my chances at the end of the second set in the tie-break... I think the biggest difference today was in the serve; Andy had a great percentage of first serves and I wasn't able to hold my percentage that high."

It was a superb start to the season for Roddick, who sat out five weeks after his epic 2009 Wimbledon finals loss to Roger Federer with a hip injury, then had his season cut short in October by a left knee injury.

He now edges ahead of Federer to have won at least one ATP World Tour singles title for 10 consecutive years, the most among active players.

"I certainly don't know if I expected to come and win my first tournament after a pretty extended lay-off," Roddick added.

His 28 career singles titles moves him ahead of Lleyton Hewitt for third place outright for most titles among active players, behind Federer (61) and Rafael Nadal (36).

Roddick improves his career series with Stepanek to 6-1 and is now 28-17 lifetime in singles finals, while Stepanek falls to 4-7. Roddick takes home $63,800 for winning the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court title, while Stepanek earns $33,600.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:07 PM
Chennai 2010

ATP World Tour No. 14 Marin Cilic successfully defended the Aircel Chennai Open title Sunday with a hard-fought 7-6(2), 7-6(3) victory over third seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the final of the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament.

The 21-year-old Cilic joined Carlos Moya (2004-05) as the only repeat winners in Chennai in the tournament’s history (since 1996). He defeated home favourite Somdev Devvarman in the final last year and reached the semi-finals on his 2008 main-draw debut, compiling a 13-1 event record overall.

"Starting the year well like this gives me a lot of belief and satisfaction in all the work that I did in the off-season," said Cilic. "I'm very proud to defend my title and win twice here. This is the best way possible and gives me a great perspective for the rest of the year. Obviously winning the title here will give me more confidence going into the Australian Open. I'll have a week off now, go to Melbourne, rest and have a few days of practice before the tournament starts."

As winner, Cilic received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and $68,450, while runner-up Wawrinka earned 150 ATP Ranking points and $35,980 in prize money.

Victory marked Cilic’s fourth ATP World Tour title from six finals and the first time he has repeated as champion. His other trophies came at the 2009 PBZ Zagreb Indoors (d. Ancic) and 2008 Pilot Pen Tennis (d. Fish) in New Haven.

Against Wawrinka, Cilic was forced to contend with a 0-4 head-to-head record going into the match and fell behind 3-5 in the first set as his Swiss opponent earned the chance to serve for a one-set lead. The second-seeded Cilic immediately hit back, though, and then survived a tight 12th game to force a tie-break, which he dominated and won 7-2.

Cilic gained the upper hand early in the second set by breaking to lead 2-0. However, his first double fault of the match saw him relinquish his lead immediately and the match went to a second tie-break. Again, Cilic made a strong start in the tie-break, racing out to a 5-1 lead before sealing victory after two hours and 40 minutes.

"We played against each other earlier in the my career but today it was different because it was a final and I've improved a lot since the last time I played him at the French Open a couple years ago," said Cilic. "He has improved as well of course. It was a big mental battle on the court today. I played well when I had to. The first tie-break was obviously crucial as it gave me a mental advantage in the second set. There was a lot of rallies and running. It wasn't easy to maintain yourself on the court all the time and to be focussed but I'm very happy about my mental and physical aspects today.

"I was searching a bit for my game at the start of the match. As the match went on, it got more physical and he wasn't able to hit the balls so close to the lines which gave me more opportunities to get into the rallies.

"It's definitely the toughest final I have played," added the Croatian. "It's so humid here and the balls get really big which makes it hard to hit winners. It was definitely the legs doing most of the work on the court today. Mentally it was very tough. This is a really tough week to play. I know it's winter here now, but I can only imagine how the conditions are in the summer!"

The 24-year-old Wawrinka was bidding to snap a three-and-a-half-year title drought since lifting his maiden trophy at the ATP Studena Croatia Open in August 2006, when Novak Djokovic retired due to breathing difficulties. The Swiss slipped to 1-6 mark in ATP World Tour finals, having fallen in his past five attempts.

"It's tough to lose in two tie-breaks but I think we played some great tennis," said Wawrinka. "Marin played a bit better and he deserved it. Next time I hope I can win. I tried to use everything in my game during the match. In the tie-breaks I think I needed to be a bit more aggressive. He took his chances before me.

"It's been a good week, though. Obviously I'm disappointed to lose today but I'm very happy with my game and it's been perfect preparation for the Australian Open. I hope to come back next year."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:08 PM
Doha 2010

In a remarkable final at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open Saturday, World No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko recovered from a bagel first set and saved two match points to edge No. 2 Rafael Nadal 0-6, 7-6(8), 6-4 and win his 20th ATP World Tour title.

By virtue of winning the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament, Davydenko received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and $185,850, while runner-up Nadal earned 150 ATP Ranking points and $97,350 in prize money.

Victory takes Davydenko’s winning run to nine matches unbeaten, having closed 2009 with victory at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. At both the season finale and in Doha this week, Davydenko recorded victories over Roger Federer and Nadal, making him the second player to defeat them during the same tournament on two different occasions after David Nalbandian beat them at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Paris in 2007.

The 28-year-old Davydenko maintained his stellar record in ATP World Tour finals, improving to a 20-5 mark. The Russian is the 38th player in the Open Era (since 1968), and the fifth active player, to win at least 20 ATP World Tour titles. He has now won his past six ATP World Tour finals, with his last loss coming at the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai against Novak Djokovic.

It seemed unlikely that the Russian would maintain his winning ways, though, when Nadal won the first seven games of the pair’s ninth meeting to race to a 6-0, 1-0 lead. In a dominant display, Nadal surrendered just one point on serve in the first set. It was the first time in 338 matches that Davydenko had lost a 6-0 set and the 10th time overall in his career. He had never before recovered to claim victory.

“The first set was 6-0, everybody saw it," said Davydenko. "But if you saw the match, it was not so easy. I tried every point but Nadal had very good concentration and played very well every point. I really had the chance to win some games, but I played a little bit slowly, he played much faster."

The third-seeded Davydenko gradually rediscovered the form that had seen him overturn ATP World Tour Champion Federer in the semi-finals, though, and broke through to lead 3-2 in the second set with a rifling forehand pass up the line. However, the Volgograd resident could not serve out the set at 5-4, paying the price for some loose errors as Nadal levelled at 5-5 before forcing a tie-break.

Davydenko employed the tactic of approaching the net with great success to create a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but again could not maintain his lead and Nadal hit back to hold match point at 6-5. Davydenko once more attacked the net to pressure Nadal, though, and was rewarded as he drew level at 6-6. In a spell where neither player was able to win a point on serve, Davydenko squandered a set point and quickly Nadal held a second match point at 8-7. A rare forehand error from the Spaniard proved costly though and Davydenko hit back to level the match with a backhand winner down the line on his second set point.

Nadal looked to be back on track early in the third set, quickly re-establishing the advantage by breaking to lead 2-1. The Spaniard allowed Davydenko back into contention in the sixth game, though, and lost his serve again in the 10th game as the Russian claimed a dramatic victory after two hours and 43 minutes.

"[In the second set] I started to find my game and started to come back. I should have won the second set at 5-4 with set point, but I didn’t and I was lucky in the tie-break," said Davydenko. "The match was long, I was really tired, but in the third set I still felt I had some power and maybe I could continue and win the match. I don’t know what happened to him at the end. He tried a winner at 4-4, he didn’t make it and it was 5-4 for me. I think he lost a little bit of concentration and lost the match. For me it was a really good fight today."

“I think I played an amazing level in the first set," reflected Nadal. "I had the match in my hands a few times in the third set and the second set, with two match points. I must be happy that I played against one of the players with the best performance on the tour (at the moment) and I was playing better than him during a lot of the match."

Davydenko improved to a 5-4 mark against Nadal and is the only player to have beaten the Mallorcan at least five times and hold a winning record against him. He also defeated Nadal in their two previous matches, triumphing in the final of the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000, presented by Rolex in October and in the round-robin stage of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, both times in straight sets.

Defeat for Nadal sees the left hander’s title drought continue. The reigning Australian Open champion last lifted a trophy on the ATP World Tour in early May with victory over Novak Djokovic at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

“Sure, it’s better to win, especially when you have the chance," said Nadal. "But, that’s tennis and probably this match I needed a little bit more calm. But playing at this level I am sure I’m going to win [a title].

“I think I did the most difficult thing and that was playing all the time at my best level. I’m probably playing better than ever, for the moment. There was one moment in 2008 maybe where I played like I did today in the first set. So that’s a very positive thing for me. I don’t know if I will win in Australia, but I think I’m in a very, very good way.”

After a stellar first five months of the 2009 ATP World Tour season, Nadal was hindered by knee tendonitis, that forced him to miss Wimbledon, and later an abdominal strain that affected him during the North American hard-court season. He closed the season on top form, though, leading Spain to the defence of the Davis Cup title.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:10 PM
Sydney 2010

Cypriot World No. 42 Marcos Baghdatis won his fourth ATP World Tour title Saturday after defeating Richard Gasquet of France 6-4, 7-6(2) in the Medibank International Sydney final, which lasted one hour and 44 minutes. It was the second unseeded Sydney final in the past three years.

The 24-year-old Baghdatis earned $67,250 in prize money and 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings points, while Gasquet picked up $35,400 and 150 points.

Baghdatis donated $5,000 of his prize money to the World Vision Australia Haiti Earthquake Appeal. "The situation in Haiti is really, really sad," said Baghdatis. "I have seen the pictures on the news and it is just horrific. I want to send my condolences to everyone affected by the earthquake."

Baghdatis clinched the first set 6-4, courtesy of a service break in the first game. Both players won 67 per cent of service points and 33 per cent of points on return of serve, but one service break make the difference in the 45-minute opener.

The 23-year-old Gasquet was serving at 0/30 in the first game of the second set, when rain interrupted play. After a considerable delay, Gasquet opened up a 4-1 lead with a service break in the fourth game.

Gasquet, who had not dropped a set en route to his 12th ATP World Tour final (5-7), served for the second set at 5-3 but fell to 0/40. "I served a bad game, and I was in big trouble in the tie-break," he said.

Baghdatis grew in confidence and despite trailing 0/2 in the tie-break, the Cypriot won seven points in a row to capture his first ATP World Tour title since 25 October 2009 at the If Stockholm Open (d. O. Rochus). He is now 4-4 lifetime in singles finals.

"It's confidence building," admitted Baghdatis, who reached the 2006 Australian Open final. "I felt pretty good on court. I have some things to work on still. I have tomorrow and Monday to work on my serve, [my] first serve percentage. [That's] the only thing that worries me a bit.

"I felt great. It's my brother's birthday, and I wanted to win for him also. It's been two years tough for him. So I'm very happy that I won today and can dedicate this win to him."

Gasquet, currently No. 53 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, was attempting to become the first Frenchman to win the Sydney title since Guy Forget (d. Stich) in 1991. Gasquet's last ATP World Tour title came at Mumbai on 30 September 2007.

"I feel confident for Australian Open, even if I have tough draw," said Gasquet. "I'm disappointed, because it's always difficult to lose a final.

"He just played better than me. Even if I was really close in the second, I couldn't win it. I don't know what happened [in the tie-break]."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:11 PM
Auckland 2010


When John Isner reached his first ATP World Tour singles final, at Washington in 2007, he did so with five consecutive victories in third-set tie-breaks. As such, it was only fitting that his first title came in the same fashion, Isner defeating France's Arnaud Clement on Saturday, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(2), to win the Heineken Open.

Isner, 6'9" tall, born in North Carolina but a resident of Tampa, Florida, fell to Andy Roddick in the Washington final two-and-a-half years ago. Coincidentally, with Roddick winning last week's Brisbane International title, Isner follows his compatriot as the second straight American winner by taking the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court crown in New Zealand.


For winning the title Isner earned $64,250 in prize money and 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points, while Clement received $33,780 and 150 points.

After the final Isner announced he would be donating $5,000 of his winner's cheque to the Red Cross in its efforts to assist those affected by the recent earthquake in Haiti.

"It's a small contribution to help the victims in Haiti," Isner said. "What happened there makes us realise how lucky we are."

Isner saved a match point in the third set serving at 5-6, down 30-40, but No. 67-ranked Clement wasn't quite able to snare his fifth career singles title.

"I would rather win that game like I did than if I had won it to love," said Isner. "It gave me a lot of confidence to play pretty much a flawless tie-break."

Isner fired down 22 aces in the two-hour, 18-minute final, bringing his tournament total to 78, not surprisingly the most among all players in the event this past week.

"This is one of my favourite tournaments and I really wanted to come back here after last year," said Isner, who qualified for the Heineken Open last year and reached the quarter-finals. "I thought I had a legitimate shot at being a contender here, but I knew it was going to tough."

It was the first ATP World Tour main draw meeting between Isner and Clement, although Isner won their qualifying first-round clash in Sydney two years ago.

Isner becomes the first American winner in Auckland since Scott Davis in 1990 - since then Americans had finished runner-up on six occasions, including Sam Querrey last year.

Clement's appearance in Auckland was decided only at the last minute - when his compatriot Sebastien Grosjean was offered a wildcard he decided to make the trip as well (instead of attempting to qualify for Sydney).

"Of course I'm disappointed to lose in the final but I think I played well during the entire week," Clement said. "I think it worked out pretty well. I played good matches, beat good players and today couldn't beat Isner who played a great match. This is probably his first title of many to come.

"Overall I'm very happy with my game. If I play like this all year long I think I have a chance to be back in the Top 20."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:12 PM
Australian Open 2010

Contesting his 22nd career Grand Slam singles final, World No. 1 Roger Federer collected his 16th major title with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(11) win over No. 5 seed Andy Murray at the Australian Open on Sunday.

The 28-year-old Swiss master, appearing in his 18th final from the past 19 Grand Slam events, notched his fifth win over Murray from 11 contests in the two-hour, 41-minute clash as he regained the title he lost to Rafael Nadal last year. It was a repeat of the 2008 US Open final (Murray's first in a major), which Federer also won in three straight sets.

Federer becomes the fifth man to win at least four Australian Open titles (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010) and only the second to do so at Melbourne Park alongside Andre Agassi. It is his first Grand Slam title won as a father, with his wife Mirka giving birth to twin girls six months ago.

"Coming here at the beginning of the year and playing so well, it's a beautiful feeling," said Federer, who edged ahead of Pete Sampras to win a record 15th major at Wimbledon last year. "I definitely had to play some of my best tennis tonight to come through. That was clearly the case."

On a day during which the mercury reached 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit), stormy weather later in the day meant the roof on Rod Laver Arena was only partially open at the start of the match in case the rain returned. But as the skies cleared the roof was opened more, providing perfect conditions for the last match of the 2010 tournament.

Federer broke Murray to love with winners off both wings to lead 2-0 in the first set but Murray returned the favour immediately, hitting some scorching winners of his own to break back.

While Murray continued to threaten Federer's serve he failed to hold another break point from 2-2 first set until early in the third set as Federer broke in the eighth game of the first and third game of the second, which was enough for him to take a two-set lead.

"I thought it was very physical at the beginning," Federer said. "We both wanted to win the long rallies, and the start was crucial because it was so intense."

Federer had never lost a Grand Slam match after leading two sets to love, and while Murray appeared to pull up gingerly on his right leg at 2-2 his intensity increased while Federer's dipped slightly.

At 2-3, Federer fell to 0-40 and though he saved two break points Murray won a quick-fire exchange at the net to lead 4-2 which pumped up the Scot and the capacity crowd. A confident hold for 5-2 had Murray close to forcing a fourth set, but serving at 5-3 Murray allowed Federer his first break points of the set, and the top seed levelled proceedings.

"There was no reason to panic," said Federer of his 5-2 third-set deficit. "I was still leading two sets to love, and Andy's such a great returner so it wasn't a big problem. I was still happy with the way things were going up to that point."

Fittingly, the third set was decided on a tie-break with both men playing somewhat conservatively. Murray held the first set points at 6-4 but an unreturnable Federer forehand and a Murray forehand error erased both opportunities.

Murray held three more set points but Federer's experience and bravery paid dividends as he held his first championship points 8-7 and 10-9. On the second, Murray chased down a drop volley and hit a backhand that Federer watched drop in, much to his disappointment.

"I hesitated for a split second - I could've played the ball but I decided to let it go, and matches have been lost in the past this way. I'm always positive, but obviously that could have cost me the match and the tournament."

After Murray netted a return on his fifth set point at 11-10, Federer took the next two points as a tired Murray backhand into the net gave Federer the title.

“I always knew it was going to be a very intense match," said Federer. "I'm happy I was able to play so aggressively and patiently at the same time because that's what you got to be against Murray."

"I don't feel great," Murray said. "I wanted to win the tournament. I think it was more the way the end of the match finished. Obviously it was pretty emotional end to the match."

It certainly wasn't a painless path to the title for Federer, who come from behind to beat Russians Igor Andreev in the first round and Nikolay Davydenko in the quarter-finals. Nonetheless, Federer has now won a Grand Slam singles title in each of the past eight years, a feat matched only by Bjorn Borg (1974-81) and Pete Sampras (1993-2000).

Just as Federer fought back tears during last year's trophy presentation after his harrowing five-set loss to Nadal, Murray was overcome during his speech on-court. "I can cry like Roger; it's a shame I can't play like him," Murray joked.

Much had been made of the fact that at age 22 and contesting his 17th Grand Slam event, Murray was at the exact point in his career as Federer was when he won his first major title.

After his semi-final victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Federer had joked that it had been 150,000 years since a British man had won a major singles title. In fact Fred Perry's US Open victory came in 1936, now followed by six runner-up finishes by British men.

“The next one (Grand Slam final) is not going to get any easier [for Murray]," said Federer. "But his game is so good that I'm convinced he will win one. And I thought he did really well tonight because conditions were tough. I think I played a great match. So someone's got to win, and I'm happy it was me."

"Tonight's match was a lot closer than the one at Flushing Meadows," said Murray, comparing his first and second major finals. "I had a chance at the beginning of the match, and I had chances at the end of the match.

"I worked really, really hard to try to do it and give myself the opportunity; so far it's not been good enough. But I'm sure one day it will be. When it comes, maybe because of the two losses, it will be even better."

The official tournament attendance of 653,860 beats 2008's record number by nearly 50,000 spectators.

It was also announced that approximately $687,000 was raised from the Hit For Haiti appeal launched by Federer on the eve of the tournament, aiding those affected by the recent earthquake.

Federer takes home A$2.1 million for winning the men's singles title while Murray earned A$1.05 million

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:14 PM
Johannesburg 2010

Spaniard Feliciano Lopez rejoined the winners' circle for the first time since October 2004 Sunday as he defeated first-time finalist Stephane Robert 7-5, 6-1 in the final of the SA Tennis Open in Johannesburg.

Lopez captured his second ATP World Tour title five and a half years on from triumphing at the Bank Austria TennisTrophy (d. Canas) in Vienna, enduring three runner-up finishes in between, most recently at the 2008 Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships (l. to Roddick).

“I hope that this title now will help me to have more confidence in my game, to believe more in myself, so I can get more titles in my career,” said Lopez, who will fly to Rotterdam tonight to contest the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, where he faces World No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko in the first round.

As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament, Lopez received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and $75,700, while Robert earned 150 Ranking points and $39,780 in prize money

In a tight 49-minute first set, the third-seeded Lopez was denied on eight break points before breaking through Robert’s resistance in the 12th game to seal the first set. Lopez was more potent on his break point chances in the second set, racing to a 5-0 lead before closing out victory after 73 minutes.

Lopez was strong on serve throughout, firing 11 aces and facing no break points. In the second set he surrendered just five points behind his service delivery, while creating 12 break points in total on Robert’s serve.

“I think the first set was closer," reflected Lopez. "I was nervous a little bit, to be honest. I had too many opportunities, every game he was serving I had break point and that made me feel a little bit nervous because I couldn’t convert the chances and you never know what’s going to happen later.

“He had nothing to lose, all the pressure was on my side. So that’s probably why I played in this way in the first set. After I took the first set, everything was completely different. I started playing much better and my shots were working perfectly, from the baseline, net, everywhere."

After struggling with his breathing in the high altitude in Johannesburg during his first couple of rounds, the 28-year-old Lopez eventually acclimatised on his debut at the SA Tennis Open and dispatched top seed Gael Monfils in the semi-finals to reach his sixth ATP World Tour Final (2-4 record).

The No. 39-ranked Lopez improved to a 7-2 mark on the season and has gathered pace in each tournament he has played. After suffering a first-round loss to eventual runner-up Richard Gasquet at the Medibank International in Sydney, Lopez impressed in a four-set, third-round exit to Andy Roddick at the Australian Open.

The 29-year-old Robert marked his career-high South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking of No. 100 this week with a breakthrough performance in Johannesburg. The right-hander had never even reached an ATP World Tour quarter-final before his debut at the SA Tennis Open and knocked out No. 2 seed David Ferrer – his first match against a Top 20 player – in the semi-finals yesterday.

“I didn’t do anything special this week," said Robert, reflecting on his success. "Last week, last month, the past couple of months I was playing really good tennis. I have to admit, my draw was good this week. I was seeded, so when you are No. 100 this week and you are seeded it means it’s a bit of luck for me because I got protected for the first two rounds and it opened some doors. I was there to take this opportunity and I’m very proud of what I did this week."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:16 PM
Zagreb 2010

New ATP World Tour No. 10 Marin Cilic came through a tough test to defend his title at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors, defeating first-time finalist Michael Berrer 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 Sunday in the final of the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tennis tournament.

As winner, Cilic received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €68,450, while Berrer earned 150 Ranking points and €35,980 in prize money.

Cilic has started the 2010 season in red-hot form and improved to a 15-1 match record. The 21 year old opened the year by successfully defending his title at the Aircel Chennai Open (d. Wawrinka) before reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open (l. to Murray). He subsequently rose to a career-high No. 10 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings.

“I would say this [title] is the [most] special one," said Cilic. "I did not have much time to adjust after the Australian Open; it was not easy to meet people's expectations. I am proud about what I've done.”

DEUCE: On The Rise…Cilic

Victory marked Cilic’s fifth ATP World Tour title. The Monte-Carlo resident first triumphed at Pilot Pen Tennis (d. Fish) in New Haven in 2008 and has added to his tally with two wins apiece in Chennai and Zagreb in 2009 and 2010. The right-hander improved to a 5-2 record in ATP World Tour finals, with his two defeats coming last year at the China Open (d. Nadal, l. to Djokovic) in Beijing and the Bank Austria TennisTrophy (l. to Melzer) in Vienna.

Having come through his first four matches this week in straight sets, Cilic faced his toughest test yet in the final against the unseeded Berrer, who had accounted for No. 5 seed Janko Tipsarevic and No. 4 Viktor Troicki en route to the title match.

Cilic made a strong start to the pair’s first meeting, breaking serve in the fifth game before going on to close out a one-set lead. Neither player was able to break serve in the second set, although both had opportunities, and it was Berrer who stepped up in the resulting tie-break, racing to a 5-2 lead before levelling the match.

The top seed regained the momentum midway through the deciding set, though, breaking serve in the fourth game and saving two break points as he served out the hard-fought victory after two hours and 38 minutes. The Croatian was strong on serve, firing 13 aces and saving all six break points he faced.

“I was surprised with the level of his game," confessed Cilic. "It's not that I underestimated him; it's just that I did not expect this level of tennis in his first major final. There were no ups and downs in his game; I had to earn every point.

“I was not as fast today as I was in the previous rounds. I have played lot of matches this year, but it was also mentally tough. Now I can relax."

“I was sure that it would be a very, very tough match," said Berrer. "But I felt I had chances because with the way I play I can hurt players and I did today, but at the end he showed that he is a Top 10 player. There’s a difference in playing a guy like him than playing a guy outside the Top 20."

Cilic, who captured the title on home soil last year with victory over Mario Ancic in an all-Croatian final, improved to a 12-3 tournament record having won his past 10 matches in a row since suffering a second-round defeat to Simone Bolelli in 2008.

World No. 65 Berrer had advanced to his first ATP World Tour final without the loss of a set, but again failed to defeat one of the game’s elite, slipping to a 0-10 lifetime record against Top 10 players. The 29 year old dropped to a 7-3 record on the year, also highlighted by a quarter-final effort at the Aircel Chennai Open (l. to Wawrinka).

“If I can work on this level then I can get to a high ranking," said Berrer. "Now, I hope I’m in a good way but you have to be lucky to stay healthy and everything, but so far, so good. If I can go on playing like this then I think I can get in the area of the top players and that will be really a success for me."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:16 PM
Chile 2010


After a see-sawing final on Sunday, No. 3 seed Thomaz Bellucci collected his second ATP World Tour singles title at the Movistar Open, defeating No. 2 seed Juan Monaco of Argentina, 6-2, 0-6, 6-4.

Bellucci becomes the first Brazilian to win the Movistar Open title since his idol Gustavo Kuerten took the crown in 2000. Coincidentally, that was the last year Santiago staged this ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament, having been held in the Chilean seaside city of Viña del Mar between 2001 and 2009.

"It's a coincidence that Guga (Kuerten) won the title the last time the tournament was played in Santiago," Bellucci said. "Guga was No. 1 in the world and I'm only starting to play in the bigger events now.

"It was a great week. I won some tough matches and I'm happy to win my second ATP [World Tour] title."

The 22-year-old left-hander burst out of the blocks in the first set, breaking Monaco's serve twice to lead 4-0. Although Monaco recovered one of the breaks to get back to 4-2 Bellucci regained the advantage, taking the next two games to snare the first set after 42 minutes.

But there was another wild swing in momentum as Monaco took Bellucci's lead from the first set. He broke the No. 3 seed's serve three times and improved the success rate on his first serve from 47 per cent to 72 per cent, blazing through the second set, 6-0.

Having lost seven straight games Bellucci held for 1-1 in the deciding set and at 2-2 got Monaco down 0-40 on his serve, eventually breaking for a 3-2 lead three points later.

Holding onto the advantage for the remainder of the set, Bellucci took his second ATP World Tour singles title after two hours, four minutes. It was his fourth three-set match of the week, including a dramatic win over home favourite and defending champion Fernando Gonzalez in the semi-finals.

"I played better than him in the first set," Bellucci said. "In the second set I didn't start very well and he took advantage and started playing better. In the third set I was able to play my game again and stay calm in the decisive moments to win the title."

Bellucci now improves to 2-1 lifetime in ATP singles finals, having won in Gstaad in August last year and earlier in the season finished runner-up on home soil at Costa do Sauipe.

Appearing in his 10th career ATP singles final Monaco falls to 3-7, replicating his runner-up finish at the 2008 Movistar Open when he had to withdraw before his match against Gonzalez due to a left ankle injury.

"I'm upset about the loss but I want to congratulate Thomaz; he had an excellent week and deserved to win the title," Monaco said.

As champion No. 35-ranked Bellucci takes home $64,450 and 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points, while runner-up Monaco, currently ranked No. 29, earns $35,980 and 150 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:17 PM
San Jose 2010

Second-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco denied American Andy Roddick a fourth SAP Open title, as he rallied to defeat the top seed 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday in San Jose. It was the first San Jose final featuring the top two seeds since 2002, when No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt defeated No. 2 Andre Agassi in a third-set tie-break.

Verdasco, who claimed his fourth ATP World Tour title from 10 finals, earned $90,925 and 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points as the winner of the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tournament. Meanwhile, World No. 7 Roddick collected $47,900 and 150 points.

Verdasco entered the final trailing Roddick 2-9 in the head-to-head series, and appeared in danger of his eighth straight loss to the American. Roddick made a confident start, assuming the first break of serve to go up 2-1 and closing out the opening set with another break, but Verdasco halted Roddick’s momentum early in the second set. He converted on double break point to grab the 2-1 lead, and snuffed out his opponent’s counterattack in the next game by saving four break points.

Watch Day 6 Highlights

Both players dropped just seven points on serve in the final set, but Verdasco stepped up at 4-4 with a backhand winner to earn the first break point and was given a chance to serve for the match as Roddick put the ball into the net. He clinched the win with a 130 mph serve past Roddick, his 15th ace of the two-hour, 11-minute match.

"I served much better in the second and third set than the first set," said Verdasco. "Also, I was more aggressive; I started to push him a little bit more, tried to play more inside the court and move toward the net in the second set."

Roddick said: "He stepped up and hit some pretty good backhands there. I didn’t serve well today. I didn’t get much on anything, which made it an uphill battle."

With his father watching from the stands, the 26 year old became the first Spanish winner in the Bay Area since Manuel Santana earned the Berkeley title in 1964. It was Verdasco’s first title since last August, when he won Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven (d. Querrey).

"I know against the Top 10 guys it’s always tough matches," said Verdasco. "Last year in a lot of them I was really close and I didn’t win. I was a little bit unlucky in the matches, like [at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in] London against Federer, del Potro, Murray. Those were three matches I could’ve won and I lost all of them.

"Of course it’s a match that I hope is going to give me confidence. It was a really hard final for me, this one against Andy here, in his country, in the U.S., and I’m so happy that I was able to beat him here after the last times he beat me. It’s special for me and I’m happy that I did it."

Verdasco, who entered his SAP Open debut at No. 11 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, improved to an 8-1 season record – his sole loss coming against World No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko at the Australian Open. His victory over Roddick snapped a 15-match losing streak against Top 10 players (10-46 against Top 10), dating back to his win against World No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round of the 2009 Australian Open.

Roddick was looking to win his second title of the 2010 season after opening his campaign in January with his 28th tour-level crown at the Brisbane International, which extended his title streak to 10 consecutive years. The 27 year old had previously won the San Jose crown in 2004 (d. Fish), 2005 (d. Saulnier) and 2008 (d. Stepanek).

"Having come here and gone through the hard yards and played some matches, it’ll probably put me in better position for the next couple of weeks than had I just practised and eased my way back in," said Roddick. "Hopefully that’s a positive I can take."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:18 PM
Rotterdam 2010

ATP World Tour No. 8 Robin Soderling won his fifth ATP World Tour title Sunday when he became the first Swede in 17 years to triumph at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. The third seed was leading 6-4, 2-0 in the final of the ATP World Tour 500 indoor hard-court event when Russian Mikhail Youzhny was forced to retire with a right hamstring injury.

As champion, Soderling received 500 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €277,000, while runner-up Youzhny earned 300 points and €125,000 in prize money.

The 25-year-old Soderling was contesting the Rotterdam final for the second time, having finished runner-up to Michael Llodra in a third-set tie-break in 2008. He is the first Swedish winner at the Ahoy Stadium since Anders Jarryd lifted the trophy in 1993.

Watch: Final Highlights | Soderling Interview

“It's been a very good week overall,” said Soderling. “I started out struggling a bit in my first two rounds, struggling to find my form, but I worked hard and managed to get better with every match. Obviously it's not the way I wanted to win today with Mikhail retiring injured but I am still very happy to end the week with another title.

“It's a tough situation playing somebody who is injured. You have to stay focused and I think I handled it pretty well today,” added the Swede. “I really wanted to win the title since coming so close in 2008. It's a great tournament with a great history and it is amazing to add my name to the great list of past champions here.”

Victory earned Soderling his fifth ATP World Tour title from 12 tour-level finals. Last season the Tibro native reached his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros (d. Nadal, l. to Federer) before lifting his first ATP World Tour title on home soil at the SkiStar Swedish Open (d. Monaco) in Bastad.

The week in Rotterdam has marked an upturn in fortunes for Soderling, who suffered a disappointing start to the 2010 ATP World Tour season after finishing 2009 strongly with a semi-final appearance (l. to del Potro) at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The Swede lost in the first round at the Aircel Chennai Open (l. to Ginepri) and the Australian Open (l. to Granollers) but has now improved his season match record to 5-2.

The No. 20-ranked Youzhny, who held his nerve to upset World No. 2 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals Saturday, was contesting his 13th ATP World Tour final and was looking to reclaim the Rotterdam title he won in 2007 (d. Ljubicic).

"I tried my best but Robin was too strong,” lamented the 27-year-old Russian. “My injury was getting worse and worse with every game. I could feel it since my match against Gael Monfils (in the quarter-finals) but today it was really tough for me to start running.

“I really enjoyed the tournament; it's been an unbelievable atmosphere all week and I hope to do even better next year.”

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:19 PM
Brazil 2010


Playing in his 30th tour-level final two days after celebrating his 30th birthday, Juan Carlos Ferrero proved age is no obstacle as he captured his 13th tour-level title Sunday with a crushing 6-1, 6-0 victory over Lukasz Kubot in the Brasil Open final in Costa do Sauipe.

As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament – his first trophy in South America – World No. 22 Ferrero received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and $75,700 while runner-up Kubot earned 150 points and $39,780 in prize money.

Former World No. 1 Ferrero, champion of Roland Garros in 2003 (d. Verkerk), demonstrated his renowned clay-court prowess as he routed the No. 56-ranked Kubot in just one hour to claim his 10th clay-court tour-level title.

“You never expect to play a one-sided final like this," admitted Ferrero. "One is always nervous in the beginning of a final, and it wasn’t different today. I thought I played well from the beginning and with two breaks of serve ahead quite early in the match I never looked back.

"I like to play at Costa do Sauipe. I have a house close from here, at Guarajuba, and it is always nice when you can play and stay home. Except in the match against (home favourite) Ricardo Mello, the crowd has always supported me during the whole week. I am very happy for this title at the moment.”

In a stellar performance, the Spaniard rallied from losing his serve early in the match to convert seven of 10 break point chances on Kubot’s serve and surrender just 13 points behind his delivery in total. It was the first meeting between the two.

Victory marks a welcome return to form for Ferrero, who had suffered two opening-round exits at the Heineken Open (ret. vs. Lammer with right ankle sprain) in Auckland and at the Australian Open (l. to Dodig in five sets) in Melbourne. The Spaniard, who finished runner-up in Costa do Sauipe in 2007 (l. to Canas), improved to a 5-2 mark on the season.

The 27-year-old Kubot was contesting his second ATP World Tour singles final and slipped to a 0-2 mark, having also finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the Serbia Open on clay in Belgrade last year. The Pole had gone on a giant-killing run through to the final, ousting No. 2 seed Albert Montanes and No. 4 Igor Andreev.

Kubot still has a chance for glory in Costa do Sauipe as he and Oliver Marach take on Pablo Cuevas and Marcel Granollers in the doubles final later today.

“It is very unfortunate I couldn’t play my best tennis today," lamented Kubot. "Juan Carlos played a great match and didn’t give me any chances. I hope I can make it up in the doubles final later tonight.”

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:20 PM
Open 13

One year on from finishing runner-up to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, World No. 79 Michael Llodra prevailed in another all-French final at the Open 13 as he defeated eighth seed Julien Benneteau 6-3, 6-4 Sunday at the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tennis tournament in Marseille.

Llodra later became the first player this year to sweep both singles and doubles titles at an ATP World Tour tournament as he and Benneteau defeated top seeds Julian Knowle and Robert Lindstedt 6-4, 6-3 in the doubles final.

As champion, Llodra received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings and €92,400, while runner-up Benneteau earned 150 points and €48,700 in prize money.

The 29-year-old Llodra captured his fourth ATP World Tour title in his eighth final. It was the Frenchman’s first title since triumphing at the 2008 ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (d. Soderling) in Rotterdam. Last year he finished runner-up in two finals, also losing out to Ivan Ljubicic in the final of the Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon.

"At the beginning of the week I knew that I could go down as far as 120 in the rankings if I lost in the first round," said Llodra. "It's unbelievable to finally win a final in France after losing here and in Lyon last year. I enjoyed the week a lot and it was great to have my kids here today watching the final.

"The conditions in Marseille are great for my game. I served very well and was solid throughout the whole match."

The left-hander had won just one match in four tour-level tournaments coming into Marseille and improved to a 6-4 match record. This week he has upset two seeds en route to the title, upsetting No. 7 Marcos Baghdatis in the second round and stunning last week’s Rotterdam champion and top seed Robin Soderling in the quarter-finals.

In the fourth all-French singles final at the Open 13, the unseeded Llodra did not face a single break point, while converting both opportunities he created on Benneteau’s serve. Llodra broke through in the sixth game of the first set and again in the fifth game of the second set before a love service game closed out victory for the Parisian after 70 minutes.

Benneteau, ranked 40 places higher in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, suffered his fourth defeat in an ATP World Tour final. Having recorded back-to-back upset wins over No. 3 seed Gael Monfils and defending champion Tsonga in the quarter and semi-finals, he was bidding to capture his first ATP World Tour title.

"Today Mika was playing very well," said Benneteau. "You need to play an exceptional match if you want to beat him. He was serving very well, using different angles and different speeds. And even if I returned well he answered with great volleys. It was very complicated. I was a bit tired mentally since I came from two difficult matches during the last two days."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:21 PM
Memphis

American Sam Querrey defeated close friend and Davis Cup teammate John Isner 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-3 to clinch his third ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis.

Afterwards, Querrey and Isner teamed up to capture the doubles title with a 6-4, 6-4 win over the British-Australian duo of Ross Hutchins and Jordan Kerr.

Querrey collected $261,500 and 500 South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings points as the singles champion of the ATP World Tour 500 indoor hard-court tournament, while runner-up Isner received 300 points and $121,600.

“It feels great,” said Querrey. “It’s tough playing your good buddy like that. If anyone else won a tournament I’d want it to be him. You’re not going to get the same reaction out of me for winning this than if I was playing someone else.”

The 22 year old improved to a 3-4 record in ATP World Tour finals, adding to the titles he won in 2008 at Las Vegas and last year at the LA Tennis Open. Querrey reached a total of five ATP World Tour finals in 2009, including three straight on home soil during the summer swing.

World No. 31 Querrey opened his 2010 season with three first-round losses in Australia, but got back on track last week at the SAP Open in San Jose, where he fell to top American Andy Roddick in the semi-finals despite never facing a single break point on serve.

Coming into the tallest ATP World Tour final, the 6’6” Querrey and 6’9” Isner had dropped serve three times total – Querrey winning 40 of 41 service games and Isner 46 of 48 – and Sunday’s match proved another battle between the big servers.

Watch Final Highlights | Watch Querrey Interview

After saving two set points while serving at 4-5 in the opening set, the eighth-seeded Querrey lost the opening set in the tie-break and needed to fight off another break point in the ensuing set to keep his title hopes alive.

He levelled the scoreline by winning the second set tie-break, and maintained his momentum in the decisive set as he converted on his first break point at 1-1 to assume the lead for the first time.

Querrey denied the No. 6 seed any chances to get back into the match as he dropped just three points total on serve in the final set, and broke his opponent one final time to close out the victory in just under two hours.

“To be honest, I felt like I was in control of the match the first two sets, although they were really close,” said Isner. “I had the match on my racquet, that’s all I can ask for. But credit to him, he played well when it counted – better than me – which is hard because I like to think I play really well in those situations as I have in the past.”

The meeting between Querrey and Isner was the first all-American final in Memphis since 2003 when Taylor Dent defeated Roddick. It was also the first all-American final on the ATP World Tour since July 2009 when Robby Ginepri defeated Querrey in Indianapolis.

“It’s the first time we’ve played,” said Querrey. “I’m sure the next 10 years we’ll play another 10-15 times. I’m sure he’ll win some of those, I’ll win some of those, and it’s tough but it’s just something we’ve got to deal with.”

The 24-year-old Isner was looking to become the second two-time winner this season after Croatia’s Marin Cilic. Isner made a triumphant start to 2010, saving one match point against Frenchman Arnaud Clement to claim his maiden title at the Heineken Open in Auckland, and achieving a personal-best fourth round finish at the Australian Open (l. to Murray).

With a 12-2 record, the World No. 25 currently stands alongside Russian Nikolay Davydenko at third on the list of match wins leaders in 2010, trailing just Cilic (15-1) and Roddick (15-3).

“I’m really happy for him,” said Isner. “I wish it would’ve gone the other way, looked like it might’ve, but it wasn’t meant to be. I’ve got to put it behind me and get better from it.”

In two weeks, Querrey and Isner will travel to Serbia for a first-round Davis Cup tie. But first, the pair will head to the Abierto Mexicano Telcel to compete for the ATP World Tour 500 clay-court title in Acapulco.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:22 PM
Argentina 2010

Second-seeded Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero continued his impressive run on clay, winning his second ATP World Tour title in as many weeks after rallying past top-seeded countryman David Ferrer 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday at the Copa Telmex, an ATP World Tour 250 tournament in Buenos Aires.

The former World No. 1, the second two-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season after Croatian Marin Cilic, collected $81,400 and 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings points with his victory. Meanwhile, fellow Valencia native Ferrer earned $42,850 – allowing him to surpass $7 million in career prize money earnings – and 150 points.

“I feel unbelievable after winning two weeks in a row,” said Ferrero. “It is a great feeling. I think the key to my current success is the physical work I have done. I have been working very hard and I know that I can be on the court forever. That helps my game a lot because I get to the ball much earlier and can be more aggressive.

“This also helps me mentally. I feel very strong and know that I have more resources now when playing important points. I have been working with a friend on the mental aspect and all is coming into place.”

Buy Buenos Aires Tickets

Ferrero captured his 14th tour-level title from 31 finals, including his 11th title on clay. He claimed his first trophy in South America last week at the Brasil Open in Costa do Sauipe (d. Kubot), two days after celebrating his 30th birthday. Last April, Ferrero snapped a six-year title drought by winning the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament in Casablanca.

After beginning the season with opening-round losses at the Heineken Open in Auckland and the Australian Open, the World No. 22 has now won 10 straight matches. It is the fifth time Ferrero has won 10 or more matches in a row; he enjoyed a 16-match winning streak in 2002 with titles at Barcelona and Rome, and a 10-match winning streak in 2003 inclusive of his Grand Slam triumph at Roland Garros.

“My goal is to get back to the Top 10,” said Ferrero. “This victory makes me believe in this goal. I don’t have much to defend in Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami so I hope I will do well, get extra [South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings] points and move up in the rankings.”

Ferrer had entered the final with a 5-1 lead in the head-to-head series against Ferrero, including wins in their previous two clay matches, and earned the early lead in their first final meeting. He broke in the opening game of the match, and though Ferrero hit back to level the score at 3-3, Ferrer broke again to lead 6-5 and closed out the opening set on serve.

Ferrero broke his countryman to send the match to a decisive set, and though Ferrer recovered a service break early in the third set, the No. 2 seed won the final three games to clinch the win in two hours and 32 minutes.

“Today’s match was as expected,” said Ferrero. “It was very tough, intense. We have known each other forever as we are best friends. Even when we practice, we know it is going to be very close match. We read each other’s game very well. With him you know that he is going to get balls that other players wouldn’t. I think the fact that the court was a little slower and the wind played to my benefit today. The third set I made myself believe I could win, and I played more aggressive.”

The 27-year-old Ferrer was looking to win his first title since claiming the grass-court crown in 2008 at the UNICEF Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. He has now dropped his past three title matches, including runner-up finishes last year in Dubai (l. to Djokovic) and Barcelona (l. to Nadal), to fall to a 7-8 record in ATP World Tour finals.

"It was a great match with a very high level of tennis from both sides,” said the World No. 19. “Each time we play we know we are going to play with a lot of rhythm and whoever is in better shape takes the match. It was very intense and we both had our chances. In the third set he played much more aggressively than I did and that made a difference in the important points.”

Ferrer posted his 300th match win on the ATP World Tour on Saturday with victory over Russian Igor Andreev in the quarter-finals.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:23 PM
Dubai 2010

Defending champion Novak Djokovic let slip his commanding lead when the rain-delayed Dubai final resumed Sunday but steadied to beat Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 5-7, 6-3. Djokovic reversed the result of his semi-final meeting with Youzhny in the Rotterdam semi-finals two weeks ago.

World No. 2 Djokovic had a grueling run to the title, rallying from a set down against Marcos Baghdatis (semis), Ivan Ljubicic (quarters) and Viktor Troicki (second round) before going three sets for the fourth consecutive match against Youzhny in the final.

Appearing in his first final of the year, the Serb won his 17th career title. He became the second player in tournament history (since 1993) to win back-to-back titles. (Roger Federer won three in a row from 2003-05.)

Djokovic won $383,000 and collected 500 South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings points; Youzhny, who slipped to 5-9 in ATP World Tour finals, took $180,000 and 300 points.

Djokovic said that defending a title for the first time in his career – particularly when he did not play his best tennis at times – demonstrated significant maturity in his game and mental approach. “It means the whole world to me. Of course there are always people who are saying he can't do it. He can't do it. But I'm playing for myself, and this is another success in my career that I wasn't able to make in the last two years. But now, finally, I did it, and it's a big relief. So in the future I just hope I'll make a couple more of those.

“It's a big boost because I believe in myself. Even when I play bad, I know I have the abilities… Today was another good example of how much I believe in myself and how much I fight till the end.”

When play was abandoned Saturday night due to torrential rain, Djokovic held a commanding 7-5, 2-0 lead. At the resumption of play in much brighter conditions on Sunday afternoon, Youzhny immediately pressed to recoup the service break, breaking back in the fifth game with a sizzling backhand winner up the line.

The turning point in the set came in the eighth game. Djokovic had a point to secure a 5-3 lead, but over hit his forehand into the open court and Youzhny made him pay in the following game as he broke serve to secure a 5-4 lead. The Russian was denied by Djokovic the first time he served for the set, but immediately broke the Serbian’s serve again and at the second time of asking leveled the match with a love service game.

In the third set, after digging himself of a 15/40 hole at 3-3, Djokovic broke Youzhny in the following game to take a stranglehold on the match.

Djokovic quipped that fans who watched his matches – including those who showed up Sunday when the match could easily have finished quickly in straight sets – got value for money.

“Obviously this tournament I don't allow myself to win in straight sets except the first round. Even when I can finish the job in two sets, I still want to play. Thinking about people who bought tickets and want to stay a bit longer (laughing).

“But, generally, it took a lot of energy for me. Stopping and playing, and coming back and then again stopping the match last night because of the rain. As I was saying, if we continued last night, I think I had much better chances to get the job done in two sets. I felt really well on the court, hitting the ball, feeling relaxed. Today I was really nervous before the match, during the match for no reason. [But] winning the tournament in any way, it's a huge success.”

Youzhny said that he had mixed feelings about finishing runner-up in Dubai for the second time. "Before the tournament if you say you'll play the final, you say good result. But now straight after the final, when you have some chances [I am disappointed]… It was good match for me. It was a good level of tennis. I'm disappointed because I lost, but I'm happy because it was a good level of game.

“It was a very close set. Today I understand I have to try to play aggressive, maybe more aggressive than normal if I want to continue, if I want to save this match."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:24 PM
Acapulco 2010

David Ferrer avenged his loss to Juan Carlos Ferrero in last week’s Buenos Aires title match and denied his fellow Spaniard a piece of Latin American swing history with a fighting win in the final of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco Saturday night. After the close friends split the first two sets, Ferrer broke open the match by winning five consecutive games to start the third set en route to a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory.

“It was a hard fought match," reflected Ferrer. "We were running a lot out there. The points were very intense from the first game until the last. In the third set I think he started feeling tired and I took advantage of that. I knew he was coming from a sequence of tournaments so I kept pushing."

Ferrer, 27, won his eighth ATP World Tour title, and the first since 2008, when he won two titles in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Valencia. The former Barclays ATP World Tour Finals finalist, has now won 12 of his past 14 matches, dating back to his semi-final run in Johannesburg. He began the year in more modest fashion, with a first-round loss to Auckland and a second-round defeat at the Australian Open.

World No. 17 Ferrer improved to 6-2 in career meetings with Ferrero.

"Our games are very similar and we also know each other very well so there are not many secrets on the court," explained Ferrer. "Juan Carlos is a very good friend but once we step on the court we try to forget that and play as hard as we can. I hope I can play many more finals against Juan Carlos. It was a long time since I last won a title. It feels great to win the title in Acapulco."

Ferrer collects $227,000 and 500 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points, while runner-up Ferrero pockets $106,500 and 300 points.

Ferrero was attempting to become the first player to win three titles during the four-week Latin American swing following his back-to-back triumphs in Costa do Sauipe and Buenos Aires. The former World No. 1 came into the final riding a 14-match winning streak, the second longest of his career.

"It was a good match. We were fighting for every point and in the beginning of the third set I thought he played better than me and that was the difference," commented Ferrero. “It was a very physical match. The difference from last week in Buenos Aires is that I was not being able to attack him.

“David is one of my best friends in the circuit. I am happy for him winning the title in Acapulco. He deserved it," added Ferrero.

The last time the same two players played in consecutive finals in back-to-back weeks was in 2001, when Gustavo Kuerten defeated Patrick Rafter in Cincinnati and then Rafter got his revenge the following week in Indianapolis.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:26 PM
Delray Beach 2010



Latvian Ernests Gulbis put a damper on Ivo Karlovic’s 31st birthday celebration, defeating the second-seeded Croat 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships to claim his first ATP World Tour title.

Gulbis earned 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and $75,700 as the champion of the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament, while Karlovic collected $39,780 in prize money and 150 points.

The 21 year old became the second first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season, joining American John Isner who won the Heineken Open title in Auckland. He also became the first Latvian to win an ATP World Tour title.

“Everything what I do now is first time for my country,” said Gulbis. “Of course it’s great. I hope it’s positive. I hope much more players will start to practise in Latvia. It’s good for tennis in Latvia. They see that a guy from Latvia also can make it and win an ATP World Tour event.”

Karlovic had held 46 of his 47 service games entering the title match, but was unable to maintain his form against the first-time ATP World Tour finalist. After denying Karlovic on his two break point chances, World No. 72 Gulbis won four straight games to race through the opening set in 34 minutes.

Gulbis grabbed another break to go up 2-1 in the second set, and earned match points on Karlovic’s serve in the ninth game. Though Karlovic dug deep to save three chances with aces, a double-fault set up a fourth match point for Gulbis, proving enough for the Latvian to close out the match in one hour and 20 minutes.

“I felt comfortable,” Gulbis said. “I like being in the final. I felt nobody’s giving me pressure. If I’m not putting pressure on myself, then it’s fine. I was relaxed. My coach told me before the match, ‘Just go on court. Enjoy, it’s your first final. You’re a young guy. Enjoy it, play good tennis.’”

“He was playing really good. Everything that he hit was in. As good as I was playing yesterday, this is how he was playing today,” said Karlovic, adding, “He was very cool, calm. Nothing could impress him. This year is going to be his breakthrough.”

Gulbis did not win his 10th tour-level match until mid-June at Wimbledon last year, but is off to a 10-4 start through the first two months of the 2010 season. He opened the year with a quarter-final showing at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open (l. to Federer), and reached the semi-finals last week at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships (l. to Querrey). It was his first semi-final since his ATP World Tour debut, in 2006 at St. Petersburg, a stretch of 65 tournaments.

He is projected to return to the Top 50 of the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings following his title win. He reached a career-high No. 38 in August 2008.

Karlovic was looking to win his first title since 2008 at the grass-court tournament in Nottingham, and fell to a 4-3 record in ATP World Tour finals.

Despite the loss, the 33rd-ranked Croat stands alongside Marcos Baghdatis at No. 5 on the list of 2010 match wins leaders with a 13-5 record. He also reached the quarter-finals at Doha, Zagreb and Memphis, and achieved a personal-best fourth round showing at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal).

“I was playing well all week,” said Karlovic, who fired 14 aces in the final to finish the week with a tournament-high 89. “Today it was a little bit worse. This is life. Sometimes you play good, sometimes you play not so good. What is important I’m healthy and overall I was playing well all this year. Next week is Davis Cup, after Indian Wells, so I will look forward to that.”

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:27 PM
Indian wells 2010

Croatian Ivan Ljubicic completed his giant-slaying run at the BNP Paribas Open, defeating World No. 8 Andy Roddick 7-6(3), 7-6(5) on Sunday afternoon in Indian Wells to capture his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title.

He capitalized on his fourth championship point, hitting a huge serve that Roddick was unable to return, and savored the moment with a mixture of disbelief, relief and happiness etched on his face after runner-up finishes in his three previous ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals.

“Looking at my career in general, I did feel like I was missing it,” said Ljubicic. “It's really fantastic feeling to finally have it. It gives something special to your career. It's just another thing that after Davis Cup, Olympic medal and two Top 10 finishes, one Top 5 finish and now in Masters 1000, it makes everything look better actually.”

Watch Sunday Highlights | Watch Ljubicic Interview

The championship match lived up to its billing as a battle between big servers, with neither player dropping serve during the two-hour, seven-minute final. Though both players came up against tricky situations early on, with Roddick facing triple break point on serve in the first game and Ljubicic in the fourth, both reeled off five straight points to get out of trouble.

After playing what he called the “best tie-break of my life” against Rafael Nadal on Saturday, Ljubicic once again came up big against Roddick, despite the American’s impressive 14-2 mark to his 3-4 mark in tie-breaks this season. He put Roddick on the defensive as he took the early mini-breaks in each, and held on to edge the American both times.

Ljubicic, who double-faulted on his first championship point, said about his play in the tie-breaks: “I think it was more mental. Both tie-breaks I felt more relaxed, especially in the second tie-break. In fact, there was some strange things happening by the end of that match, but that just shows you how relaxed I was.”

The victory capped off a tremendous week for the Croatian, who posted an upset win over World No. 2 Novak Djokovic in the fourth round and No. 3 Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, and in between celebrated his 31st birthday on Friday.

Watch Ljubicic's Sunday Hot Shot

The 26th-ranked Ljubicic became the first player outside the Top 20 to capture an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title since World No. 21 David Nalbandian won the Paris title in November 2007 (d. Nadal).

Coincidentally, the other two players ranked outside the Top 20 to claim the Indian Wells title (since 1990) were also ranked No. 26, with Alex Corretja defeating Thomas Enqvist in 2000 and Jim Courier defeating Guy Forget in 1991.

With his effort over this past fortnight, the former World No. 3 – who has now won 10 tour-level titles – will move back into the Top 20 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings on Monday for the first time since January 2008. He is projected to climb to around No. 13.

“I want to fight for [the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in] London and try to finish Top 10 another year,” he said. “But it's not gonna be easy, that's for sure. Just the fact that I won here doesn't make me No. 3, 5 player in the world. I have to be realistic enough and try to steal that maybe 7th or 8th spot from younger guys who might be injured or not fit and not consistent enough (laughter). But it's a long season in front of us, so who knows what it's gonna bring us.”

Roddick, who was contesting the BNP Paribas Open final for the first time in eight appearances, was attempting to complete his collection of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in North America. The 27 year old won Montreal in 2003, Miami in 2004, and Cincinnati in 2003 and '06.

“I played well. I hit the ball real well, even today,” said Roddick, who had held six break point opportunities. “I felt like I was winning my fair share of the rallies once we got into them. I just ran into a guy who served great on the big points. Unfortunately that's probably the one thing that I don't have control over out there. Credit to him. He came up with massive, massive serves when he had to.”

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:28 PM
Miami 2010

Andy Roddick capped his best American hard court swing since 2006 when he won his second Sony Ericsson Open title to lift the inaugural Butch Buchholz trophy. Roddick defeated Tomas Berdych 7-5, 6-4, ending the Czech’s giant-killing run that claimed a trio of Top 10 seeds: Roger Federer, Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling.

Roddick took time out during the trophy presentation to pay tribute to Buchholz, the founder and retiring chairman of the event, who gave Roddick a wild card into the event 10 years ago when he was a 17-year-old rookie. “It’s nice that it’s now come full circle,” Roddick said.

Asked what most pleased him about the title run, Roddick said: “I won in different ways. I changed it up against Rafa and today I was smart with chipping and mixing paces, which kept him guessing. I held onto my serve well throughout and played a pretty smart tournament.”

Former World No. 1 Roddick did not face a break point in the match and dropped serve just twice in the tournament, including once during his masterful win over Rafael Nadal in three sets in the semi-finals.

Roddick, who won his first Sony Ericsson Open title in 2004, claimed his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title since Cincinnati in 2006, a year in which he also made a run to the US Open final. Two weeks ago Roddick was the beaten finalist at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Indian Wells. His title run at the Sony Ericsson Open marks the first time since 2003 (Montreal and Cincinnati) that Roddick has reached the final of back-to-back ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments.

“Obviously it's a big title for me,” he said afterwards. “I felt a little bit of pressure to win this one because I had a pretty good opportunity in Indian Wells and didn't come through there.

“But I think just the last month has been real good for me. I've played well on the big moments. Haven't had an off day mentally. I've been able to execute. I've been able to have a game plan and execute it regardless of what kind of shots it takes. So it's all good. It's all encouraging.”

In claiming his fifth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, Roddick increased his haul of tour-level titles to 29 from 49 finals. The 27-year-old Austin, Tx., resident, leads the ATP World Tour with a 26-4 match record this season.

In the first set against Berdych Roddick twice rallied from 0-30 deficits, although neither player faced a break point until 5-5, when the Czech was the first to crack. Berdych offered up his second break point of the game with a double fault at deuce and then, after almost double faulting again, sprayed a forehand well long to hand Roddick a 6-5 lead. Roddick then served out the set to love, ending with his fifth ace.

Berdych was unable to exert pressure when Roddick missed his first serve, winning just one of 11 second serve points. He also paid the price for 19 unforced errors – most off his forehand wing - to Roddick’s nine.

Berdych began the second set with two tentative net approaches and Roddick earned a break point with a cross-court backhand passing shot and then claimed the early break when Berdych hit another forehand long. That was all the opening needed by Roddick, who won 61 of 63 service games during the tournament.

“He was playing pretty well as you can see on the court,” said Berdych. “He was really good today. He was really strong, serving well. I was really looking for maybe to get one chance or maybe one is enough. But he [held] pretty well. I didn't get any chance during whole match during both two sets. So that's well played for him.”

Berdych was attempting to become the first player in 20 years outside the South African Airways ATP Rankings Top 20 to win the Sony Ericsson Open title.

“I'm happy for this maybe two weeks, ten days, whatever it is, that I played a couple of really good matches,” said the Czech. “I felt great here. Everything was good. So just give me a lot of confidence [for the] next weeks in the season. Just looking forward to it. Go for another tournament.”

Attendance for the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open shattered the previously held mark of 297,011 set back in 2008. This year's tournament saw 312,386 fans pass through the turnstiles. The tournament recorded nine session records, including four straight (sessions 13-16). Overall the tournament recorded 11 session sellouts, breaking the record for most sold out sessions set in 2008. Session 16 marked the first time in tournament history that grounds passes were issued during a non-weekend evening. The men's final sold out on March 8, the earliest sellout for the men's final, in the history of the Sony Ericsson Open.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:29 PM
Morocco 2010

ATP World Tour No. 23 Stanislas Wawrinka won the second title of his career Sunday as he comfortably dismissed third seed Victor Hanescu 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca.

As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament, the first Swiss to lift the trophy in its 21-year history, Wawrinka earned 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €72,150. Runner-up Hanescu received 150 ranking points and €37,900 in prize money.

Victory ended a run of five successive defeats for Wawrinka in ATP World Tour finals, with the Swiss most recently having finished runner-up at the Aircel Chennai Open (l. to Cilic) at the start of the season. He also won his first ATP World Tour title on red clay, triumphing at the ATP Studena Croatia Open (d. Djokovic) in Umag in 2006, and has a 2-6 record in finals.

"I'm very happy with my win today," said Wawrinka. "I've lost five finals in a row and now finally I have the trophy in my hands. I felt great during the whole match and never allowed Victor to get into the game. I think this was my best match of the week."

After a tricky route through to the final on his debut appearance in Casablanca, Wawrinka needed just 77 minutes to prevail in the title match. The top seed, who had twice been extended to three sets in the earlier rounds, made a strong start to the match by breaking serve to lead 3-1. He went on to close out a commanding one-set lead by breaking serve again in the eighth game.

Hanescu came into the clash with the confidence of having beaten Wawrinka in both their previous encounters – both on clay – but he could not deny the Lausanne native in their third meeting. Wawrinka broke serve twice to race to a 5-1 lead in the second set and, despite being broken as he served for the match, was able to close out victory at the second time of asking.

Victory in Casablanca also marks Wawrinka’s first title as a father, after he and wife, Ilham became parents to daughter, Alexia on 12 February. The 25-year-old Wawrinka had only played twice since the birth of his daughter coming into Casablanca, representing Switzerland in its first-round Davis Cup defeat to Spain and reaching the third round at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

"This is a great start to the clay court season and I hope to continue like that," said Wawrinka. "Now I look forward to next week in Monte-Carlo where my wife and daughter will travel with me for the first time."

Next week Wawrinka will contest the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, where he defeated countryman and then-World No. 2 Roger Federer en route to the semi-finals last year. He will have the chance to level his head-to-head with Hanescu at 2-2 when the pair meets again in the first round of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.

The No. 43-ranked Hanescu was contesting his fourth ATP World Tour final, having not won back-to-back matches all season prior to his run in Casablanca. The Romanian’s lone title came at the 2008 Allianz Suisse Open Gstaad (d. Andreev).

"Today Stan was just too good for me," admitted Hanescu. "It is still a week of good tennis and it was great to play in front of full crowds here in Casablanca in this great atmosphere."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:30 PM
Houston 2010

Contesting his first ATP World Tour final in more than three years, Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina rallied past third-seeded American Sam Querrey 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday to claim the title at the US Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston.

Chela won his fifth clay-court title from his 10th ATP World Tour final, his first since defeating Carlos Moya in 2007 at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, and said afterwards: “Right now I feel wonderful. No words.”

As the winner of the ATP World Tour 250 tournament, Chela earned $79,900 in prize money and 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings points, which will push the Argentine up approximately 30 spots to around No. 50 when the new rankings are released Monday. The 30 year old, a former World No. 15, last ranked in the Top 50 in July 2008 and was ranked No. 166 at this point last year.

He said: “I’ve always said that as long as I’m enjoying the competition and I’m getting this adrenaline from the matches, I’m going to keep playing as long as I’m happy and especially after this win.”

World No. 25 Querrey assumed the early lead in his first clay-court final as he broke in the eleventh game and served out the set. After failing to convert on his two break chances in the second set, however, he saw Chela draw level as he dropped serve at set point for the Argentine.

Querrey began the decisive set with a break of serve, but the lead proved short-lived. Chela broke back in the next game and continued to put pressure on his opponent’s serve, with eight break point opportunities. He went up 5-4 after setting up triple break point and successfully served out the victory in two hours and 24 minutes.

“I grew up playing on clay courts so I’m used to staying in it,” said Chela. “It does get very difficult to be aggressive all the time on clay. Even [Roger] Federer sometimes has struggles with it. However, I think that that was the key here. I took my chances to be aggressive.”

It marked Chela’s fourth straight win over a seeded player this week, having upset No. 7 Eduardo Schwank in the second round, No. 4 seed and defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the quarter-finals, and No. 6 Horacio Zeballos in the semi-finals. Coming into Houston, the Argentine had not won consecutive tour-level matches since last July when he reached the Kitzbuhel quarter-finals as a qualifier.

“Truthfully I did it match by match,” he said of his challenging road to the title. “And then once I started winning my first match and my second match, I started to gain confidence. As I got closer to the end, I felt like I could take it.”

Querrey became the third straight American to fall in the Houston final, with James Blake losing to Spaniard Marcel Granollers in the 2008 final and Wayne Odesnik to Australian Lleyton Hewitt last year. Mardy Fish was the last American to win the US Men’s Clay Court Championship, claiming the title in 2006 (d. Melzer).

“Every one of his service games in the second set was deuce, break point, ad-in, and I was just babying the ball around too often,” said Querrey. “I need to step up and take chances. You can work that in practice all you want, but it’s not the same. You’ve got to tell yourself I’m going to do it in a match.

“I’m just scared to do it. You can’t be scared to go out there and do that. If I play like this, I’m going to win the occasional [ATP World Tour] 250 and final and win some rounds at a Masters [1000], but I’m not going to get to that next level where I want to be playing like that. I need to step up and take more chances.”

The 22 year old was looking to win his second ATP World Tour title of the season, following his triumph at the ATP World Tour 500 tournament in Memphis this past February (d. Isner). He earned $42,000 and 150 South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings for his runner-up finish this week.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:31 PM
Monte Carlo 2010

Rafael Nadal became the first player in the Open Era to win a tournament title for six straight years on Sunday. The World No. 3 defeated Spanish compatriot Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-1 to extend his reign at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament. Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, present the trophy to Nadal after the first all-Spanish final in the Principality since 2002.

Watch Final Highlights

Second seed Nadal snapped an 11-month title drought, stretching back to the 2009 Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, with victory in 86 minutes. He claimed €434,000 in prize money and 1,000 South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings point in his quest to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London in November. Verdasco, appearing in his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final, picked up €203,000 and 600 points.

The 14 games Nadal lost at the tournament in five matches was the fewest he has dropped en route to a title in his career. Last year at the Barcelona Open BancSabadell he won the title, losing only 18 games (in four matches).

"For me [today] is very emotional," admitted Nadal, who equalled the all-time title record of England's Reggie Doherty (1897-99, 1902-04) at the tournament. "[It] is probably my favourite tournament. I love this tournament. [To] win here another time is a dream for me. The atmosphere here is unbelievable. I feel like [I'm at] home. No one match during seven years [have] I felt the crowd against me. I just can say thank you very much everybody."

Watch Nadal Interview | Watch Sunday's Hot Shot

Sixth seed Verdasco got off to the worst possible start, committing six straight unforced errors. Nadal confirmed the opening-game service break with a glorious crosscourt backhand pass off an angled volley, before taking a 3-0 lead despite Verdasco battling back from 0/40. At the change of ends, Verdasco called for a trainer to treat a neck complaint.

Intent on peppering Verdasco’s backhand, staying clear of his potent forehand, Nadal was relentless in keeping the rallies as short as possible. Two straight forehand winners down the line helped Nadal to a third service break and a 5-0 lead. He duly captured the 36-minute first-set with a hold to 30, when Verdasco fired a forehand wide.

Verdasco received appreciative applause from the 10,080 spectators crammed around Court Central, when he saved three break points to clinch the first game of the second set with an ace. While it may have settled his nerves, Nadal continued to apply the pressure.

In a 14-point third-game, Verdasco managed to save three break point opportunities but was unable to prevent Nadal from striking a running crosscourt forehand pass for a 2-1 lead. Minutes later, the Madrid native was left standing in no-man’s land with his hands on his hips, when a good backhand approach was dispatched by Nadal with a backhand slice winner that glided inches over the net. Nadal went on to take a 4-1 lead with a break to love.

Verdasco failed to capitalise on six break point opportunities in the sixth game, although was allowed a minor celebration in setting up his sixth point when he outwitted Nadal – scrambling behind the baseline in windy conditions – to hit a forehand drop shot winner. He fell to his knees, earning warm applause. But minutes later, Nadal recorded his 32nd consecutive win at the Monte-Carlo Country Club with a forehand winner down the line on his second match point.

Watch Verdasco Interview

"If you see the score, [there] is a big difference," said Verdasco. "But in some games I had some chances to be closer, to make him think a little bit more. But I think that he had unbelievable day and he played really good. I also didn't maybe have a good day, because I was trying to force and made more mistakes than unusual."

The 23-year-old Nadal has now captured 16 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies, which draws him level with ATP World Tour No. 1 Roger Federer and one shy of all-time leader Andre Agassi with 18 titles. The 13-game Monte-Carlo final was fewest in an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title-match (since 1990).

Nadal has won 54 consecutive matches on clay in the month of April and he’s won 10 titles during that stretch, six in Monte-Carlo and four at the Barcelona Open BancSabadell. His last loss on clay in April came on 8 April, 2005 to Igor Andreev in the Valencia quarter-finals. He ranks seventh overall with 26 trophies in the all-time list of clay-court title leaders, 19 titles behind Guillermo Vilas (45).

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:32 PM
Barcelona 2010

ATP World Tour No. 9 Fernando Verdasco served up the perfect remedy for his loss in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final last weekend by defeating Robin Soderling 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in a high quality title match at the Barcelona Open BancSabadell Sunday.

As champion of the ATP World Tour 500 clay-court tennis tournament, Verdasco earned 500 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €286,000, while runner-up Soderling received 300 ranking points and €144,000 in prize money. Both players are bidding to qualify for the second year in a row for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 21-28 November.

The 26-year-old Verdasco is playing arguably the greatest tennis of his career at the moment, having last week reached the final of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament (l. to Nadal) for the first time. The Madrid native clinched the fifth ATP World Tour title of his career, and his second of the season having triumphed at the SAP Open (d. Roddick) in San Jose in February.

Watch Final Highlights | Watch Verdasco Interview

"I've always dreamed of winning the title here," said Verdasco. "I grew up watching this tournament on television. It's an incredible feeling, it's hard to put it into words. It's my second title in Spain and my first 500 title. In the past two weeks, with a final in Monte-Carlo and the title here in Barcelona, I've won 1000 points. This is maybe the best moment of my career right now."

He becomes the eighth successive Spanish winner at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-1899, joining Carlos Moya (2003), Tommy Robredo (2004) and Rafael Nadal (2005-2009).

Looking to improve on a 1-4 record against Soderling, fifth seed Verdasco made a strong start to the match, breaking serve to love to lead 4-3 in the first set. The Spaniard then broke again in the ninth game to seal a one-set lead with commanding forehand play.

Soderling responded well, breaking Verdasco’s serve in the opening game of the second set. Verdasco struck back immediately but the second-seeded Soderling was undeterred and broke again to lead 4-3 before going on to level the match.

Showing no sign of nerves after being pegged back by his Swedish opponent, Verdasco raised his level to break serve in the fourth game of the deciding set as Soderling hooked a forehand wide under pressure. The Spaniard went on to seal victory in two hours and four minutes with strong serving in the final game.

"I didn't start well. I wasn't feeling the ball very well today, which made me a little bit too passive and not aggressive enough," lamented Soderling. "After the first set it was much better but I made one bad game in the third set with a few backhand errors and that cost me the match.

"A final in a tournament like this is still a pretty good week, though. I am still looking to play at the same level that I had towards the end of the clay-court season last year. It hasn't been bad so far but I know I can still do better.

"He [Verdasco] is playing really well. He's playing with a lot of confidence from the last two weeks. He's a great player and he's going to be a tough player to beat in the next couple of weeks."

The 25-year-old Soderling, playing his first clay-court tournament of the year, was also bidding for his second ATP World Tour title of the season, having triumphed at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (d. Youzhny) in February. The Tibro native, who reached the Roland Garros final (l. to Federer) last year, was the first Swedish player to reach the Barcelona final since Magnus Larsson did so in 1995 (l. to Muster).

Both players will now travel to Rome to compete in next week’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia, the fourth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament of the season.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:33 PM
Rome 2010

World No. 3 Rafael Nadal won a record-equalling 17th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title Sunday when he overcame fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 7-5, 6-2 in a rain-hit final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

At the age of just 23, Nadal has drawn level with the retired Andre Agassi, who has held the record of 17 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles since winning his last of the coveted shields in Cincinnati in 2004, aged 34. Roger Federer is in second place with 16 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles.

"I am 23 and sure 17 is a very important number for me," said Nadal. "There are some tournaments coming up – Madrid is coming up soon – and so I'm going to try to keep winning, but these tournaments are very difficult and some of the best players in the world are there."

Watch Highlights | Watch Sunday's Hot Shot

Nadal won his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the age of 18, when he defeated Guillermo Coria in the 2005 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final. Two weeks ago he became the first player in the Open Era to win a tournament title for six straight years when he crushed Fernando Verdasco in Monte-Carlo to claim his 16th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. Overall in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 action, he has compiled a 175-35 match record and has a 17-6 mark in finals.

Read Shark Bites: Nadal Ties Agassi Titles Record

As the winner, Nadal received 1000 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €434,000, while Ferrer, who finished runner-up in his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final, earned 600 ranking points and €203,000 in prize money.

With two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles to his name already in 2010, Nadal has made a strong early claim for a place in the elite eight-man field at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 21-28 November.

"The important thing is that I won a very important tournament and finally I am very happy," said Nadal. "Probably I didn't play as well as Monte Carlo. I played well, but not as well as Monte Carlo, but the important thing is winning."

Watch Post Match Interviews: Nadal | Ferrer

In his post-match interview after defeating Fernando Verdasco in the semi-finals Saturday, Ferrer said his game plan against Nadal would be to play “very aggressively” and the high-risk tactic from the Valencia resident made for a very competitive first set in the pair’s 14th meeting.

The score was level at 4-4 in the first set when the light drizzle that had been a constant accompaniment fell harder and play was suspended for the first time. On the resumption, Ferrer held for a 5-4 lead before putting Nadal under pressure with a 30-0 lead on his Davis Cup teammate’s serve. With the confidence of a 10-3 career lead over Ferrer, though, Nadal quickly turned the situation around, holding serve before converting his sixth break point chance on the Ferrer serve for a 6-5 lead.

Aggressive play off Nadal’s second serve earned Ferrer his only break point of the match as the No. 3 seed served for the set, but the left-hander quickly alleviated the threat with a swinging serve out wide and went on to close out the one-set lead.

Looking to build on his lead as the weather began to worsen once more, Nadal took advantage as Ferrer went for too much in his bid to dictate the points and as the right-hander over-hit a backhand, Nadal secured a 2-1 lead.

At that point, play was once again halted due to rain and it was over an hour and a half later before the players were called back to court to finish the match. Keen to not delay any longer, Nadal went for yet more aggression when play resumed and the pressure told on Ferrer in the seventh game. Two double faults from the right-hander proved costly as Nadal clinched a 5-2 lead and, ruthless as ever, Nadal quickly sealed victory on serve after one hour and 44 minutes.

"After the rain, the court was slower and of course Rafa is in form, especially in difficult moments and it's difficult to beat him," said Ferrer. "But I was pleased with my game."

Nadal won the Rome title for the fifth time, having previously triumphed in 2005-2007 and last year with victory over Novak Djokovic in the final. He holds a 27-1 event record. Throughout the week, Nadal held serve 49 of 50 games and saved 15 of 16 break points. The only player to break his serve was Latvian Ernests Gulbis, who pushed Nadal to three sets in the semi-finals.

World No. 17 Ferrer, who leads the ATP World Tour with a 23-4 clay-court mark in 2010, was bidding for his second title of the season. During the Latin American “Golden Swing” in February he finished runner-up to Juan Carlos Ferrero in the Buenos Aires final, before avenging that defeat a week later with victory in Acapulco. He came into Rome on the strength of back-to-back semi-final showings in Monte-Carlo (l. to Nadal) and at the Barcelona Open BancSabadell (l. to Verdasco).

"This is the first time with a Masters 1000 final in Rome and I am happy with that," said Ferrer. "I am happy with my season this year; it is important for me and for my confidence for my next tournaments

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:35 PM
Munich 2010

On his third appearance in the Munich final, Mikhail Youzhny finally laid his hands on the BMW Open by FWU RETAKAFUL trophy with a hard-fought 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory over top seed Marin Cilic Sunday.

By virtue of winning the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament, World No. 15 Mikhail Youzhny received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points, €68,450 and also a new BMW 325i convertible from the title sponsor; while runner-up Cilic collected 150 ranking points and €35,980 in prize money.

The Russian, who had finished runner-up in the Munich final in 2007 (l. to Kohlschreiber) and 2009 (l. to Berdych), won his first ATP World Tour clay-court title since capturing his maiden trophy at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart (d. Canas) eight years ago.

Reflecting on his success in Munich, Youzhny said: “It is a good tournament, there is a nice atmosphere. I have a lot of friends here. It is a well-organised tournament for the players, whenever you need something they try to help and that’s important for the players.”

Victory also halted a run of three successive final defeats for Youzhny. Since winning his fifth ATP World Tour title in Moscow (d. Tipsarevic) last October, the Muscovite had finished runner-up in Valencia (l. to Murray) in November and this season in Rotterdam (l. to Soderling) and Dubai (l. to Djokovic).

The 27-year-old Youzhny went into the final with the confidence of a 3-0 career lead over Cilic and made a dream start to the match as he raced to a 3-0 advantage before going on to close out the first set.

The No. 11-ranked Cilic was quick to respond, breaking serve at the first opportunity in the second set and, despite being pegged back by Youzhny, was able to break again in the 10th game to level the match at one set apiece.

In a close deciding set, Youzhny saved one break point in the fourth game before breaking Cilic’s serve to love in the seventh game. The Russian then held his nerve to serve out victory in two hours and 51 minutes.

“It was a really tough match," assessed Youzhny. "There were some tough moments for me. At the beginning of the third set I think two or three of my games were going from deuce to advantage and back to deuce, so it was really tough."

“The momentum swung in different ways in the first, second and third sets," said Cilic. "I think I missed my chances at the beginning of the third set when I had a break point and after that he was trying to get back into it. I think my fatigue made a slight difference in the end when I missed a couple of easy balls on my serve. He served pretty good all through the match and didn’t miss too many easy balls, so it was really tough. But I was fighting very well and I’m pleased with that."

The 21-year-old Cilic was bidding to become the first three-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season, having already defended his titles in Chennai (d. Wawrinka) and Zagreb (d. Berrer). The Croatian, also a semi-finalist at the Australian Open (l. to Murray) in January, has compiled a 25-7 mark on the season.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:36 PM
Belgrade 2010

Sam Querrey became the first American since 2003 to win a European clay-court title Sunday when he saved one match point to defeat countryman John Isner 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final of the Serbia Open 2010, an ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Belgrade.

Querrey’s triumph earned him 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €67,430, while Isner received 150 ranking points and €35,400. The last American to win a clay-court title on European soil was Andy Roddick at St. Poelten in 2003, while Mardy Fish was the last American to win a clay-court title when he lifted the 2006 Houston trophy.

The 22-year-old Querrey has made great strides on clay in 2010. He reached his first ATP World Tour clay-court final last month in Houston (l. to Chela) and, together with Isner, advanced to the doubles final in Rome (l. to Bryan-Bryan).

“I hope I can continue to play well and my next step is to go deep in an [ATP World Tour] Masters 1000 event, hopefully try to win one of those,” said Querrey, who will play at the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open next week.

The second-seeded Isner had the chance to win his first ATP World Tour clay-court title when he led 6-3, 5-4 and had advantage on his own serve as he attempted to close out the match. However, Querrey denied his good friend and went on to level the match in the tie-break.

The match was to be decided in an epic ninth game of the third set, which saw Isner surrender a 40/0 lead and fight off four break points before Querrey clinched a 5-4 lead. The younger of the two Americans then confidently served out victory to 15 in one hour and 55 minutes.

“I feel great. It would feel better if I didn’t have to beat my buddy out there and it was someone else. But it’s still exciting,” said Querrey. “[The key today] was just hanging in there. He’s got the biggest serve in the game so it can be frustrating at times. But you just have to not let it bother you when you get aced and just walk to the other side to be ready for the next point. It’s a game of inches, as they say, and on match point he missed that forehand by a couple of inches.”

It is the second time this season that Querrey has defeated his Davis Cup teammate in an ATP World Tour final, having also prevailed when the two clashed in the Memphis title match in February.

The 25-year-old Isner was also contesting his third ATP World Tour final of the season and was bidding for his second title, having captured his maiden trophy in Auckland (d. Clement) in January.

“I’m playing well on the clay,” said Isner. “Today was unfortunate. It’s the second time this year that’s happened; I’ve got to put it behind me.”

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:37 PM
Estorial 2010

Spaniard Albert Montanes once again mastered the testing conditions at the Estadio Nacional, venue of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament, to defend his Estoril Open title on Sunday.

Under overcast skies, on a slow-paced Central Court, the fourth-seed ended the fairytale run of Portuguese No. 2 Frederico Gil with a 6-2, 6-7(4), 7-5 victory in two hour and 34 minutes. Montanes recovered from a 0-3 deficit in the deciding set to record his 10th straight win at the tournament.

The 29-year-old Montanes is the first man to win back-to-back Estoril titles in 14 years, when former World No. 1 Thomas Muster lifted the 1996 trophy.

"It feels great to defend the title, my fourth career title," said Montanes. "This is a special place for me and I’m happy to have won it again.

"I am definitely playing the best tennis of my career and if I keep playing like that I think I can break into the Top 20."

The World No. 34 has now won four ATP World Tour titles in eight clay-court finals and takes home €72,150 in prize money and earns 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points.

Montanes got his first service break in the fifth game of the first set when Gil, serving at 15/40, hit a backhand under pressure into the net. He went on to hit a clever low forehand, which Gil netted, in the seventh game for a 5-2 lead.

Minutes later, Montanes won his 16th of 23 service points with a crosscourt forehand winner to take the 28-minute opening set. He hit 10 aces and committed 14 unforced errors overall.

Gil, who lives with his family in nearby Sintra, saved two break points in a tense opening game of the second set, but was broken to 15 in the third game when Montanes hit an unanswered backhand crosscourt pass.

Montanes maintained a two-game cushion until the 10th game, when he squandered two match point opportunities by hitting a forehand long and a backhand crosscourt out.

"I had the match under control for the most part at 6-2, 5-3 and two match points," said Montanes. "Then the crowd got on his back and sparked him into life. He started playing a lot better."

Much to the delight of 5,000 spectators, Gil levelled the scoreline at 5-5 but was immediately broken. The World No. 134 once again responded by breaking Montanes’ serve to love, taking the second set to a tie-break with a smash winner.

Gil, going for broke on his strokes so not to get tight, took a 4-1 lead in the tie-break courtesy of a smash winner. Serving at 6-3, he put a backhand volley wide, but clinched the 66-minute set on his third point when Montanes hit a forehand approach into the net. Both players had hit 31 winners.

Buoyed by the crowds support, Gil put Montanes under pressure in the first set of the deciding set. Gil was unable to convert two break point opportunities through forehand errors, but at the third time of asking he hit a forehand winner down the line off a slow-paced mid-court ball.

He confirmed the break with a hold to 30 and made it 3-0 with a terrific reaction volley off a powerful Montanes backhand. Undaunted in the face of two break points in the fourth game, Gil fired backhand winners but over-hit a backhand long of the baseline on Montanes third break point opportunity.

“In the third set I was double-break down and I don’t know how I turned the match around," admitted Montanes. "I just kept fighting."

The tide began to turn in Montanes’ favour and by the eighth game the Barcelona resident converted the first of three break point opportunities, on the Gil serve at 0/40, when the Portuguese hit a backhand crosscourt into the net.

The set looked destined for a tie-break, but Montanes’ big-match experience came to the fore when he led 6-5. A backhand winner down the line and a deft backhand slice crosscourt to the net-rushing Gil, put the Portuguese under pressure. Gil saved his third match point at 15/40 with a forehand volley winner, but could not deny Montanes again.

Gil had been attempting to become the third first-time ATP World Tour titlist this year, following in the footsteps of American John Isner at the Heineken Open in Auckland and Ernests Gulbis of Latvia at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.

"This was my best result so far,” said Gil. “I’m really happy to have reached the final at home in Estoril. It was a great match, I was leading 3-0 in the third set but I couldn’t maintain the level to the end. He is a very experienced player and he got the title.

"I was trying to play my best tennis and to maintain the level I wanted [in the third set]. But I want to compliment Montanes, who stayed there all the time and forced me to play my best tennis. He never stopped running and that is why he is ranked in the 30s and I’m at No. 134.

The 25 year old will rise approximately 30 places to No. 104 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings on Monday. He attained a career-high World No. 66 in May last year.

"For me, I am very happy to be Portugal’s first [ATP World Tour] finalist. I haven’t realised yet what I have done, because it is so soon after the match. I’d like to thank my family, my coaches and everyone who supported me. I’ll continue to work hard and do my best in future."

Gil got the biggest cheque of his career by taking home €37,900 and he earned 150 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points. He dropped to a 7-4 mark on clay courts this year and 7-8 overall.

Montanes pulled off the biggest win of his 11-year professional career on Saturday, when he rallied from a 2-5 deficit in the second set tie-break to beat World No. 1 Roger Federer of Switzerland 6-2, 7-6(5). He has a 17-11 season record.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:38 PM
Madrid 2010


At the age of 23 years and 11 months, Rafael Nadal won a record-breaking 18th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title as he defeated rival Roger Federer 6-4, 7-6(5), in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 final Sunday at the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open.

Watched by Queen Sofia of Spain, Nadal also became the first player to win all three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay court tournaments in the same year, having triumphed at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (d. Verdasco) and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (d. Ferrer) last month.

"Well to be the first player to [win all three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournaments] is unbelievable," said Nadal. "I would never have dreamed that I would be able to do so. I’m very happy to have won here and it is especially important to have won in Madrid.

"Beating Roger is always a special occasion. It’s always a very difficult match. And of course winning at home is very special against anyone. So beating him at home is amazing; it’s a dream for me. For me it’s a dream to have won the three [tournaments] before Roland Garros. I want to enjoy that now and we’ll see what happens in two weeks."

As champion, the second-seeded Nadal received 1000 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and was already assured of returning to the No. 2 ranking by reaching the final in Madrid. The Top 8 players at the end of the season will qualify for the prestigious Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 21-28 November.

Victory for Nadal avenged the defeat he suffered to Federer in the Madrid final last year, the first year the event was played on clay at the Caja Magica in the Spanish capital. The Spaniard improved to a 28-2 mark in tour-level clay-court finals, with his two defeats both coming to Federer; he also lost to the Swiss in the 2007 Hamburg title match.

With 28 tour-level clay-court titles, Nadal moved into a tie for fifth place with Ivan Lendl and Ilie Nastase in the Open Era clay-court title leaders list. Guillermo Vilas holds the record with 45 titles.

In their first clash for a year, Nadal and Federer, who had both come through three-set tussles in the semi-finals, struggled to find their form in the opening exchanges of their 21st meeting. Breaks were exchanged in the third and fourth games before Nadal broke decisively in the seventh game as Federer paid the price for a game littered with unforced errors. The second-seeded Nadal then saved four break points as he served out the set, finishing with a hooked forehand passing shot past the stranded Federer.

With a one-set advantage, Nadal looked to have taken a firm grip on the match as he broke Federer in the opening game of the second set, wearing the Swiss down with his relentless attack that forced errors from the World No. 1’s racquet.

Nadal was unable to shut out Federer out. The determined Swiss immediately levelled and when Nadal again broke to lead 3-2, Federer once again pegged him back with a delightful mix of rifling backhands and forehand drop shots.

In the subsequent tie-break, Federer twice squandered a mini-break lead and found himself two match points down as his backhand broke down under relentless pressure from Nadal. The Swiss was able to save the first with a courageous deep forehand into the corner, but could not deny Nadal on the second as he miss-fired to hand the Mallorcan victory after two hours and 10 minutes.

"Neither of us played a perfect match, we both made mistakes," reflected Nadal. "At times we did play well but I think we know each other so much that we are only focusing on how to make each other play worse. I go for his backhand and that makes the match more strategic and it's been quite an exciting match. It was a very exciting match, a very level match, as is usually the case, and playing against Roger is a very special experience and quite an honour.”

Nadal lifted the trophy in Madrid for the second time, having previously triumphed in a fifth-set tie-break against Ivan Ljubicic on indoor hard court in 2005. Federer is also a two-time winner in Madrid, lifting the trophy in 2006 (d. Gonzalez) and 2009.

The 28-year-old Federer was looking to draw level with Nadal and Andre Agassi by winning a 17th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. He was also bidding to capture his first title since clinching his 16th Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open (d. Murray) at the start of the year.

The right-hander slipped to a 19-6 record on the season and to a 62-25 mark in tour-level finals. He will hope to rejoin the winners’ circle by defending his title at Roland Garros, which begins in one week’s time in Paris.

"Considering where I was last week (when he lost to Albert Montanes in the Estoril semi-finals) this has been a major improvement for me," said Federer. "The fact is I hardly ever play a lefty on clay and nobody as tough as Rafa. So it’s obviously not easy to make that transition and I thought I did it very well today.

"He came in with tons of confidence having done so well on clay this season, I knew it was going to be tough; but I really believed in my chance. I was maybe a couple points away here and there, but just got broken one too many times today. But I’m pretty happy with the way I played. I’ve played great this week so I definitely come out of this tournament with tons of confidence."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:39 PM
World Team Cup 2010

World No. 49 Horacio Zeballos captured Argentina’s fourth title at the ARAG ATP World Team Championship as he beat American Robby Ginepri 6-4, 6-7(7), 7-5 Sunday in Dusseldorf to give the South Americans an unassailable 2-0 lead.

In the first singles rubber, Juan Monaco had got Argentina off to a winning start in its sixth final appearance at the Rochusclub by coming from behind to defeat American Sam Querrey 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 35 minutes.

Argentina is now tied with Germany, Spain, Sweden and the United States, all of whom have won a record four ARAG ATP World Team Championships.

“I think my match was difficult, but also his (Zeballos’) match was incredible," said Monaco. "He was fighting like an animal for, like, three hours. We are very happy because when we came here the goal was to win here for Argentina and we did it."

DEUCE: On The Rise...Zeballos

The 25-year-old Zeballos, named the ATP Newcomer of the Year last year, broke serve in the first game of the match, which ultimately made the difference in the first set as he faced no break points in closing out a one-set lead.

The Argentine, who has posted his best results this season on clay, could have closed out the match in two sets, but squandered a 3-1 lead and later missed a match point at 6-5 in the tie-break as the No. 98-ranked Ginepri kept American hopes alive by forcing a deciding set.

Neither player was able to break through, or indeed even conjure a break point opportunity, until the 12th game of the third set, when Zeballos made no mistake at the second time of asking. He opened up a 40/0 lead on Ginepri’s serve as the American served at 5-6 and converted his third match point after two hours and 19 minutes.

“It was a tough match," reflected Zeballos. "The final is not like other matches, you have more pressure. But I think I was cool and played with confidence. It was important for me. It’s not just for us; it’s also for the country so we are really happy to be the champion of this tournament.”

"It was a tough fight," agreed Ginepri. "The first set, I got off to a shaky start. I was a little nervous when I realised that I had to get through the match for the U.S. to have a chance to win it. But hats off to him, he played well. I fought hard to win that second set after saving a match point and had some momentum going into the third set, but just wasn’t able to put as many balls into the court as I needed to.”

World No. 30 Monaco, overcame a slow start to defeat Querrey for the second time in three meetings. The American, who won his first ATP World Tour clay-court title recently at the Serbia Open 2010 (d. Isner), broke serve three times as he raced to a one-set lead.

Monaco responded quickly, though, breaking serve twice as he established a 4-0 lead in the second set. Querrey was able to recoup one of the breaks, but could not build on his comeback as Monaco broke serve again in the seventh game before levelling the match with a service hold to 15.

Breaks were exchanged in the early stages of the third set before Monaco opened up a 4-3 lead with a fifth break of 6’6’’ Querrey’s serve. The Tandil native then saved five break points to seal a 5-3 lead and secured victory by breaking serve once more in front of the Centre Court crowd at the Rochusclub.

The 26-year-old Monaco was also part of the Argentina team that won the team trophy in 2007. He has had a strong clay-court season, reaching the final at the Movistar Open in Santiago (l. to Bellucci) and advancing to the semi-finals in Buenos Aires and Acapulco (l. to Ferrero both times) during the Latin American swing in February.

Reigning ATP World Tour Doubles Champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan avoided a whitewash for the United States as they crushed Argentine duo Diego Veronelli and Eduardo Schwank 6-1, 6-2 for their third victory of the week. In a devastating display, the 32-year-old twins surrendered just three points on serve and capitalised on four of 10 break points to seal victory in 43 minutes.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:40 PM
Nice 2010

Former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet has snapped a six-match losing streak against Top 10 opponents to capture his sixth ATP World Tour singles title.

The unseeded Frenchman, who is currently No. 68 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, defeated World No. 9 Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5) in two hours and 38 minutes at the Open de Nice Cote d'Azur on Saturday.

"It was an incredible match," admitted Gasquet. "I didn't see myself coming back when I was in the third set. I saw myself really far from victory. I was a little tense while serving, which also happened to me in the second set.

"I couldn't have been more tired at the end and I really gave everything to the match. It is a title, my sixth, and it has been a long time since I won my last ATP World Tour title. I'll remember the match for the rest of my life, that's for sure. It was hard and it's a great victory against a great player."

Gasquet won 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings points and earned €72,150 in prize money for lifting his first ATP World Tour title since 30 September 2007 at Mumbai. Verdasco picked up 150 points in his quest to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November and received a cheque for €37,900.

Gasquet converted his first break point opportunity in the sixth game, with second seed Verdasco serving at 30/40. He went on to take a 5-2 lead with a service hold to love.

In the eighth game, Verdasco recovered from 0/40 and saved four set points overall. Gasquet won 23 of 31 service points to clinch the first set in 43 minutes.

Verdasco took a 3-1 lead in the second set, but then lost four of the next five games. Serving for the match at 5-4, Gasquet dropped his serve to love.

Verdasco grew in confidence, levelling the scoreline at one-set apiece in a run of six straight games to a 3-0 lead in the third set. He came within one point of taking a 5-1 lead, but could not convert a break point opportunity on Gasquet’s serve.

Verdasco served for the match at 5-3, but was broken to 15. There were five breaks of serve in the third set, which was decided on a tie-break. Gasquet, who suffered from leg cramping in the third set, converted his first match point at 6-5 in the tie-break when Verdasco hit a forehand wide.

"I was close to losing and then I was so close to winning," said Verdasco. "I was 4-1 up and a few break points to be 5-1 [in the third set], but then he started hitting winners everywhere. Every break point was a good serve or a crazy forehand, every time a winner.

"I was not able to play in those circumstances. He got lucky in the 4-1 game and grew in confidence to break me and to come back. He started to play and run for everything again."

It snapped a five-match losing streak against Verdasco and was Gasquet’s first Top 10 win since beating compatriot and World No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome in May 2009. He now has a 12-35 lifetime record against Top 10 opponents.

Earlier this year, Gasquet reached the Medibank International Sydney final (l. to Baghdatis). Last week he captured his first ATP Challenger Tour title in over five years at Bordeaux (d. Llodra).

"After Bordeaux, I didn’t think about winning here," said Gasquet. "So I am very happy to have won and to have added a sixth title. Mostly, because it was a match of enormous intensity and being able to comeback was special."

The 23-year-old Swiss resident has an 18-11 match record on the season. He has been drawn to meet fourth seed Andy Murray of Great Britain in the Roland Garros first round.

Verdasco, 26, was attempting to join compatriot Rafael Nadal as a three-time ATP World Tour titlist this year. He has a 5-8 lifetime record in ATP World Tour finals, having won the SAP Open (d. Roddick) and Barcelona Open BancSabadell (d. Soderling) titles this year. He dropped to a 30-9 season record.

“It is always easier to play when people are supporting you," said Verdasco. "Of course, I think it helped him a lot. He was close to winning at 5-4 in the second set, but if he wasn’t playing in France, then it would have been difficult in the third set.

"I am happy because I played a final, but I am unhappy that I came so close to winning and couldn't do so."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:41 PM
French Open 2010

In a remarkable Sunday for Rafael Nadal, the Spaniard won his fifth Roland Garros title, returned to No. 1 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings and became the first player to qualify for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, after defeating Robin Soderling 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in the final in Paris.

At the age of 24 years and four days, Nadal became just the second man in history to win five or more Roland Garros titles. Bjorn Borg finished his esteemed career with six titles on the Parisian clay. The Spaniard will subsequently return to the No. 1 spot in the South African Airways ATP Rankings for the first time since 22 June, 2009.

"[It was a] very important victory for me. I think one of the most important victories in my career," said Nadal. "It was a difficult year for me the last year. I worked a lot to be here. I was very nervous during all the tournament, because I know before that I was ready to try to win another time, and I saw the chances there. But the very positive thing is today I was ready to play. I was ready to play with calm and to try my best and to enjoy the match. I did, and it was a very special day.

"For me I was 11 months without winning a title, so a lot of tournaments going back to home without a victory. A lot of difficult moments, because in a few of these tournaments I had to retire for the problems. So is difficult moments to accept. It was personal goal to be back at my best. So I did. And for me, sure, the important thing is Roland Garros. But for me the biggest thing is the personal satisfaction to be here, to be here another time and to be at the top level."

DEUCE: The Rafa Renaissance

Victory for Nadal secured his seventh major singles title. Together with his five victories at Roland Garros in 2005-2008 and 2010, the left-hander also lifted the Wimbledon trophy in a dramatic finale in 2008 and won the Australian Open last year.

Nadal First To Qualify For London

Nadal has been in devastating form throughout the fortnight, racing to the title without the loss of a set despite coming across opponents such as Lleyton Hewitt, Thomaz Bellucci, Nicolas Almagro and Jurgen Melzer on his route through. It is the second time that the left-hander has won a Grand Slam championship without losing a set, having also achieved the feat at Roland Garros in 2008. In the Open Era, only two other players have won the title at Roland Garros without dropping a set - Ilie Nastase in 1973 and Bjorn Borg in 1978 and 1980.

Nadal closed the European clay-court circuit with an unbeaten 22-0 record, which began with victory at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. The Manacor native went on to become the first player in history to win all three clay-court ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in the same year and then achieved a historic “Clay Slam” with his triumph at Roland Garros.

Post Tributes To Nadal On Facebook

The records do not stop there for Nadal, though. His victories in Monte-Carlo (d. Verdasco), Rome (d. Ferrer) and Madrid (d. Federer) saw him overtake Andre Agassi by winning an Open Era record 18 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies. He also recorded his 200th clay-court win with victory over Bellucci in the fourth round at Roland Garros, becoming the quickest male player (losing fewest matches) in the Open Era to reach the milestone.

Despite the staggering records Nadal has achieved at such a young age, the modest Spaniard declined to say he is the best clay-court player ever. "For me, that's more than a dream. When I see these titles and these numbers, for me is amazing. I don't know how I did it. But first of all, you are going to be very arrogant if I say for myself I am the best of the history. Second thing, I don't believe I am the best of the history. I try my best every day, and we will see when I finish my career. I not gonna be the one who decides if I am the best or not.

"I'm very lucky, and I am very fortunate in life to have had the opportunity of experiencing all this at the age of 24. Never in my wildest dream would I have dreamt of such beautiful presents. Life is very kind to me."

It was not to be a repeat of the fourth-round victory over Nadal that Soderling recorded en route to his first major final appearance at Roland Garros last year. On that occasion, Soderling lost out to Roger Federer, whom he then defeated in the quarter-finals this year.

After his victory over top seed Federer, Soderling was hoping to become the eighth different player – and the third at Roland Garros - in the Open Era to defeat the top two seeds en route to a Grand Slam title.

“I have to congratulate Rafa for his fifth victory here, it’s really impressive and if he continues to play like this he will have a chance to win many more,” said Soderling, who was bidding to become the first Swedish champion at Roland Garros since Mats Wilander in 1988. “I will come back next year and hope it will be third time lucky.

DEUCE: Sweden’s Lone Wolf

"Losing a final in a Grand Slam is not great. It's not a great feeling. But I wasn't close in any one of them. I lost straight sets last year and the same this year. It's always tougher if you lose a really, really close match."

The 25-year-old Soderling, a winner in Rotterdam earlier in the season, will now rise to a career-high No. 6 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings on Monday.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:42 PM
Halle 2010

In a final between the two most accomplished active grass-court players, Lleyton Hewitt snapped a 15-match winless streak against World No. 2 Roger Federer with a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 victory to win the Gerry Weber Open title on his debut in Halle.

“It’s fantastic,” declared Hewitt. “Roger’s a hell of an opponent; his grass-court record speaks for itself. Any time you play Roger on a grass court you know you’re in for a hell of a battle and I was lucky to get out of today’s match.

“It’s fantastic for me; I’m getting towards the end of my career and had couple of surgeries, to know I can still compete at this level. I’m thrilled to be here and to have won another title. The tournament’s been fantastic; Roger’s obviously come here all of his career, it’s a fantastic atmosphere. I’ll be back next year.”

As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tennis tournament, Hewitt received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €113,600. Federer, who surrendered his No. 1 ranking on Monday, earned 150 ranking points and €59,900 in prize money.

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It is Hewitt’s first victory over Federer since September 2003, when he defeated the Basel native in five sets in Australia’s Davis Cup World Group semi-final tie against Switzerland. He reduced the deficit in their career-series to 8-17.

The Australian improved his perfect record in ATP World Tour grass-court finals to 7-0. He won Wimbledon in 2002 (d. Nalbandian), triumphed at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2001 (d. Canas) and is a four-time former champion at The Queen’s Club (2000-2003, 2006). He has won the most grass-court matches among active players, compiling a 98-23 lifetime mark.

The 29-year-old Adelaide native won his first ATP World Tour title since victory on clay in Houston (d. Odesnik) last year and clinched his 28th tour-level title overall – the fourth best tally among active players.

Federer looked set to record his 16th straight victory over Hewitt after breaking serve once in the sixth game to secure the first set and creating a 0/40 opportunity on the Australian’s serve in the ninth game of the second set. It proved to be the turning point in the match, though, as the eighth-seeded Hewitt rallied to hold serve and later force a tie-break, which he won 7-4 as Federer netted a backhand on the Australian’s fourth set point.

Hewitt capitalised on the swing in momentum by breaking serve in the first game of the deciding set as Federer’s unforced error count continued to grow. Hewitt had chances to extend his lead in the third and seventh games but was unable to convert as Federer forced his long-standing rival to serve for victory in the 10th game. Hewitt nearly faltered, surrendering a 30/0 lead and double faulting to give Federer a break point chance, but the right-hander held his nerve and painted the line with a forehand to deny Federer before sealing victory on his first match point after two hours and 21 minutes.

"I had to go out there and execute my game plan extremely well and I was able to do that for most of the match today," assessed Hewitt. "You still got to back yourself in the tight moments though and there were a lot of tight moments out there in the match in all three sets. In the third set I felt like I played some of my best tennis of the tournament."

“He started to play much better as the match went on," complimented Federer. "He got into a good rhythm, good zone, hardly made any errors. He had to push me there. So, it was a tough match.”

The 28-year-old Federer had been looking for his 30th straight match win in Halle and his sixth title in his past six appearances. He had not lost a match in Halle since a semi-final defeat to Nicolas Kiefer in 2002 (he did not play in 2007, 2009) and had won 76 of his past 77 grass-court matches, with the only blemish being a five-set defeat to Rafael Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final.

Federer began the year by winning his 16th Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open (d. Murray) in January, but is yet to add to his tally of 62 tour-level titles since then, also finishing runner-up to Nadal in Madrid. It is the first time since 2001 that Federer goes into Wimbledon having won only one tour-level title in the first six months of the year.

“I’m happy with the way I’m playing. It’s unfortunate not coming through today, but I think my level of play is fine," said Federer. "This loss here doesn’t worry me in any way. So, I’m excited about next week. And I thought it was a good tournament.”

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:43 PM
Queens 2010

World No. 23 Sam Querrey prevailed in an all-American final at The Queen’s Club on Sunday as he defeated Mardy Fish 7-6(3), 7-5 to win his third ATP World Tour title of the season.

It was the first all-American final at the tournament since 1994, when Todd Martin defeated Pete Sampras.

"It's an honour (to win at The Queen's Club)," said Querrey. "All the greatest players in the world are on this trophy. It's nice to be added to that list with them.

"The conditions were pretty tough out there, the windiest day of the week so far. I just tried to stay level headed and keep my composure, and fortunately I got through it."

"I know this is a great tournament and I would have loved to have added my name on there," said Fish. "I felt like I was playing well enough throughout the week that not many of the guys could beat me here. I just didn't do it today."

The 22-year-old Querrey is the first player this season to win titles on three different surfaces, having also triumphed on hard court in Memphis and on clay in Belgrade. He is only the second player after Rafael Nadal, with four tour-level titles, to win at least three titles this year.

It is the third all-American final that Querrey has won this season, having defeated Davis Cup teammate John Isner in the Memphis and Belgrade finals. He also finished runner-up on clay in Houston, where he lost out to Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela.

Querrey became the eighth American champion at the AEGON Championships in the Open Era and received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €79,260, while runner-up Fish earned 150 ranking points and €45,130 in prize money.

In a strong serving display from Querrey, he did not face a single break point in the first set. However, as a result of not converting any of the three break point chances he created on Fish’s serve, the younger American needed a tie-break to seal a one-set lead.

Fish made the first breakthrough of the match in the fifth game of the second set as Querrey over hit a forehand after a lengthy baseline exchange. However, a nervous and error-strewn game from Fish as he served for the set at 5-4 allowed Querrey back into the set and the Californian went on to win the final four games of the match to seal victory in 84 minutes.

Querrey fired 15 aces in the pair’s second meeting, including a love service game featuring four aces to open the second set. He levelled their career series at 1-1 after avenging the defeat he suffered to Fish in Los Angeles three years ago.

The 6’6’’ Querrey won his first ATP World Tour grass-court title, having finished runner-up in Newport (l. to Ram) last year, and became the 16th active player to win a grass-court title. The Las Vegas resident named Wimbledon, which begins a week on Monday, as a target for the future.

"It's one of the four most important tournaments in the world. The Wimbledon trophy has these same names on it, and all the greats have won Wimbledon. It's an honour just to step on the grounds of Wimbledon.

"I'd love to win Wimbledon. I'm kind of going with baby steps here and try and make the third round this year, because the second round is the best I've ever done there. It's possible, but I think I've still got some work to do, and there are still some great competitors out there you have to beat to win a Wimbledon title."

The 28-year-old Fish was contesting his 14th ATP World Tour final and slipped to a 3-11 record. The Tampa resident was looking to win his first title in more than a year since lifting the trophy in Delray Beach (d. Korolev) last February. The right-hander is now 0-3 in grass-court finals, having also lost out in Nottingham (l. to Rusedski) in 2003 and in Halle (l. to Federer) a year later.

"I mean, it's inexcusable at that part of the tournament and that part of the match," lamented Fish, reflecting on his missed opportunity to win the second set. "Maybe nerves got to me, or the moment. I mean, I just wanted to play well at this tournament ever since I've been coming here, and if you want something so badly, sometimes it's not a good thing.

"Sam's pretty free flowing out there. Sometimes his attitude of sort of happy go lucky is a great thing. I certainly know the history of this tournament and the names on the trophy, and that definitely caught up to me."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:44 PM
Unicef Open 2010

Sergiy Stakhovsky out-served seventh-seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic to win the third ATP World Tour title of his career on Saturday at the UNICEF Open. Both players dined out together in 's-Hertogenbosch on Thursday and Friday nights.

The Ukrainian, who also beat Tipsarevic en route to his first title at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors in February 2008, triumphed 6-3, 6-0 in 56 minutes. Stakhovsky did not drop a set in five matches, winning 43 of 46 service games, at the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tennis tournament.

Stakhovsky won 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and earned €72,500 in prize money, while Tipsarevic – who was also appearing in his first grass-court final – picked up 150 points and €37,900.

"I played really well today," said Stakhovsky, who donated the racquet he used to UNICEF. "By the score, I believe this would be the easiest match of the week, but it definitely wasn’t as there was a lot of tension.

"I can't really say I had easy matches [this week]; more or less all of them were close in some way. I think I was a bit better and a little more consistent."

World No. 71 Stakhovsky hit eight aces and dropped just seven points on serve in the final. He converted four of 12 break point opportunities to improve to a 16-12 match record on the season.

"I have played three finals in my career and before my previous semi-finals and finals I could not sleep," admitted Stakhovsky. "I seriously slept for only four hours each day. Today, I was nervous but I had slept okay. Sometimes I struggle with my emotions before matches. I know a big match is coming, but I am nervous."

In the first set, the 24 year old converted his third break point opportunity in the fourth game and confirmed the break when he hit his second ace to take a 4-1 lead. Stakhovsky won 21 of 25 service points to wrap up the 35-minute opener.

Tipsarevic won just nine points in the 20-minute second-set, with Stakhovsky hitting five aces and converting three of six break point opportunities.

"I'm very disappointed," said Tipsarevic. "But Sergiy played very well during the whole week. I somehow lost my spirit."

Prior to this week Tipsarevic had not won a tour-level match since February, when he reached the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships quarter-finals (l. to Youzhny). He dropped to a 10-11 season mark.

Tipsarevic, who turns 26 on Tuesday, also lost to Mikhail Youzhny in the Kremlin Cup final at Moscow in October last year.

Both players will now travel to Wimbledon.aspx">Wimbledon to compete at The Championships, which begins on Monday. Stakhovsky will meet No. 18 seed Sam Querrey of the United States in the first round while Tipsarevic, who reached the fourth round in 2007 and 2008, has been drawn to face France’s Arnaud Clement.

"I will play Sam Querrey on Tuesday," said Stakhovsky. "It will be a tough match. He is [at the] top of his game, having won titles on every surface this year. He is a complete player, with a big serve and a great forehand. I believe I am in good shape and have two days to rest and prepare."

Tipsarevic said: "I will play Arnaud Clement again [they played in the second round this week] but it will be a completely different match in Wimbledon." Tipsarevic won 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 on Wednesday.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:45 PM
Eastbourne 2010

World No. 46 Michael Llodra captured his second ATP World Tour grass-court title on Saturday as he lifted the trophy at the AEGON International with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over fifth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament, Llodra received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €69,350, while runner-up Garcia-Lopez earned 150 points and €36,550 in prize money.

The 30-year-old Llodra won his first ATP World Tour title on the mowed lawns at ‘s-Hertogenbosch six years ago (d. Coria) and has since added to his tally with triumphs in Adelaide and Rotterdam in 2008 and victory on home soil at the Open 13 in Marseille (d. Benneteau) earlier this season.

In a tight first set, the Frenchman claimed the only service break in the 12th game to seal a one-set lead. Rain halted play in the third game of the second set, but players were not off court for long and Llodra returned with renewed purpose, breaking serve in the sixth game as Garcia-Lopez committed his third double fault. The Parisian then clinched victory with a third break of serve in the eighth game after 67 minutes.

"It's always a pleasure to win a title,” said Llodra. “It doesn't happen every week so you have to enjoy it when it happens. It's been a great week and I felt good from the beginning. I know I can play well on grass but you still have to do the job out there on the court. 6-5 in the first set was a great time to break. I knew if I stayed focussed I would get my chances and at 6-5 it came my way. Then it helped to serve first in the second set.”

A strong serving display from Llodra saw him fire 11 aces and surrender only seven points behind his delivery. Coming into the final, he led the field with 50 aces and 81 per cent of first serve points won. Throughout the week, he held 50 of 52 service games and saved 17 of 19 break points.

Llodra has been assisted during the grass-court season by former WTA player Amelie Mauresmo. “For the past two weeks, we've discussed a lot about my game. She's been a great help and she's helped me to prepare for my matches so that I feel more comfortable when I go out on the court. I have to thank Amelie, it’s a pleasure to work with her.”

The left-hander improved to a 16-11 match record on the season, also highlighted by a quarter-final showing on grass at The Queen’s Club (l. to Fish) last week. He will open his campaign at Wimbledon.aspx">The Championships, Wimbledon next week against American Jesse Witten, with a possible second-round clash against 2009 runner-up Andy Roddick.

The No. 41-ranked Garcia-Lopez was contesting his first ATP World Tour grass-court final and dropped to a 1-1 overall record. He won his maiden title in Kitzbuhel (d. Benneteau) in May last year. The Albacete native was bidding to become the seventh different Spaniard to win an ATP World Tour title this season.

“Of course it's disappointing to lose today,” said Garcia-Lopez. “Whenever you get to a final you want to win the title, but the positive is that I have had a really good week and got a lot of matches. Last year I got to the semi-finals here, this year the final. I really enjoy this tournament and look forward to coming back next year."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:46 PM
Wimbledon 2010

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal won his second Wimbledon title on Sunday as he mastered blustery conditions at the All England Club to defeat first-time Grand Slam finalist Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in the final of The Championships.

The Spaniard has dominated the ATP World Tour since April, winning 31 of his past 32 matches, and came into Wimbledon having just won his seventh Grand Slam championship at Roland Garros (d. Soderling). He also achieved the Roland Garros – Wimbledon double in 2008, when he became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to accomplish the feat.

The Manacor resident is the first Spaniard in history to win two Wimbledon titles. The only other Spanish winner at the All England Club is Manuel Santana, who lifted the trophy in 1966 (d. Ralston).

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“It’s more than a dream for me,” said Nadal. “It was always my dream to play on this court and today, to play a fourth final for me was amazing. I couldn’t be here last year but this year I came back and to have this trophy in my hands is more than a dream.”

“It was a great two weeks for me, but he was very strong today,” conceded Berdych. “He’s showed in the last few months that he’s really the champion and he just deserved to win today.

The 24-year-old Nadal, who regained the No. 1 spot in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings from Roger Federer after his Roland Garros triumph last month, added a further 2000 points to his tally. He has already secured his place in the elite eight-man field at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the year-end championships which will return to The O2 in London from 21-28 November.

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Nadal is one of six players to reach four successive Wimbledon finals, joining Boris Becker, Bjorn Borg, Federer, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras. The Mallorcan finished runner-up to Federer in 2006 and 2007 before lifting the trophy for the first time in 2008 by defeating his Swiss rival in the longest Wimbledon final in history in four hours and 48 minutes. He was forced to miss last year’s Championships due to tendonitis in both knees.

"Every one is really special," said Nadal, comparing his two Wimbledon finals. "Is difficult to say this one is more special. The other one was more dramatic, the way to win. So first title is always very, very special.

"For sure after not easy year for me. Be back at my favourite tournament of the world here and play well another time, and not only play well, so finish with the trophy is amazing for me. Was very difficult for me to be back at my best. I did, so is very important and emotional moment for me. I want to enjoy that."

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His defeats to Federer in the 2006 and 2007 Wimbledon finals are his only two losses in 10 Grand Slam finals. In addition to his two Wimbledon trophies, he has also won five Roland Garros crowns and lifted the trophy at the 2009 Australian Open (d. Federer).

The left-hander has now won 14 matches in a row at Wimbledon, and improved to a 40-8 match record on grass, the eighth-best tally among active players. He won his first grass-court title at The Queen’s Club (d. Djokovic) in 2008.

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The 12th-seeded Berdych was contesting his first major singles title after embarking on a tremendous run through the top half of the 128-man singles draw. He stunned top seed and six-time champion Federer in the quarter-finals, before ousting World No. 3 Novak Djokovic in Friday’s semi-finals.

“I want to congratulate Tomas because he is having an amazing season and had a very good tournament for today,” said Nadal. “I’m sorry for today but I wish him best of luck for the rest of the season.”

The Czech player has built further on the strong results he had already compiled this season. He defeated Federer en route to his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in Miami (l. to Roddick) and reached his first-ever major semi-final at Roland Garros, following victory over World No. 4 Andy Murray in the fourth round.

The 24 year old was the first Czech player to compete in the Wimbledon men’s singles final since Ivan Lendl in 1987 and was looking to become the first champion from his country since Jan Kodes triumphed in 1973.

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“I hope this gives me a lot of confidence and some extra power to be stronger for next time and who knows what’s going to happen in the next few years,” said Berdych.

"I think the biggest difference between us was that when he got a chance, he just took it. He gave me one in the second set, one in the third set, and none of them I can bring it to my side and just made a break. That just shows how strong he is. I think it was just really about the small difference.

"It's really tough to find out some special tactic [against Nadal]. So my strategy was just concentrate for myself, start well and wait for some little chances. But, as I said before, he took it."

Berdych is projected to rise to a career-high No. 8 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings when the new rankings are released on Monday.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:47 PM
Newport 2010

Mardy Fish lifted his fourth ATP World Tour trophy (4-11 final record) at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport on Sunday.

The fifth-seeded American hit 24 aces past No. 4 seed Olivier Rochus of Belgium for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory in two hours and four minutes. It was his first grass-court title after three runner-up finishes on the surface.

“It means a lot to win now on every surface in my career – indoor, outdoor, hard, clay and grass,” said Fish. “I’ve certainly lost a lot of heartbreak finals, and it feels good to win one.”

By capturing his first tour-level title since March 2009 at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, Fish will jump around 30 spots to No. 49 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings on Monday.

The 28-year-old Florida resident picked up a cheque for $75,700 and earned 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points, while 29-year-old Rochus received $39,780 and 150 points.

The first set went with serve to 5-5 when Rochus broke and converted his second set point opportunity to clinch the 45-minute opener. Fish had hit seven aces and dropped nine service points.

At 1-2, Rochus fell to 15/40 and was broken by Fish, who maintained the advantage and hit his 15th ace to win the second set in 30 minutes.

Fish broke Rochus at 4-4 on his fourth break point opportunity of the third set with a forehand volley winner. The former World No. 17 was then forced to save two break points before closing out his 23rd victory of the season on his second championship point.

“I was feeling really good on the court,” said Rochus. “It was just one or two points. The last two games were so close. I had two break points [at 4-5], game points at 4-all. It’s just like this. When it’s that tight, one has to win. But Mardy was pushing hard at the end and his serve was really good, so maybe he deserved it a little more.”

Fish, who set up both of his championship points with aces, said: “I served great, and I needed to for sure. I served great when I needed to in that last game… If I didn’t come up with those [aces] he probably was going to break me eventually.”

Over the past 10 months, Fish has dropped 30 pounds in weight due to a strict diet and training regime with trainer Christian LoCascio. Last month he finished runner-up to Sam Querrey at the AEGON Championships, another ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament, in London.

“In that spot and that atmosphere, it was tough to swallow,” Fish said of the loss at the Queen’s Club. “I wanted to play this match on my own terms, figure out a way to win it or lose it on my racquet.”

World No. 65 Rochus, who did not drop a set en route to his eighth ATP World Tour final (2-6 lifetime), was the first Belgium in tournament history to contest the championship match.

Steve Darcis was the last Belgian titlist at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis in February 2008.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:48 PM
Stutgart 2010

World No. 30 Albert Montanes closed out an exceptional week for Spanish sport on Sunday. Following Spain’s victory in the FIFA World Cup final last weekend and Nicolas Almagro’s triumph in Bastad earlier in the day, the Barcelona resident won his second ATP World Tour title of the season at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart.

Montanes was crowned champion when third seed Gael Monfils was forced to retire with a right ankle injury; Montanes had been leading 6-2, 1-2 in the pair’s second meeting. He received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €72,150 in prize money, plus a brand new white Mercedes-Benz E 350 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY convertible.

"I played very well. In the first set I played good in the rallies and my confidence was good," reflected Montanes. "I am very happy with the win today. It is unbelievable for me. All week I played unbelievably. I’m very happy about this week. The Mercedes [I won] is very nice."

The 29-year-old Montanes became the sixth different Spanish winner at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament in Stuttgart, joining David Ferrer (2006), Rafael Nadal (2005, 2007), Alex Corretja (1997), Alberto Berasategui (1994), and Jose Higueras (1983).

The right-hander improved to a 5-4 record in ATP World Tour finals. All nine of his ATP World Tour final appearances have come on outdoor clay, including his victory at the Estoril Open (d. Federer, Gil) in May. It is the second straight year that the Spaniard has won two ATP World Tour titles in the same season, having won in Estoril (d. Blake) and Bucharest (d. Monaco) in 2009.

Montanes went into Sunday’s final with the confidence of having beaten No. 2 seed Jurgen Melzer and No. 4 Juan Carlos Ferrero back-to-back in the quarter-finals and semi-finals. He broke Monfils’ serve in the third and seventh games as he raced to a one-set lead in 33 minutes. The Frenchman was forced to retire just three games into the second set, though.

The No. 17-ranked Monfils dropped to a 2-8 record in ATP World Tour finals; his two titles came at Metz (d. Kohlschreiber) last year and at Sopot (d. F. Mayer) in 2005. He was contesting his first ATP World Tour final since finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic in Paris last November.

"I twisted my ankle on the court and it was impossible to finish the match," said Monfils. "The week was good. I played pretty good tennis, a lot of confidence came back. To reach a final again was pretty exciting. I had a bad experience (today) but hopefully it will be better soon and I can get back to my best level and try to reach some other finals."

Last weekend, the Parisian was part of the French Davis Cup team that dethroned two-time defending champion Spain in the World Group quarter-finals. Monfils won the first rubber for France with a dramatic five-set victory over David Ferrer, He has compiled a 24-12 mark on the season.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:49 PM
Swedan 2010

World No. 20 Nicolas Almagro captured his sixth ATP World Tour title Sunday as he defeated top seed and defending champion Robin Soderling 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in the final of the SkiStar Swedish Open, an ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament in Bastad.

Almagro, who improved to a 6-2 record in ATP World Tour finals, earned 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €72,150, while runner-up Soderling received 150 points and €37,900 in prize money.

“It’s a great feeling to win here,” said Almagro. “It’s always amazing to win a final and I’m very happy with the week. I’m going to enjoy this moment and then prepare for next week in Hamburg.”

Victory gave Almagro his first ATP World Tour title since triumphing at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in 2009 with victory over Gael Monfils. All six of the Spaniard’s titles have come on outdoor clay, beginning with victory at the Valencia Open 500 in 2006 before it was moved to indoor hard court. The Murcia native is the seventh different Spaniard to win an ATP World Tour title this season and the sixth Spanish champion in the past 10 years in Bastad.

The fourth-seeded Almagro fell short in the 2007 Bastad final against David Ferrer but has impressed throughout the week with his smooth progress through the draw and carried his high-level into the final against Soderling, whom he defeated in their previous meeting on clay in Madrid.

After saving two break points in the second game of the match, Almagro took his fourth opportunity to break Soderling’s serve in the 12th game and seal a one-set lead. Soderling hit back strongly, though, racing to a 3-0 lead in the second set before going on to level the match, saving one break point as he served out the set in the ninth game.

With the match finely poised on serve in the third set, Almagro lifted his level to win the final four games from 2-2 to seal victory in just less than two hours. Victory saw him level his career series with Soderling at 3-3, avenging the defeat he suffered to the Swede in the 2009 Bastad quarter-finals.

“I didn’t play very well in the 2007 final here, but today I fought very hard and I’m really happy with the physical and mental sides to my game,” reflected Almagro. “It was a big match, a big fight and we were both battling like gladiators. Robin is a great player and I’m sure he will have many more chances to win this tournament in the future.”

The 24-year-old Almagro improved to a 33-17 mark for the season and 23-10 on clay. The right-hander’s strongest results this season have come on the crushed brick; he also reached the semi-finals in Madrid (l. to Nadal) and the quarter-finals at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal), Munich (l. to Cilic) and Acapulco (l. to Ferrero).

World No. 5 Soderling was bidding to become the second player in the past 17 years to successfully defend the Bastad title. He defeated Juan Monaco in the final last year to win his first and so far only ATP World Tour clay-court title.

The 25-year-old Soderling dropped to a 5-10 mark in tour-level finals, including a 1-3 record this season. The Tibro native won his fifth ATP World Tour title in Rotterdam (d. Youzhny) but has finished runner-up in three clay-court finals, also losing out at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal) for the second year in a row and Barcelona (l. to Verdasco).

"Too bad that I didn't get the break early in the first set. I played OK in the second set but I gave away a break in the decisive set, and that's why I lost the match," assessed Soderling. "I was very disappointed after having lost in the final."

"I have some very important tournaments coming up, and a stretch that suits my game really well," added the Swede.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:51 PM
Hamburg 2010

World No. 82 Andrey Golubev capped a dream week on Sunday by becoming the first player from Kazakhstan to win an ATP World Tour title with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over third seed Jurgen Melzer in the final of the German Open Tennis Championships in Hamburg.

As champion of the ATP World Tour 500 clay-court tournament, Golubev received 500 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €228,000, while runner-up Melzer earned 300 points and €104,000 in prize money.

The 23-year-old Golubev, who celebrated his birthday on Thursday by recording his first Top 10 win over No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko in the third round, is the third first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season. He joins John Isner (Auckland) and Ernests Gulbis (Delray Beach).

Golubev had won just eight tour-level matches this season coming into Hamburg but discovered his best form as he raced to the title without losing a set all week. He was contesting his second ATP World Tour final, having finished runner-up to Andy Murray in the 2008 St. Petersburg Open final.

“I’m very happy to win my first title, especially here in Hamburg on a clay-court. I never expected that my first title would be on clay," confessed Golubev. "I played very well, I believed in myself. It was very tough [today]. I served well; I played very well from the baseline. In the important points I played very good. I think the most important thing this week was that I believed in myself, I believed in my game, my forehand and backhand.”

A solid serving display from Golubev saw him surrender just five points behind his delivery in the first set of the final. He earned his first chance to break Melzer’s serve in the eighth game, after the Austrian had squandered a 30/15 lead, and capitalised before going on to serve out a one-set lead.

In a lengthy sixth game of the second set, Golubev escaped to level at 3-3 after saving five break points. He later made Melzer rue his missed opportunity as he broke the left-hander’s serve in the 11th game before coming from 0/30 down to serve out victory in 89 minutes.

“He played a really good match," conceded Melzer. "He started off unbelievable in the first set and I was a little unlucky to get broken at 4-3. In the second set I had my chances and couldn’t convert them. It is how it is. He really felt good out there and I wasn’t just playing well enough to get him struggling.”

World No. 15 Melzer, currently at a career-high position in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, slipped to a 2-7 record in ATP World Tour finals. The Austrian, who recently advanced to his first Grand Slam semi-final at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal), was bidding to win his first ATP World Tour title since triumphing at his hometown tournament in Vienna (d. Cilic) last year.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:52 PM
Atlanta 2010

American Mardy Fish continued his rejuvenated run on the ATP World Tour, showing off his career-best form in a hard-fought 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) win over countryman John Isner on Sunday at the Atlanta Tennis Championships.

Coupled with his triumph two weeks ago in Newport (d. O. Rochus), the 28-year-old Fish extended his winning streak to 10 straight matches. He was contesting his third final from his past four tournaments, beginning with a runner-up finish to Sam Querrey last month at The Queen’s Club.

"This is as top as I’ve ever been," said Fish. "I’ve never won two tournaments in one year, I’ve never won two tournaments in a row, and on the ATP [World] Tour, I’ve never won 10 matches in a row. It’s probably as good as it’s been. "

He collected $95,845 and 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points as the winner of the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tournament, while Isner earned $50,500 and 150 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points.

The Atlanta champion also assumed the lead in the Olympus US Open Series standings following the first tournament of the North American hard-court swing.

Fish had made his way into final without dropping a set in four matches, including an upset over top seed Andy Roddick in the semi-finals, but was made to work hard for the victory in sweltering conditions Sunday after his opponent claimed the only service break of the opening set.

With Isner poised to close out a straight-sets win, Fish stepped up to break his opponent twice in the span of three games – allowing him to level the match at a set apiece and go up 3-1 in the decisive set. The lead proved short-lived, however, as Isner immediately broke back and forced Fish to fight off another break point chance in the ninth game.

Fish took control in the tie-break as he won the first four points, and though Isner countered by winning the next three, the No. 6 seed held on to clinch the two-hour, 45-minute win on his second match point.

"It was a little lucky to pull through," said Fish. "Today was an extremely physical match just with the heat. He’s no fun to play, that’s for sure. He gives a lot of people a lot of trouble."

The former World No. 17, who has shed 30 pounds over the past year, improved to a 5-11 mark in ATP World Tour finals. Since falling outside the Top 100 this past March, he has been climbing back up the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings and entered Atlanta at No. 49.

He said: "It feels great, obviously putting in the work. This is what we wanted to do. This is where we wanted to be. These are the types of matches we targeting in October when we were rehabbing the knee. It feels like a long time ago. It feels great."

World No. 19 Isner fell to a 16-6 mark in matches decided in a final set tie-break. In his second-round opener – his first singles match since Wimbledon – he had saved two match points before edging Gilles Muller in a tie-break.

The 25 year old, a four-time All-American at the University of Georgia, was looking to win his second ATP World Tour title after opening 2010 with victory in Auckland. He also reached the finals this season at Memphis and Belgrade, both times falling to Querrey.

"This is the third final this year that arguably I could have won," said Isner. "I lost two finals earlier this year when I was up in both of them, one of them I was serving on match point. This one could’ve gone either way. It’s disappointing.

"I’ve made four finals this past year and I’ve lost my last three all in three sets. That’s hard to swallow, but it hasn’t stopped me from progressing. I know if I keep putting myself in this position it’s going to happen, and I know I will keep putting myself in this position."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:53 PM
Gstaad 2010

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."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:54 PM
Los Angelas 2010

Second seed Sam Querrey won his fourth title of the year in Los Angeles Sunday after claiming his first win in five career meetings with Andy Murray at the Farmers Classic.

The defending champion saved one match point in the second set before clawing out a 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-3 win in 2 hrs., 22 mins. Querrey, who had never won a set in four prior meetings with Murray, wins $111,950 and 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points.

With Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan earlier winning their sixth Farmers Classic title, it is the first time in the 84-year history of the tournament that both the singles and doubles champions have repeated their titles.

In avenging his recent fourth-round loss to Murray at Wimbledon, Querrey improved to 4-1 in finals this season, a vast improvement on his 1-4 record in his five finals appearances in 2009. Querrey added to his 2010 titles in Memphis (d. Isner), Belgrade (d. Isner) and Queen's Club (d. Fish). He finished runner-up in Houston to Juan Ignacio Chela.

Querrey, 22, is the first player since Spaniard Albert Montanes last year in Estoril to win two matches from match point down in the same tournament. Querrey saved one match point in the semi-finals against Janko Tipsarevic.

Querrey, who saved one match point in the final of Belgrade in May (d. Isner), is also the first player to win at least two ATP World Tour titles saving match point in the same season since Andy Roddick did it three times in 2003 (Queen's, Cincinnati, US Open).

"All four matches were really exciting this week," said Querrey after the win. "It was nice to get through them all and it feels great. This is the first time that I've actually tried to defend a title because the Vegas tournament went away.

"The last two sets today were great, Andy is one of those players who allows me to hit my shots."

Querrey now travels to Washington to play the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

Murray said: "It was a good week. Disappointed to lose today but if you take the circumstances into consideration I have to be happy with getting to the final. I had a good week, I enjoyed it.

"Each match I felt better physically. I played reasonably well today, better than the other matches."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:55 PM
Umag 2010

A year after finishing runner-up to Nikolay Davydenko in the Umag final, fourth seed Juan Carlos Ferrero won the ATP Studena Croatia Open title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Italian Potito Starace on Sunday evening in the final of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament.

The Spaniard won his third ATP World Tour title of the year and the 15th tour-level trophy of his career. The 2003 Roland Garros champion dominated the Latin American “Golden Swing” in February, winning two titles in Costa do Sauipe (d. Kubot) and Buenos Aires (d. Ferrer) and finishing runner-up in Acapulco (l. to Ferrer).

"I'm very happy about this tournament. It gives me a lot of confidence to go and practice on hard now," said Ferrero. "It was an amazing week. I had a bit of pain in my knee but I kept motivated and it was great to come through. It was the fourth final I've played this year and I've won three tournaments so it's a great feeling."

It is the first time since 2003 that the 30-year-old Ferrero has won at least three ATP World Tour titles in the same season; he won four titles apiece in 2003 and 2001. The former World No. 1 improved to a 15-18 record in tour-level finals and to a 29-7 match record on clay this season.

As champion, Ferrero earned 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €72,150, while runner-up Starace received 150 points and €37,900 in prize money.

World No. 22 Ferrero began well in his seventh clash with Starace, breaking serve in the third game for a 2-1 advantage and he did not relinquish his lead as he went on to close out a one-set lead. One more break of the Starace serve in the second set sufficed for Ferrero to seal victory in 80 minutes. He did not face a break point in the match and only lost three points on serve in the second set, 10 points on serve overall.

"Since the beginning of the week I played very consistent and aggressive," assessed Ferrero. "Today I didn't let Potito dominate the points. I know he can be dangerous with his forehand so I tried to move him around and play to his backhand."

The No. 64-ranked Starace was contesting his third ATP World Tour final and first since reaching the Valencia (l. to Almagro) and Kitzbuhel (l. to Monaco) finals in 2007. The 29 year old, also a semi-finalist in Casablanca (l. to Wawrinka) and Nice (l. to Gasquet) earlier this year, dropped to a 21-18 mark on the season.

"Today was a tough match. He played very well especially on his serve. I was a bit tired but he played a perfect game," reflected Starace.

"I will try next time. I'm playing good tennis so I want to carry on and do something special. I am very close to playing my best tennis. I lost today but he played a great match. I want to try and improve my ranking in the next two-three months and try and get back to the Top 30."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:56 PM
Washington 2010

David Nalbandian ensured that the Legg Mason Tennis Classic trophy stayed in Argentine hands for the third straight year after defeating eighth-seeded Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-2, 7-6(4) in Sunday’s final in Washington D.C.

Nalbandian’s victory follows Tandil native Juan Martin del Potro’s brace of victories in 2008 and 2009. The Cordoba resident was contesting his first ATP World Tour final since winning his 10th trophy in Sydney (d. Nieminen) in January 2009.

Currently down at No. 117 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, Nalbandian is projected to rise back into the Top 50 at around No. 45 next week after receiving 500 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points. He is the first player this year ranked outside the Top 100 to win an ATP World Tour title.

"It’s really important because we were working very hard," said the Argentine. "It has been a year and a half fighting with the surgery and the recovery; we are so happy and this victory made me feel very good again...not only with the rankings, with my game, with everything. It was a good win."

The 28-year-old Nalbandian was contesting just his fifth ATP World Tour tournament of the season after making his return to action in February following ninth months on the sidelines after undergoing hip surgery. He also missed over two months between April and July with a hamstring injury.

Despite his lengthy spell on the sidelines, Nalbandian looked to be nearly back to his best this week in Washington where, as a wild card entrant, he lost just one set en route to his first ATP World Tour title on American soil.

"I didn’t expect to win the first tournament when I came," said Nalbandian. "When I started hitting the ball and I hit good after the first match and the second one, I really feel good. But in the beginning, if I had to bet, I would bet on myself, of course."

The right-hander had been in blistering form as he crushed fourth seed Marin Cilic in the semi-finals on Saturday night and carried that same form into the final as he broke serve twice in the first and seventh games to race to a 5-2 lead against Baghdatis in the first set.

After closing out the first set 6-2, Nalbandian was denied the opportunity to break serve immediately in the second set as Baghdatis followed a double fault with a timely ace before holding serve. Baghdatis was then gifted his first service break of the match courtesy of successive double faults from Nalbandian in a rare loose service game from the Argentine.

Neither player was able to hold on to a lead in the second set, though. No sooner had Baghdatis broken did Nalbandian immediately hit back with more devastating groundstrokes, before then breaking the Baghdatis serve again to lead 3-2. With the Argentine beginning to fatigue in the searing afternoon heat, though, Baghdatis benefitted from a spate of unforced errors to draw level at 3-3.

Baghdatis held a set point chance in the 12th game after rifling an inside-out backhand return winner, but was denied as Nalbandian once again produced more potent groundstrokes, particularly off the backhand side, to alleviate the danger.

In the ensuing tie-break, Nalbandian rediscovered his form from the first set as he powered into a 5-0 lead. Baghdatis rallied to win the next three points, but could not prevent Nalbandian from securing victory on his second match point in just under two hours.

"I think I played very good throughout the week here," said Nalbandian. "I had a few moments in some matches where I did not play too good. In the rest, I had great moments, great matches. And then the win and I’m so happy for it."

World No. 25 Baghdatis slipped to a 4-5 record in tour-level finals, 1-1 this season. In January he won his fourth ATP World Tour title in Sydney with victory over Richard Gasquet. The 25-year-old Limassol native continued his return to form this week after going winless in three tournaments during the grass-court season before winning one match last week to reach the Los Angeles quarter-finals (l. to Tipsarevic).

"I will never forget where I come from," said Baghdatis. "I was ranked 150 last year and now I maybe touched Top 20 this year. I am looking forward to the future and playing better."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:56 PM
Toronto 2010

World No. 4 Andy Murray won his first ATP World Tour title of the season and defended his Rogers Cup crown Sunday with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over Roger Federer in Toronto. In a final frequently interrupted by rain, Murray proved to have the winning edge with his concentration as he ended a title drought dating back to Valencia in November 2009.

Watch Highlights

By virtue of winning his fifth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy, Murray earned 1000 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points, boosting his chances of qualifying for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

En route to regaining the Rogers Cup trophy, Murray became the fifth different player to defeat Federer and World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the same tournament. Murray defeated Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Nadal in straight sets in the semi-finals on Saturday to record his fifth career win over a World No. 1 opponent.

"Winning a tournament is always great, but it's the first time I beat Roger and Rafa in the same tournament, which is probably the most pleasing thing, and then didn't drop a set against either of them," he said. "So it's good for the confidence for the next few weeks."

The 23-year-old Murray is the first player to win back-to-back Canadian titles since Andre Agassi in 1994-95. The Scot defeated eventual US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in last year’s final and has an 18-3 event record.

Post-Match Interviews: Murray | Federer

Taking advantage of a cagey start by Federer, who was playing his first tournament since a quarter-final defeat at Wimbledon, Murray quickly established a 3-0 double-break lead. The No. 3-ranked Federer slipped into gear in the fourth game, though, and recouped one of the service breaks to slow the Scot’s momentum. A drop in level later proved costly for Murray as he served for the set in the 10th game and a double fault from the Dunblane native saw Federer drew level at 5-5.

In what proved to be a very up-and-down match, though, both players struggled to build on momentum and Federer immediately gifted the advantage back to Murray with key forehand unforced errors. Murray did not waste his opportunity at the second time of asking, and served out the one-set lead.

The warm up to the match had been interrupted by rain and the showers returned again to frustrate the plays and watching fans just three games into the second set. At the resumption, Murray held serve for 2-2 before another smattering of rain delayed proceedings. While the rain was not heavy enough to force the players from court, it was enough to disrupt Federer’s rhythm and he dropped his serve in the fifth game with three unforced errors playing a part.

Play was interrupted again just minutes later with Murray at 30/30 on serve in the sixth game and, after a lengthier delay, it was the Scot who could not regain his concentration in time and Federer took advantage with potent, aggressive hitting to level at 3-3. Murray, who has impressed with his attacking style all week, though, produced the same effective tennis in the latter stages of the set to break and lead 6-5. He served out victory in just over two hours, saving a break point with an ace in the final game.

Watch Sunday's Hot Shot

"Just felt pretty calm on the court all week, and that's if you can put sort of the emotions and how you're feeling into I guess the way you're playing rather than sort of showing it after every point, sort of saving up and putting into the points and the rallies," said Murray. "I felt like it worked well. It was one of the best weeks I've had. It was just kind of expressing myself with the way I was playing. I played pretty free flowing tennis and didn't get too nervous."

Victory for Murray, his seventh in 12 meetings with Federer, went some way to avenging the crushing defeat he suffered when the pair met in the Australian Open final in January, when Federer won his 16th Grand Slam championship. It is the first time he has defeated Federer in a tour-level final, having also been denied by the Swiss in the 2008 US Open final and 2005 Bangkok title match.

The 29-year-old Federer was bidding for his 17th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and his second title of the year. He has also finished runner-up this season in Madrid (l. to Nadal) and Halle (l. to Hewitt).

“Today was another tough match physically with the breaks, coming back, the breaks, coming back, and with all the physical strain I had to go through this week,” said Federer, who came through two very close matches against Tomas Berdych and Novak Djokovic to reach the final. “Honestly I'm feeling actually pretty good, considering. That's definitely a good sign for what's to come.

“It was particularly hard being down 0-3, running behind the score, and still losing the first set. Not coming through there obviously was a bit of a blow, and then the rain delays completely shut it down for me to get any kind of rhythm. It was played on a couple points here and there, and it didn't even feel like the end of the match. Just all of a sudden it was all over. So it was just a touch disappointing. I thought he played well. He was aggressive. He was taking the ball early. He wasn't giving me much, and he clutch served at the very end when he had to, and he deserved the victory.”

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:58 PM
Cincinnati 2010

ATP World Tour No. 2 Roger Federer ended a seven-month title drought on Sunday as he battled past the in-form Mardy Fish 6-7(5), 7-6(1), 6-4 to win the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters for a fourth time.

Federer had gone title-less since capturing his 16th Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open (d. Murray) in January and was contesting his 90th tour-level final. In winning his 63rd tour-level title, the Swiss moved into joint-fifth position with Bjorn Borg in the list of Open Era (since 1968) title leaders.

The 29-year-old Federer also won the Cincinnati title in 2005 (d. Roddick), 2007 (d. Blake) and 2009 (d. Djokovic) and became only the second player to win the title four times, joining Swede Mats Wilander (1983-84, ’86, ’88). He is the first player to win back-to-back titles in Cincinnati since Andre Agassi in 1995-96.

Watch Final Highlights | Watch Sunday's Hot Shot

By virtue of winning his 17th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy, Federer received 1000 South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, which will further boost his chances of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The top eight players at the end of the season qualify for the year-end championships at The O2 in London.

"I've been playing well the past couple weeks, and today was just another proof that I'm playing really well," said Federer. "I thought I played an excellent match today. I had huge belief that I was going to win today from the first point until the end. That sometimes can make a bit of a difference. Then I was positive all the way through because I felt I was playing well, even though I lost the first set. So I never got down on myself and doubted myself. I think that reflected in the game as well."

After the disappointment of losing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals to Tomas Berdych, Federer said he had spent the following six weeks looking for areas to improve in his game, notably his aggressive stance on hard courts. The hard work paid dividends as he advanced to the Toronto final last week (l. to Murray) and impressed against Nikolay Davydenko and Marcos Baghdatis to reach another final this week.

Watch Post-Match Interviews: Federer | Fish

While he was not at the same high level throughout the whole of Sunday’s final, he employed his new tactics at the key moments by raising his intensity levels and aggression in the second-set tie-break and closing stages of the third set to record his sixth win in seventh meetings with Fish.

After failing to convert on four break point chances in the first set, courtesy of clutch serving from Fish, Federer then squandered a 5-4 mini-break advantage in the tie-break as Fish hit back to win the final three points and clinch a one-set lead.

An unusually subdued Federer still struggled to find his A-game in the second set and was made to fight off a break point chance for Fish in the fifth game, earning a reprieve as the attacking American went for too much on a forehand down the line. The danger served to fire up Federer and as the set went to another tie-break, he raised his game up a gear to dominate Fish from the outset. The Florida resident, who had gone 18-4 in tie-breaks throughout the season, was unable to find an answer as Federer went on the attack and sealed the tie-break 7-1 to force a deciding set.

Federer was unable to capitalise on his momentum in the early stages of the third set as Fish continued to keep the Swiss at bay with fine serving. However, a tight game from Fish at 4-4, coupled with purposeful aggression from Federer, yielded the decisive service break for the Basel native, who then confidently served out the match in two hours and 40 minutes.

"I thought I played well the whole match through," assessed Federer. "I don't think I played better in the second or third set. I thought the first set was the one I really should have won and ended up losing, so I think it was a close match. Could have gone either way. I had a tough moment staring at one set down and break point in the second set. You think you're playing a good match, but you might lose 6 and 4. I hung tough and made him work hard and was able to come across the finish line faster than him."

Reflecting on how the final played out, Fish commented: “If I were to change anything, I would have tried to play a little more aggressive on his serve games, maybe on some second serves. He must have served 65 per cent at least. That's not very many looks.”

Chirag
12-04-2010, 02:59 PM
New Haven 2010


Ukraine's Sergiy Stakhovsky improved his perfect record in ATP World Tour finals to 4-0 after rallying to beat Denis Istomin 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to win the Pilot Pen Tennis title Saturday in New Haven.

Stakhovsky, who won the 's-Hertogenbosch title earlier in the year, is the first Ukrainian to win two titles in a season since Andrei Medvedev in 1994. Stakhovsky has reached just four ATP World Tour semi-finals, but each time he has pushed on to take the title.

In the first all-European New Haven final since 1998 (Kucera d. Ivanisevic), ninth-seeded Stakhovsky converted the two break points he had in the match against Istomin, who decided at the last minute to play New Haven after suffering an ankle injury the previous week in Cincinnati.

Coached by his mother, Klaudiya, Istomin was aiming to become the first player from Uzbekistan to win an ATP World Tour title. He was appearing in his first final.

Stakhovsky collected $93,360 and 250 South African Airways ATP 2010 Rankings points; Istomin pocketed $51,300 and 150 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points.

“I have no idea [why I have a perfect record in finals]," Stakhovsky said. "I'm really happy to keep the score this way, to be able to be the winner of this match today. As I believe everybody saw, it was really more playing on nerves. There were a lot of unforced errors. There were really a lot of good rallies, and I hope it was really enjoyable tennis we played. I have to say it definitely wasn't our best tennis from both of us. But we were trying as hard as we could. Definitely we were fighting for everything."

Stakhovsky, who had to win four matches in three days – including two wins Thursday as organisers played catch-up after rain – said: “It was really an exhausting week for me. A lot of three sets. A lot of tie-breaks. Just a lot of time on court. Just now I have to get myself together and get ready for the US Open. I'm really glad to win this title. It pushed me to another level again. But I just need to think forward again and get ready.”

Istomin said: "I'm so happy to be in the final for the first time. I'm like little bit waiting for my first win. But also it's not [going to be] my last final. I hope soon in the future I can be the winner.

"For the US Open I feel like I'm in good form. I'll try do my best there. I don't have an easy draw... but I feel like I can play good, show the good tennis."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:00 PM
US Open 2010

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal became the seventh man to complete the career Grand Slam, and the youngest to accomplish the feat in the Open Era at 24 years of age, as he defeated World No. 2 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 on Monday to win his first US Open title.

Nadal, who achieved the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double this past summer, continued his stellar run of form at the majors as he became the first player to win three straight Grand Slam tournaments in the same season since Rod Laver won all four in 1969.

“I’m still 24. For me, it's a dream to have the career Grand Slam, but this is more a dream to have the US Open,” he said. “[It’s an] unbelievable feeling because I worked a lot all my life, in all difficult moments to be here, but I never imagined to have the four Grand Slams.”

The Manacor native, the third Spaniard to win the US Open (Manuel Orantes - 1975, Manuel Santana - 1965), collected his ninth Grand Slam crown, adding to his five on clay at Roland Garros (2005-08, 2010), two on grass at Wimbledon (2008, 2010), and one on hard court at the Australian Open (2009). He is the second player to win Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces at least twice, behind Mats Wilander.

“He has the capabilities already now to become the best player ever,” Djokovic said. “I think he's playing the best tennis that I ever seen him play on hard courts. He has improved his serve drastically. The speed, the accuracy, and of course his baseline is as good as ever. So he's a very complete player.”

After semi-final exits the past two years at Flushing Meadows, Nadal had made his way confidently through to the championship match – dropping serve just twice in 91 service games – and was looking to become the first player since Neale Fraser in 1960 to win the US Open title without losing a set.

Rafa Grand Slam Tribute Special | How The Final Was Won

Though Nadal’s date with destiny was delayed after rain pushed the men’s final to Monday for a third straight year, Nadal made a confident start to the championship match as he broke Djokovic. He dropped serve for just the third time during the US Open fortnight as the Serbian drew level at 2-2, but regained the lead as he converted on his sixth break point opportunity of the next game.

Nadal, who has a 106-1 win-loss record in Grand Slam play after winning the first set, played a loose service game early in the second set – broken at love to give Djokovic the 3-1 lead. The Serbian, who won a string of 11 points, looked poised to become the first player to force a set off of Nadal during the 2010 US Open but faltered as Nadal got back on serve in the seventh game.

The pair were locked at 4-4, 30/30, when rain suspended play shortly after 6pm. The match resumed at 7:59pm after a one-hour, 57-minute rain delay, and saw Djokovic come out the stronger of the two players. He broke the Spaniard for a third time to force a set off of Nadal for the first time during the 2010 US Open.

Djokovic was unable to maintain the momentum, however, with Nadal continually putting pressure on his serve. The top seed created 16 break point chances through the final two sets and converted on three of them (6 for 26 during the match). He claimed the victory in three hours and 43 minutes as his opponent’s return sailed wide on championship point.

Another historic feat occurred after rain interrupted a Monday men’s final 31 years ago. After a one-hour, 35-minute delay, with helicopters brought in to help dry the courts, Rod Laver donned spikes on the grass courts and clinched a four-set win over fellow Aussie Tony Roche – completing his calendar year Grand Slam.

Of the previous six to win all four majors, Laver was the only other left-hander to win all four and also the only other player to complete his set by winning the US Open.

Nadal has already secured his place in the elite eight-man field at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which will return to The O2 in London from 21-28 November, and has set his sights on winning the year-end championships.

“My goal remains for me that the [Barclays ATP World Tour Finals] is probably the last big tournament that I didn't win,” he said. “That's true it’s the most difficult title for me to win because we play it indoors, and when indoor, indoor very quick surface, so gonna be always very difficult if we don't change that. But at the same time is a challenge for me to keep improving to have the chance to play well there and to have the chance to win, so that's what I’m gonna try this year.

“For me right now the next goal is try to finish the season much better than what I did in other years. The last part of the season always was difficult for me. Well, today it started to be less difficult, that's true. But I want to finish the season if it's possible with a good feeling.”

Djokovic had earned his place in the final by saving two match points to defeat Roger Federer in Saturday’s semi-final, reclaiming the No. 2 spot in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings with the victory.

He said: “Maybe emotionally I was a little bit drained after the semifinal match, but I recovered. I had two days, and I was motivated to win this match, and this is one of the matches where the opponent plays better than you, and you just have to congratulate him and tell him, ‘You're better.’ That's it. I don't think I played a bad match overall. It was very good performance from my side. But whenever it was important, he was the one who was playing just too good.”

The 23-year-old Serbian, who finished runner-up to Federer in 2007 at the US Open, was attempting to collect his second Grand Slam title after winning the 2008 Australian Open.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:01 PM
Metz 2010

Former World No. 6 Gilles Simon ended a 51-week title drought Sunday as he became the fourth French winner at the Open de Moselle with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over German qualifier Mischa Zverev in the final in Metz.

The Nice native, currently down at No. 41 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings after struggling with a right knee injury in the first half of the season, received a boost with 250 ranking points and €72,150 in prize money.

The 25-year-old Simon captured his seventh ATP World Tour title, his first since lifting the Bangkok trophy (d. Troicki) in October 2009. It is the second time the Frenchman has won an ATP World Tour title on home soil, also triumphing in Marseille in 2007.

The right-hander was accompanied this week by his family, including newborn son, Timothée, who arrived early on 2nd September while Simon was competing at the US Open in New York.

"I am extremely happy about this seventh title," declared Simon. "I was not supposed to come here initially; my son was due to be born this week so logically I hadn't entered any tournaments. Because I had been playing well, also in the Davis Cup preparation, I really wanted to try to compete and really wanted to come to Metz; I knew I could do something good.

"My son was born on 2nd September, so I haven't spent much time with him yet. As I decided to play this week I also decided to bring the family with me to Metz. I was in the unknown, I didn’t know how it was going to be, if he would keep me up at night, and in the end, the result is perfect. Everything went very well and I am delighted to get to share this title with my family today."

Victory in Metz marked a complete turnaround in fortunes at the event for Simon, who had failed to win a match in four previous visits to the tournament.

Tasked with overturning a 0-2 record against Zverev, Simon broke through in the sixth game and saved a break point in the following game before sealing a one-set lead. From 1-2 down in the second set the eighth seed stepped up a gear, breaking serve twice as he won the final five games of the match to clinch a comprehensive victory in just 67 minutes. Another impressive serving display from Simon saw him strike nine aces and win 84 per cent of points behind his first serve.

“It hasn’t been an easy year because of the injury and I am really happy about this victory," said Simon. "During my time off, I strengthened my upper body to try to improve my serve, to serve stronger and for longer and this week. My serve is what kept me in the matches even if I wasn’t playing so well.”

Simon, whose best previous results this season had been quarter-final showings in Eastbourne (l. to Llodra) and Washington (l. to Nalbandian), improved to a 15-12 match record.

World No. 155 Zverev is the lowest-ranked finalist on the ATP World Tour this season and, like Bucharest runner-up, Pablo Andujar, was hoping to become the first qualifier to win a title this season. The left-hander was contesting his first ATP World Tour singles final after not dropping a set all week.

“I was really excited to be in my first final, but he played really well," said Zverev. "Not only solid from the baseline as he is usually, but also aggressive as well, he served unbelievably. I couldn’t do much today. I love France and French tournaments, I feel great here and for sure I will come back.”

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:02 PM
Bucharest 2010

Fourth seed Juan Ignacio Chela advanced to his second ATP World Tour final of the season Saturday as he crushed defending champion Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-3 at the BCR Open Romania in Bucharest.

The Argentine won his fifth ATP World Tour title in April with victory over Sam Querrey in the Houston final. He has progressed to his 11th final (5-5 record) in impressive fashion this week, dropping no more than three games in any of the six sets he has played.

The 30 year old broke serve twice in the second and sixth games to seal the first set before racing to a 4-1 lead in the second set. The top seed Montanes rallied to reduce the deficit to 3-4, but lost serve again in the ninth game as Chela claimed victory in 81 minutes.

"I'm very happy to be in the final," said the No. 53-ranked Chela. "Today my level was great; I played better than my ranking says. It's never easy to get to the final and I'm very pleased that I made it."

In the title match Chela will face qualifier Pablo Andujar, who defeated Marcel Granollers 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4 in an all-Spanish semi-final to reach his first ATP World Tour final. He and Mischa Zverev, who is in the final in Metz, are the first two qualifiers to reach an ATP World Tour final this season.

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"It's great to reach my first final here. It's like a dream," reflected Andujar. "I saw Chela playing on TV when I was younger. Against him I have nothing to lose. He makes very few mistakes, but I will have my chances."

World No. 105 Andujar, who defeated No. 2 seed Florian Mayer in the second round, clinched a close first set, in which eight break points were squandered by the players. However, Granollers, who had come from a set behind to win all of his matches so far this week, hit back with two service breaks in the second set to level the match.

Andujar recovered well to break and lead 4-2 in the final set and despite Granollers striking back in the following game, was able to break serve again in the 10th game to seal victory in three hours and 11 minutes.

"It was a very hard match today," said Andujar. "I've known Marcel since we were 12. We even won Roland Garros together in doubles as juniors. Luckily I started to be more relaxed in the final set, but I was very tense at the beginning."

The 24-year-old Andujar is playing in just his sixth ATP main draw of the season and improved to a 7-5 match record. In the final against Chela, he will hope to avenge the defeat he suffered to the Argentine in Vina del Mar last year.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:02 PM
Bangkok 2010

World No. 53 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez capped a momentous week in Bangkok by winning his second ATP World Tour title with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Jarkko Nieminen in the final of the PTT Thailand Open on Sunday.

En route to the final, the Spaniard defeated No. 8 seed Michael Berrer and fourth seed Ernests Gulbis before saving a staggering 24 of 26 break points to oust ATP World Tour Champion Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. He was the first player ranked outside the Top 50 to beat Nadal since No. 106 Nicolas Mahut defeated the Mallorcan at The Queen’s Club in June 2007.

As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament, Garcia-Lopez received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and $99,725 in prize money.

“It has been an unbelievable week for me, from the first round to the final,” said Garcia-Lopez. “Every match is different. I think I played relaxed, enjoyed my game and everything was perfect. It's hard to express what it means, I'm really happy inside.”

"Nieminen played an unbelievable tournament,” praised the Spaniard. “The score of the match, 6-4 in the third, shows that it was a tough match today. He had a lot of break points in the first set and didn't take his opportunities. I took the only break point I had in the first set. And then I played good in the third set and I think he was a bit nervous at 4-5 in the third."

After squandering a 3-1 lead in the final set, Garcia-Lopez was then denied on a couple of match points on Nieminen’s serve in the 10th game as the Finn came up with the answers at the net. Garcia-Lopez persevered, though, and finally clinched victory with a forehand passing shot.

Garcia-Lopez is the eighth different Spaniard to win an ATP World Tour title this season; Spain is now 18-8 in tour-level finals in 2010. The Albacete native was contesting his second final of the season, having finished runner-up to Michael Llodra in Eastbourne. He won his first ATP World Tour title last year on clay in Kitzbuehel (d. Benneteau).

The 27 year old, also a semi-finalist in Estoril (l. to Gil) and a quarter-finalist in Casablanca (l. to Serra) this season, will move to around World No. 40 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings on Monday. He reached a career-high No. 38 in May.

The No. 60-ranked Nieminen had also posted impressive victories en route to the final, accounting for No. 7 seed and 2009 finalist Viktor Troicki and No. 3 Jurgen Melzer. The 29 year old dropped to a 1-9 lifetime mark in ATP World Tour finals. He was contesting his first final since finishing runner-up to David Nalbandian in Sydney in January 2009 and was hoping to add to the lone piece of silverware he collected in Auckland (d. Ancic) in 2006.

“I had a great week,” reflected Nieminen. “I had some chances in the first set but he came up with some great points. He lifted his game again in the third set. I gave everything and it wasn't enough for me today. I really enjoy coming here, the people are so positive; it's been a great atmosphere all week."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:04 PM
Malaysia 2010

ATP World Tour No. 9 Mikhail Youzhny came from a set down to win for the third day in a row Sunday as he rallied to defeat Andrey Golubev 6-7(7), 6-2, 7-6(3) in the final of the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2010.

The 28-year-old Youzhny was made to work hard for his seventh ATP World Tour title, having been extended to three sets in all four of his matches this week. Against Marcos Baghdatis in the quarter-finals, he came back from a set and a double break down to win. In the semi-finals, he won 12 of the last 14 games to recover from the loss of the first set against Igor Andreev.

“It was four very tough matches for me," said Youzhny. "It was my first tournament indoors after the US Open Series and for me it was good. I cannot say I showed by best tennis here, but, although it’s good when you show your best tennis and win the tournament, it’s probably better sometimes when you don’t show your really best game but you have a really good result.”

In the Battle for London it is a confidence-boosting win for Youzhny, who is hoping to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the first time. The Russian, who began the week at No. 10 in the year-to-date South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, will add 250 points to his tally. He also received $153,500 in prize money as champion of the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tennis tournament.

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Youzhny has compiled a 39-15 match record in what has been a stellar season for the Muscovite. He also won the title in Munich (d. Cilic) in May and finished runner-up in Rotterdam (l. to Soderling) and Dubai (l. to Djokovic) in February, as well as reaching the US Open semi-finals last month (l. to Nadal).

Youzhny defeated Golubev in three comfortable sets in the first round in New York, but was given a much sterner test by the up-and-coming Kazakhstani player in their fourth meeting on Sunday. The eighth-seeded Golubev squandered an early break advantage in the final, but held his nerve in the first-set tie-break, saving three set points before clinching a one-set lead.

The fourth-seeded Youzhny came back strongly in the second set, though, breaking twice as he established a 5-1 lead. Golubev was able to recoup one of the breaks, but Youzhny broke serve again in the eighth game to level the match. Neither player was able to create a break point chance in the final set and Youzhny’s greater experience showed in the tie-break as he sealed victory in two hours and 32 minutes.

“It was a really tough match, a very close match," reflected Youzhny. "I should have won the first set, when you lead 6-3 in the tie-break indoors usually you should take the set. I came back well and I played a really good second set. In the final set it was really close. Unfortunately, when you win 7-6 in the third set in the last match, you have to be a little bit luckier than him.”

World No. 41 Golubev was hoping to cap a giant-killing week by winning his second ATP World Tour title. The 23 year old, who won his maiden title in Hamburg (d. Melzer) in July, had ousted World No. 5 Robin Soderling and No. 11 David Ferrer en route to the final. Speaking after the semi-finals, Golubev had credited his good form this week with the confidence he had gained from leading Kazakhstan into the Davis Cup World Group with a 5-0 victory over Switzerland last month.

“We both played very well, except my second set, but I was a little bit tired," lamented Golubev. "I played very good matches against Soderling and Ferrer, that’s why I was a little bit down. I needed the set to relax, to get some energy for the third set. He played very good points, at 4-4, 15/30 I had chances to maybe break him, but he played well. In the tie-break at 4-3, the next two points decided it.”

“I’m happy about the tournament, because when I came here I was feeling pretty good physically and mentally and I beat a Top 10 guy. It’s good for me and I know I can play against top guys and in the future I can improve my game and I will do my best in the next tournament.”

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:07 PM
China Open 2010

Serbian World No. 2 Novak Djokovic lifted the 18th tour-level title of his career on Monday after he defeated David Ferrer of Spain 6-2, 6-4 to complete the defence of his China Open title in a rain-delayed final. Djokovic was leading 3-1 when play was rained-out on Sunday.

Djokovic, who two days ago qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November, became the first back-to-back winner in the six-year history of the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tournament in Beijing, where he has a 9-0 lifetime record.

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"[I'm] just happy to win another tournament and make my record here in Beijing even better," said Djokovic. "It's definitely one of the most successful tournaments in my career."

Top seed Djokovic earned 500 South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings points and was presented with a cheque for $500,000 after recording his fifth win in nine meetings over Ferrer, who picked up 300 points and $230,000. Ferrer dropped to an 8-10 record in ATP World Tour finals.

Eighth seed Ferrer was unable to get the better of Djokovic, who converted four of six break point opportunities and won 71 per cent of service points for victory in 85 minutes.

"I think he played with no mistakes and I made little mistakes in the second set [at] 4-3," said Ferrer. "I had my chance there. I had two advantages and I [hit] one double fault. But he played well. Me, maybe when I lost this game, I lost a little bit [of] my concentration."

The 23-year-old Djokovic is the third player this season to successfully defend two ATP World Tour titles, joining Rafael Nadal (Monte-Carlo, Rome) and Marin Cilic (Chennai, Zagreb).

In February, he won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. Youzhny) in another rain-delayed final. He has an 18-12 record in tour-level finals and a 49-13 match record on the season, highlighted by a runner-up finish at the US Open (l. to Nadal).

"I started off really well, but then I lost the momentum," admitted Djokovic. "I kind of lost the rhythm, got him back into the match with some unforced errors, and it wasn't a really nice looking match from both sides. We made a lot of unforced errors."

Ferrer, 28, was appearing in his fourth ATP World Tour final of the year (1-3). The Spaniard has compiled a 52-18 season record and is just nine match wins short of his career-best year in 2007 when he won 61 matches.

Ferrer moves to No. 8 in the year-to-date South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings. He beat World No. 5 Robin Soderling 6-2, 6-4 in the quarter-finals and Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the semi-finals. He has a 27-49 lifetime record against Top 10 opponents (6-10 this year).

"It's very important for me for to go to London [for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals], so I need to play very good [to] be there," said Ferrer.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:07 PM
Japan 2010

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal won his seventh tour-level title of the season, and the 43rd of his career, Sunday as he defeated Gael Monfils 6-1, 7-5 in the final of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo.

The Spaniard improved to a 7-1 record in finals this season, with his only defeat coming in Doha (l. to Davydenko) in January. He completed a clean sweep of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournaments in Monte-Carlo, Rome and Madrid, before winning three successive majors at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open.

"Every tournament is very important; it is nice to win another big title like this one," said Nadal. "I won a lot this year but I have to appreciate how difficult it is and how much hard work you have to do. I improved a lot my serve and it is a big thing on a surface as quick as here in Tokyo."

Nadal dropped only one set during his debut appearance at the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tennis tournament in Tokyo; he was forced to save two match points in a third-set tie-break against Viktor Troicki in the semi-finals. The Mallorcan is the fourth player this year to win an ATP World Tour title having saved a match point at some stage during the tournament, following Nikolay Davydenko (Doha), John Isner (Auckland) and Sam Querrey (Belgrade, Los Angeles).

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The 24-year-old Nadal, who has already secured his place at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, earned 500 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and $261,500 in prize money.

In his eighth meeting with Monfils, Nadal recorded his seventh victory over the Frenchman. The top seed raced to a one-set lead, breaking serve in the second and sixth games. Monfils was stronger on serve in the second set, hitting seven aces as he kept Nadal at bay, but the Spaniard was able to convert his only break point in the 11th game and served out victory in 77 minutes.

Monfils suffered a heavy fall in the first set and appeared to have done some damage to his ankle. Afterwards, though, he assured media it had no bearing on the result. “The fall I had in the first set only affected me for a little while, it had no impact on the result.”

"Gael is a great player; I played very well today and that's why I won," said Nadal. "I wasn't really tired after the semi-final [against Troicki]. [Gael] beat me before in Doha in 2009 and we had other tough matches."

Nadal improved his ATP World Tour-best match record to 66-8 (35-7 on hard court) this season. The left-hander was playing in his second tournament since victory at the US Open, where he became the seventh man in the history of the sport to complete a career Grand Slam. Last week he reached the semi-finals in Bangkok (l. to Garcia-Lopez).

World No. 15 Monfils was contesting his 11th ATP World Tour final and dropped to a 2-9 record. The right-hander also finished runner-up in Stuttgart (l. to Montanes) in July and was looking to win his first title since Metz (d. Kohlschreiber) in September 2009.

Like Nadal, the Paris native had also saved a match point to reach the final. He was on the brink of defeat against No. 2 seed Andy Roddick in the third-set tie-break of their quarter-final clash, before fighting back to claim victory and end a run of eight consecutive defeats to Top 10 players.

"It was a bit tough for me to adjust my game after they opened the roof for the final, having played indoors yesterday and practised indoors this morning," said Monfils. "Rafa is a more difficult opponent if we play outdoors. It was good for my confidence to reach the final. I am also OK physically now so it has been a good week."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:08 PM
Shanghai 2010

World No. 4 Andy Murray produced a superb display Sunday as he won his sixth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Roger Federer in the final of the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

The Scot, who clinched his place at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals earlier in the week, earned 1000 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and $616,500 in prize money.

Having lost his first three meetings in tour-level finals with Federer, including at the Australian Open in January, Murray has now won two successive finals against the Swiss; his first victory came in the final of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Toronto in August. He leads their head-to-head series 8-5.

"I enjoy playing him," said Murray. "I don't find it easy at all. It's incredibly difficult every time. But I love the challenge of playing against him. I don't fear playing him. Every time I go on, I know I need to play great tennis to win against him. I don't know if my game matches up well against his or not. But I've played some of my best tennis against Roger."

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Defeat denied Federer a record-equaling 18th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy. The Swiss was looking to draw level with Rafael Nadal, who won his 18th Masters 1000 title in Madrid with victory over Federer. Federer is, though, the all-time leader in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 match wins and has a 221-67 lifetime mark.

Both players came into the final in red-hot form, neither having dropped a set all week. Indeed, Federer had been particularly impressive in straight-sets dismissals of Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic in his past two matches. However, the Swiss was hindered by a bout of 30 unforced errors in the final as he attempted to win his third tour-level title of the season.

Murray made a fast start to the pair’s 13th meeting and broke serve in the first game as Federer over pressed on his forehand and made costly mistakes. After fighting off Federer’s attempts to break back in the fourth and eighth games, Murray then came up with some magic in the ninth game as he earned two set points with a pin-point accurate forehand passing shot up the line. The Scot then produced a stunning forehand crosscourt passing shot on the run to seal the first set.

The second set was a similar tale as Murray continued to play the big points better and his high standard forced Federer into repeated errors. The Swiss’ forehand let him down as he missed two break point chances in the first game of the second set, and he was denied on two more chances in the third game.

Murray then made his breakthrough in the following game as Federer’s forehand once again went array and the Scot went on to seal victory in the eighth game as Federer netted a backhand volley on Murray’s second match point after 85 minutes.

"Tonight's match was, from my side, very solid," said Murray. "It was obviously a great, great match for me. Made few mistakes. As a tournament overall I'm very happy with it. I served great, especially when I was behind in the games. I hit the ball well from the back of the court. Against Roger you have to go after it early. I returned his serve well tonight and got a lot of free points on my serve; my second serve has improved so much since the start of the season.

“I’ve moved really well all week, the speed was very good tonight. I hit a lot of great shots on the run and you have to come up with a lot of great shots against Federer if you want to beat him.”

"I thought he played well overall," said Federer. "He didn't give me much. I was missing a few too many shots, which I wish I hadn't because that could have definitely maybe swung momentum around, given me more confidence to play more forward, more attacking. But missing so many important shots really over and over again obviously took a lot of my confidence away. Then the targets seemed to get smaller and smaller. That's definitely his credit, a pity for me."

The 29-year-old Federer was bidding to add to the trophies he has won at the Australian Open and Cincinnati (d. Fish) this season; the 16-time Grand Slam champion native slipped to a 63-28 lifetime mark in tour-level finals.

"I had a good tournament," reflected Federer. "I thought I played well this week. Had some great wins against [Robin] Soderling, [John] Isner, [Andreas] Seppi, also [Novak] Djokovic. I'm very happy with where my game is at. Today could have been better. But, look, Andy was the best player of the tournament so he deserved it."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:10 PM
Stockholm 2010

World No. 2 Roger Federer won the 64th tour-level title of his career Sunday as he defeated Germany’s Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-3 to add the If Stockholm Open crown to his glittering collection.

The 29-year-old Federer, who has already surpassed Pete Sampras on the Open Era Grand Slam titles list, has now tied the American for fourth place on the Open Era overall titles list. It was the Swiss player’s third tour-level title of the season, following his triumphs at the Australian Open (d. Murray), where he won his 16th major title, and Cincinnati (d. Fish).

"It means the world to me to win this title. It’s always nice winning in a place like this with a tennis heritage and a lot of history,” said Federer.

Federer, who has already qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points as winner of the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tennis tournament in Sweden. It is the 18th different country in which Federer has won an ATP World Tour title.

The top seeded Federer has come up against some stern resistance on his run through to the Stockholm title, including coming from a set down to defeat Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals, and was challenged by Mayer as the unseeded German broke to lead 4-3 in the first set. Federer’s response was swift and potent, though, as he reeled off three straight games to clinch a one-set lead.

The second set was a more straightforward affair for Federer, who broke serve in the sixth game before closing out victory in 63 minutes. It was his 52nd tour-level victory of the season and his second appearance in an ATP World Tour final in two weeks, having finished runner-up to Andy Murray a week ago at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

World No. 47 Mayer was bidding to win his first ATP World Tour title after a stellar week, including a quarter-final win over No. 5 Robin Soderling. The 27 year old dropped to a 0-3 mark in ATP World Tour finals, having also finished runner-up in Sopot in 2005 (l. to Monfils) and 2006 (l. to Davydenko).

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:11 PM
Kremlin Cup 2010

World No. 43 Viktor Troicki won his first ATP World Tour title at the third attempt Sunday as he came from a set down to defeat Marcos Baghdatis 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

The Serbian is the fourth first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season, joining John Isner (Auckland), Ernests Gulbis (Delray Beach) and Andrey Golubev (Hamburg).

“It feels really great to win my first (ATP World Tour) title, there are no words to describe what is going through my mind,” said Troicki. “I would say it is the biggest day of my career. I had been waiting a long time for this. It is special it happened in Moscow as my father is Russian.”

The 24-year-old Troicki was contesting his third ATP World Tour singles final after runner-up finishes in Washington in 2008 (l. to del Potro) and Bangkok in 2009 (l. to Simon). As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tennis tournament, he received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and $181,750.

Fourth seed Baghdatis drew first blood in the pair’s second meeting, sealing the first set after a decisive service break in the sixth game. Troicki was stronger on serve in the second set, though, never yielding a break point, and was rewarded for aggressive play on Baghdatis’ serve in the 10th game as he broke through to level the match.

After saving a break point early in the third set, Troicki then seized the initiative, capitalising on a lack of first serves from Baghdatis in the fourth game to break and lead 3-1, before going on to close out victory in one hour and 44 minutes.

“Marcos played a great first set and a half, but then I was able to get into the match,” assessed Troicki. “I was nervous serving out for the title but I tried not to think too much about it. The mistakes I made against Rafa (Nadal in the Tokyo semi-finals), when I served for the match but lost, helped me.”

The Belgrade native capped a strong run of form, which had seen him hold two match points in a semi-final defeat to World No. 1 Nadal in Tokyo two weeks ago, before beating third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round this week. He improved to a 34-28 match record on the season.

The No. 19-ranked Baghdatis was bidding to win his second ATP World Tour title in three finals this season. He won his fourth career trophy at the start of the year in Sydney (d. Gasquet), before finishing runner-up to David Nalbandian in Washington in August.

“I lost a lot of matches in my career, but it is frustrating to lose in a final like this,” said the Cypriot. “I thought I was in control of the first two sets. I still had a great week, played great tennis.”

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:12 PM
St Petersburg 2010

World No. 88 Mikhail Kukushkin won his maiden ATP World Tour title in his 19th main draw tour-level event Sunday as he held his nerve to defeat top seed and home favourite Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 7-6(2) in the final of the St. Petersburg Open.

The Kazakhstani became the fifth first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season, and the second in as many weeks after Serbian Viktor Troicki’s victory in Moscow last week. He is the second player from Kazakhstan to win an ATP World Tour title, following Andrey Golubev’s triumph in Hamburg in July.

"For me it’s just incredible, this feeling, because I never think that I can win a tournament right now because I was ranking around 90," said Kukushkin. "When I came here I didn’t think I can even play quarter-finals, semis here. I was just concentrating on every match.

"When I came here in the final, I know that I play against Misha Youzhny. Of course I believe in myself, but I didn’t think that I can win this title. I think right now I don’t understand what happened today. I’m in shock because I didn’t think that it’s going to happen with me, and I think I need some time to understand what happened."

Runner-up Youzhny had been hoping to turn up the heat on his London rivals by winning his third ATP World Tour title of the season. The Russian, who began the week at No. 10 in the year-to-date ATP Rankings, is bidding to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour finals for the first time.

The 22-year-old Kukushkin showed few signs of nerves in his first ATP World Tour final, racing to a one-set lead with service breaks in the fifth and ninth games. He then fought back from a break down twice in the second set before clinching victory in the tie-break after two hours and 26 minutes.

"He played at home and almost everyone in the crowd was supporting him, so of course this is giving me a lot of problems, but I’m very happy with my game and I played till the last point," said Kukushkin. "Also for me it’s the first win against a Top 10 player, and I’m so happy with that."

Kukushkin’s previous best result on the ATP World Tour had been a semi-final showing as a qualifier in Moscow last year. This year’s Bangkok quarter-finalist improved to a 17-8 match record on the season and is projected to rise to a career-high No. 58 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings.

"My next goal will be to get in the Top 50, to play good on this level, and I will try to play good in the bigger tournaments because I never played good on the Grand Slams, the Masters [1000s]," said Kukushkin. "Of course I wil try to improve my game, improve my ranking and improve my results."

The 28-year-old Youzhny dropped to a 7-10 record in ATP World Tour finals, 2-3 this season. After runner-up finishes in Rotterdam (l. to Soderling) and Dubai (l. to Djokovic) in February, the Muscovite had won titles in Munich (d. Cilic) and Kuala Lumpur (d. Golubev). He had been hoping to regain the St. Petersburg Open title he had won in 2004 (d. Beck).

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:13 PM
Vienna 2010

World No. 12 and top seed Jurgen Melzer successfully defended his title at the Bank Austria TennisTrophy Sunday after battling to a 6-7(10), 7-6(4), 6-4 victory over lucky loser Andreas Haider-Maurer in an all-Austrian final in Vienna.

"It was a very tough match for me today," said Melzer. "He was really serving well, and then at the end he was serving for the match, I was a little lucky to get back into the match. I’m really fortunate to defend my title. I’m very happy. It’s a lot of emotions going through a match like this. Winning the title, it means a lot to me."

Victory marked Melzer’s first ATP World Tour title of the season and gave a boost to his chances of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The left-hander, currently 11th in the year-to-date ATP Rankings, is chasing one of the three remaining berths in the elite eight-man field and earned 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points as champion of the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament.

Enjoying the best season of his career on both the singles and doubles courts, Melzer, who is the only player on the ATP World Tour ranked inside the Top 15 in both singles and doubles, has already qualified for the doubles year-end championships with fellow Wimbledon champion Philipp Petzschner.

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The 29-year-old Melzer was made to work hard for his third career ATP World Tour title by the No. 157-ranked Haider-Maurer, who benefitted from the withdrawal of fifth seed Ernests Gulbis before beating Thomas Muster and second seed Marin Cilic en route to his first ATP World Tour final.

The 23-year-old Haider-Maurer saved one set point before clinching a one-set lead on his fifth opportunity in a gripping first-set tie-break. He then gave himself the chance to serve for the match at 5-4 in the second set after having broken Melzer’s serve in the first game. However, nerves affected the younger Austrian and two double faults proved costly as he allowed Melzer to break back and level the match in the subsequent tie-break.

Both players saved break points in the early stages of the final set before Melzer broke through decisively in the seventh game and went on to seal victory in two hours and 47 minutes. It was the first all-Austrian final in Vienna since 1988 when Horst Skoff beat Muster.

"I’m happy with the first final, but I was up 7-6, 5-3, I served for the match," said Haider-Maurer. "I had big chances to win this title, but it’s the first time. I was a little bit nervous. Jurgen played good in this moment, and I lost."

Melzer became the first player to win back-to-back titles in the Austrian capital since Ivan Ljubicic in 2005-2006. "Playing at home is always special," he said. "Then when you actually win a tournament it’s really nice."

Haider-Maurer was bidding to become the first lucky loser to win an ATP World Tour title since Rajeev Ram triumphed in Newport in July 2009.

Despite his runner-up finish, Haider-Maurer drew positives from his performance in Vienna. "For sure I had a dream come true because now I’m near Top 100, and this is my next goal. I can learn a lot for the future and I’m happy."

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:13 PM
Montpellier 2010

Third seed Gael Monfils provided Montpellier with a French champion in its inaugural edition after defeating fourth seed Ivan Ljubicic 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 Sunday to win his third career ATP World Tour title at the Open Sud de France.

The Paris native was contesting his 12th ATP World Tour final and improved to a 3-9 record after winning his first title since Metz in September 2009. He earned 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €103,900 in prize money.

"I am so happy about this title, and it’s even more special because it is in France and in front of my crowd," said Monfils. "Today I was again very solid I think in my game, but also emotionally. I am extremely happy about the title, about my concentration throughout the week and about the level of my game. I feel I have been working on many things on and off the court and the results are now showing.

“It was a fantastic event, I really enjoyed coming to Montpellier, I felt really comfortable over here from the first day. I really hope to be able to come back next year.”

World No. 15 Monfils saved three break points and broke serve twice himself in the fourth and eighth games as he raced to a one-set lead against Ljubicic, whom he had beaten only twice in six previous meetings.

The Frenchman looked to have assumed a commanding lead in the match when he then broke serve to lead 3-1 in the second set; however Ljubicic hit back with two breaks of serve to level the encounter. Undeterred, though, Monfils reeled off five straight games at the beginning of the third set before wrapping up victory in one hour and 52 minutes.

"Today I didn’t make as many points with my serve unfortunately, which I also expected because he is a fantastic returner," reflected Ljubicic. "I think the first set was the key to the match because I had break points in almost every game and I couldn’t convert them. He started well in the second [set], but I managed somehow to come back and win the set from a break down.”

The 24-year-old Monfils improved to a 39-17 match record on the season after becoming the fourth different French player to win an ATP World Tour title this year, joining Michael Llodra, Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon. He was competing in his third ATP World Tour final of the season, after runner-up efforts in Stuttgart (l. to Montanes) and Tokyo (l. to Nadal).

World No. 17 Ljubicic dropped to a 10-13 record in ATP World Tour finals, including 3-3 in France. The 31 year old was hoping to cap his best stretch of the season by winning his second ATP World Tour title of the year, having beaten Andy Roddick to win the Indian Wells trophy in March. In the past four weeks, he has reached three ATP World Tour semi-finals.

“I played a lot these past weeks, I played many matches," said Ljubicic. "I think the match against Nieminen (in the quarter-finals) took a lot out of me this week. I would have had maybe more energy today if I had won in straight sets. But I can’t be sad, it was a fantastic week for me over here.”

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:14 PM
Valencia 2010

David Ferrer scored a huge win in his bid to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Sunday, capturing his hometown title at the Valencia Open 500 with a 7-5, 6-3 win over fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers.

Victory at the ATP World Tour 500 indoor hard-court tennis tournament gives Ferrer 200 points to add to his year-to-date total, which will see him leapfrog Basel semi-finalist Andy Roddick into seventh place in the year-to-date ATP Rankings going into the final tournament of the regular season at the BNP Paribas Masters. There are three places remaining in the elite eight-man field at the prestigious event, to be held 21-28 November at The O2 in London.

The 28-year-old Ferrer won his second ATP World Tour title from five finals this year, having also triumphed on clay in Acapulco (d. Ferrero) and finished runner-up in Buenos Aires (l. to Ferrero), Rome (l. to Nadal) and Beijing (l. to Djokovic). It was the ninth ATP World Tour title of Ferrer’s career, and his first at an indoor hard-court tournament.

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“This is one of the happiest days of my life. It's hard to find the words. It's very special and I'm very happy to win at home,” said a delighted Ferrer. “It's also very special for me as I have a good chance for London now as well. Even though I am not yet mathematically qualified, it gives me a lot of confidence.”

In the first all-Spanish indoor final on the ATP World Tour for 10 years, Ferrer squandered a chance to serve for the first set at 5-3, but made amends as he broke the Granollers serve again in the 12th game to seal a one-set lead. Ferrer then converted his only break point chance of the second set in the second game and went on to claim victory in one hour and 49 minutes.

“It was a very tough match today,” reflected Ferrer. “I returned very well, got one break in the second set. There were a lot of great rallies and tough points.”

The Valencia resident also captured his local title in 2008 (d. Almagro), when it was a spring clay-court event, and finished runner-up in 2005 (l. to Andreev). He has a 17-4 event record.

Watch Post-Match Interviews: Ferrer | Granollers

Lucky loser Granollers benefitted from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s withdrawal and dropped only one set as he advanced to his second career ATP World Tour final (1-1 record). He is the second lucky loser in two weeks to reach an ATP World Tour final, following Andreas Haider-Maurer’s runner-up effort in Vienna last week, and was bidding to become the first one to win a title since Rajeev Ram in Newport in July 2009.

Currently No. 67 in the South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, Granollers will rise to around No. 45 (just one below his career-high placing) on Monday.

“Unfortunately I lost today, but it was still a great week and I'm very happy,” said Granollers. “It was a good match, but David was very solid and he played better than me today. Still, it's been a good week and I'd like to continue like this. Getting to the final of a 500 tournament gives me a lot of confidence for the future.”

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:15 PM
Basel 2010

World No. 2 Roger Federer won his hometown title at the Swiss Indoors Basel for a record fourth time as he avenged his 2009 final defeat to Novak Djokovic with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory over the Serb in Sunday’s final.

"It’s obviously a beautiful moment. It’s always very emotional and just a good feeling; I’m very happy," said Federer. "I’ve had a great history here. I can’t believe I’ve been in the final so many times and I’ve won already four times. I couldn’t be more happy today."

Basel-born Federer captured his 65th career tour-level title, taking him to fourth place on the Open Era Singles Titles List, one ahead of American Pete Sampras. It was the Swiss No. 1’s fourth title of the season, adding to triumphs at the Australian Open (d. Murray), Cincinnati (d. Fish) and Stockholm (d. Mayer) two weeks ago. He is the third player this year to win four tour-level titles, following Rafael Nadal (7) and Sam Querrey (4).

"I have to back it up [in London] now. I’ve played three straight finals in a row; I’ve won titles back-to-back in Stockholm and Basel," said Federer. "Now I have a couple of days off and a travel day as well to get to Paris and play well there and it’s only then that the focus will really shift to London. I’d like to keep it up and play well in Paris and see how it goes from there.”

Watch Final Highlights | Watch Federer Interview

Top seed Federer made a fast start to his 18th meeting with Djokovic and broke serve in the third game as he quickly wrapped up a one-set lead. The second-seeded Djokovic was quick to respond, though, breaking Federer’s serve for just the second time this week in the second game of the second set to level the match.

Riding an eight-match winning streak, though, the confident Federer kept his focus in the deciding set and from 1-1 won five successive games to seal victory in just under two hours. Since squandering two match points in a five-set defeat to Djokovic in the US Open semi-finals, Federer has beaten the Belgrade native twice, also in the Shanghai semi-finals, and extended his career-lead in their head-to-head series to 12-6.

"Today obviously was the most dangerous match [of the week], I was playing the best player in the tournament," reflected Federer. "I had a tough final last year, pretty similar to this one this year, but it just went my way in the third set. We always play very athletic against one another, I always think it’s really close, they can go either way, so I’m happy I won the last three of the four. I had match point [against him] at the US Open and that one hurt, but look, this one makes up for it big time."

The 29-year-old Federer improved to a 38-7 record in Basel, where he once served as a ball boy, and has won 24 of his past 25 matches at the ATP World Tour 500 indoor hard-court tennis tournament. He won three successive titles from 2006-2008 before finishing runner-up to Djokovic last year; he also reached the final in 2000-2001.

World No. 3 Djokovic was contesting his fourth tour-level final of the season and dropped to a 2-2 mark; he won the titles in Dubai (d. Youzhny) and Beijing (d. Ferrer) and finished runner-up to Nadal in his third Grand Slam final at the US Open.

“Overall it was a good week," reflected Djokovic. "The only thing today, which I think was bad, was the third set. I lost a little bit of balance and a little bit of focus and in a split second I was already 5-1 down and there was no way back. I’d definitely like to congratulate Roger; he was the better player today. It was a great atmosphere, it’s always a packed house here, especially the last couple of days of the tournament.

“I like playing here. I’ve had a lot of success in these two years and hopefully I’ll come back next year. It’s a great tournament and it would be a pleasure to play here in 2011.”

Both the 23-year-old Djokovic and Federer have secured their places in the eight-man field at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 21-28 November.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:16 PM
Paris Indoors 2010

Robin Soderling will go into the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals as one of the favourites after winning his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy Sunday with a 6-1, 7-6(1) victory over French contender Gael Monfils in the final of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris-Bercy.

Soderling received 1000 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points as champion and consequently will rise to a career-high World No. 4 on Monday, replacing Great Britain’s Andy Murray. The Tibro native is the first Swede to win one of the coveted ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies since Thomas Enqvist defeated Tim Henman in the 2000 Cincinnati final.

“It feels great,” declared two-time Roland Garros runner-up Soderling. “I don't have a very good record in finals, and especially here in Paris. I lost two finals at Roland Garros. Of course it's great to reach the final in a Grand Slam and also in a Masters 1000, but I think a final is that one match you really want to win. I'm really happy that I played well today, and now I'm here winning the title.

“When I won that last point, I just felt so happy and I felt so relieved. I really wanted to win this match so much.”

The 26-year-old Soderling endured a tough road to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final and became the fifth player this year to win an ATP World Tour title after being match point down, having saved three match points against Michael Llodra in the semi-finals.

Against Monfils in the final, Soderling overcame his nerves to race to a one-set lead, only dropping six points on his serve and breaking Monfils’ serve twice in the 26-minute opener. Monfils raised his level for a more even contest in the second set, but in the decisive tie-break Soderling quickly seized the initiative and claimed victory in 77 minutes.

“I was extremely nervous before this match,” confessed Soderling. “I didn't sleep much at all last night. I really wanted to do well today, and I'm really happy the way I started the match. I came out playing really well.

“Then after the first set it was a little bit easier for me, even though he started to play a little bit better. I was a bit more relaxed and I was going for my shots. At the end I think I played a really good tie-break. I'm really happy that I played my best tennis when it really matters.”

Soderling won his second ATP World Tour title of the season and the sixth of his career. Earlier this season, he had triumphed at the indoor event in Rotterdam and reached the Roland Garros final for the second year in a row, losing out to Rafael Nadal. He also finished runner-up on clay in Barcelona and Bastad and has compiled a 56-20 match record.

World No. 14 Monfils was through to the Paris-Bercy final for the second straight year after recording one of the best wins of his career in the semi-finals by saving five match points to defeat No. 2 Roger Federer. He lost out in a third-set tie-break to Novak Djokovic last year.

"I'm in a learning process. Every time I get to a final like this something goes wrong, and this time it was the preparation. I had to rush too much," lamented Monfils. "And also, at one stage in the match I tried to change my plan. I should maybe not have done that and keep with simple things. But I like all this, because it shows that when I will finally win my first [Masters 1000] final, it means I did everything right.

"Yesterday I used up a lot of energy, and today I wasn't able to find the extra stamina that I would have needed to be more competitive."

The 24 year old was bidding to become the fifth different Frenchman to win an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title (since 1990) and dropped to a 3-10 lifetime mark in ATP World Tour finals. Two weeks ago he won his third title indoors in Montpellier (d. Ljubicic). The Paris native will likely close his season in three weeks time if he is called upon to represent France in the Davis Cup final against Serbia in Belgrade.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:17 PM
Atp World Tour Finals 2010

World No. 2 Roger Federer won his fifth title at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday when he defeated Rafael Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in a gripping finale at The O2 in London.

The Swiss also won the coveted year-end championships in 2003 (d. Agassi) and 2004 (d. Hewitt) in Houston and again in 2006 (d. Blake) and 2007 (d. Ferrer) in Shanghai. He was also the runner-up in 2005 and has compiled a staggering 34-7 event record. He is the third player in the tournament’s 41-year history to win the title five times, joining Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras.

As the undefeated champion of the world’s biggest indoor tennis tournament, Federer received 1,500 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and the maximum amount of $1,630,000 in prize money. It is the fourth time that he has been crowned the undefeated champion at the season finale, having dropped only one set this week.

It was the first time for 24 years that the Top 2 players on the ATP World Tour had contested the title match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. In 1986, No. 1 Ivan Lendl defeated No. 2 Boris Becker. Federer recorded his eighth win in 22 career meetings with Nadal (Nadal leads 14-8); he also defeated the Spaniard at the season finale in the semi-finals in 2006 and 2007. He came into the match having lost six of his past seven matches with the Spaniard.

"I always believed in a plan from start to finish," said Federer. "Like at the first match I came out and played against [David] Ferrer, I think I always stayed true to how I wanted to play. It was the same thing today. Even though I lost the second set, I'm really happy the way I stayed positive throughout the match today. I thought it was clearly a very high level. I don't know if I could have played any better, so I'm really pleased.

"It was interesting the way he played. But I stayed offensive. I knew in the long run that could be vital, which it was at the end, so I'm very happy."

Nadal was full of praise for the Swiss. "He played unbelievable," said the Spaniard. "He was unplayable I think in this first set. I just can congratulate him for his victory and another great tournament for him. He played unbelievable during all the week without losing a set, being in the final. So his level was very high. I tried my best this afternoon, but he was better than me."

Such was the excitement surrounding a Federer-Nadal finale at The O2 that the 17,500 Centre Court crowd featured many celebrities, including footballing legend Diego Maradona, Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, American actor Kevin Spacey, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York.

Federer struck the first blow in the contest, breaking serve with an angled backhand winner crosscourt to lead 5-3 in the first set. After conceding the opener, Nadal fought back strongly, breaking serve in the fourth game of the second set before going on to level the match with a sliced backhand past the net-rushing Federer. The Spaniard was powerless against Federer’s brilliance in the final set, though, and the Swiss broke serve twice to seal victory in one hour and 37 minutes.

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The 29-year-old Federer came into the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on a red-hot run of form that had seen him lose just two matches since squandering two match points in a five-set defeat to Novak Djokovic in the US Open semi-finals. His 21 victories since then is the highest number of wins he has ever recorded post the US Open.

The Basel native won his fifth tour-level title of the year, and the 66th of his career. By winning his 16th Grand Slam singles crown at the Australian Open (d. Murray) in January, Federer opened and closed his season with two of the game’s biggest titles for the fourth time. He also bookended his 2004, 2006 and 2007 seasons with victories at the Australian Open and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Federer’s three other titles this season came at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati (d. Fish), the If Stockholm Open (d. Mayer) and the Swiss Indoors Basel (d. Djokovic). He closes 2010 with a 65-13 match record and will finish in the Top 2 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings for a record eighth-straight year.

The 24-year-old Nadal commented before the tournament that it would be tougher for him to win the season finale than to win a Grand Slam championship, and it proved to be the case for the left-hander, despite an unbeaten run to his first final. In the semi-finals he contested one of the best matches of the season with British favourite Andy Murray, before prevailing in a third-set tie-break.

Defeat in the final for Nadal brings the curtain down on what has been one of the finest seasons by any player in the Open Era (since 1968). The Mallorcan has won seven tour-level titles from nine finals, with his triumphs including three successive Grand Slam championships at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open, and a clean sweep of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournaments. He closes with a 71-10 match record.

The total attendance for the tournament was 253,123.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:19 PM
Davis Cup 2010

Serbia has been crowned Davis Cup champion for the first time after Viktor Troicki produced a stunning display to defeat France’s Michael Llodra 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 in the deciding fifth rubber in Belgrade Sunday.

“I’m in shock, after the last shot I couldn’t believe this happened,” said Troicki on court. “I think for the next few days I’ll still feel a little bit different. Maybe in five days I’ll feel the real feeling of winning the Davis Cup. This is the most intense pressure ever in my life and to win it in front of the home crowd is the best possible way. It’s unbelievable.”

Earlier, World No. 3 Novak Djokovic had kept alive Serbia’s hopes as he defeated French No. 1 Gael Monfils 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to level the final at 2-2. “It was an unbelievable emotion, under the circumstances with the huge pressure, I played an amazing match,” said Djokovic. “Everything was working for me today.”

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In celebration of becoming the 13th nation to win the Davis Cup title, all of the Serbian team had their heads shaved on court prior to the trophy presentation.

“I want to congratulate my team they played very good, especially this third day, hopefully we’ll play again like this next year,” said team captain Bogdan Obradovic.

Djokovic was quick to dominate Monfils in the baseline rallies and did not relent throughout the first set, keeping the Frenchman under constant pressure and drawing inevitable errors to break serve twice and take the first set 6-2.

Monfils continued to impose himself on Djokovic from the back of the court in the second set, all too often finishing second-best in their lengthy, athletic exchanges, and the Serbian broke serve in the sixth and eighth games to take a commanding two-set lead.

Perhaps inspired by his teammates’ fight back in the doubles a day earlier, Monfils took the match to Djokovic in the third set and twice led by a break of serve. However, Djokovic channeled his frustration into aggression in his game and was able to recoup the breaks both times to lead 5-4. In the 10th game a costly double fault from Monfils gave Djokovic two match points and the Serbian converted his second as Monfils netted a backhand.

World No. 30 Troicki was then tasked with facing the in-form Llodra, who had not lost a Davis Cup rubber in 2010, including victory over Troicki in Saturday’s doubles rubber. The 24-year-old Belgrade native was unfazed, though, and made a dream start to the match, breaking serve twice to race to a one-set lead.

Llodra looked set to stage a fight back in the second set as he secured an early break of serve, but the Frenchman was exposed at the net in the following game as Troicki immediately broke back. It sparked a run of eight straight games for the Serbian, who caused endless problems for Llodra with his exceptional return of serve and passing shots throughout the match.

Troicki put his foot down in the third set and quickly established a double break advantage as Llodra double faulted on break points in the first and fifth games. The Frenchman put forward one last effort to derail Troicki, chipping and charging to great effect to recoup one of the service breaks in the sixth game.

Troicki held strong in the closing stages, though, and more impressive returning from the right-hander earned him two match points in the ninth game. He converted his second chance with a backhand cross-court return winner to clinch victory in two hours and 13 minutes.

Chirag
12-04-2010, 03:24 PM
That takes care for 2010 season fro all but 2 which will be taken care of by tomorrow :)

Now onto the 2011 season :)

Chirag
01-09-2011, 03:43 PM
Doha 2011

World No. 2 Roger Federer reclaimed the Qatar ExxonMobil Open trophy Saturday as he dethroned defending champion Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament in Doha.

The Swiss player captured the title for the third time, following back-to-back triumphs in 2005 (d. Ljubicic) and 2006 (d. Monfils), making him the first three-time winner in tournament history (since 1993). Victory marked 67 tour-level titles from 95 finals for the 29 year old, who received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and $177,000 in prize money. It is the 11th straight year that he has won an ATP World Tour title.

Victory in Doha gives Federer the best possible preparation for the Australian Open, which begins in just over a week’s time in Melbourne. The Basel native is the defending champion in Melbourne and is looking to add to his record tally of 16 Grand Slam singles titles.

"This is important to do well here," said Federer. "I'm not just using this to get ready for the Australian Open. This is a pleasure coming to this part of the world where I actually do spend quite a bit of time, and I've always had good friends here in Qatar. I love playing here, been successful here in the past."

The second-seeded Federer has been nigh on impenetrable on serve this week, only being broken once in 42 service games to reach the final, and was just as impressive against Davydenko. The Swiss did not face a break point against the Russian and won 79 per cent of points behind his first serve.

Federer made a fast start to the match, racing to a 3-0 lead, and despite missing six set point chances on Davydenko’s in the eighth game, confidently closed out the opener on serve. Davydenko was forced to produce close to his best tennis to stay level with Federer in the second set, but his resistance crumbled in the ninth game as Federer broke to love before wrapping up victory in 79 minutes. He improved to a 23-3 event record.

"When he's on, he's easily Top 10 if not Top 5 potentially, and that's why this is obviously a huge win, because I thought he was playing well," declared Federer. "I thought the level of play was extremely high. I was very happy with, from my side, I was almost flawless, and I was able to play offensive when I needed to, and when I wanted to it all worked out. So I'm really pleased with such a great final."

“Today he was tough. Really played fast," lamented Davydenko, who dropped to a 2-15 record against Federer. "He gave me no chance on the return, and also he was returning good. His first serve was very good. My tennis is OK, really. I don't want to say I played bad today."

The 29-year-old Davydenko was bidding to complete the Federer-Nadal double to capture the Doha title for the second year in a row, having ousted World No. 1 Nadal in the semi-finals yesterday. Last year he defeated Federer in the semi-finals before saving two match points to overcome Nadal in the final and win his 20th ATP World Tour title.

Davydenko looks to have made a welcome return to form just in time for the Australian Open, where he reached the quarter-finals (l. to Federer) for the fourth time last year. After his strong start to the 2010 season, the Russian was sidelined for three months after fracturing his left wrist in February, and struggled to regain his best form for the remainder of the season.

Chirag
01-09-2011, 03:44 PM
Brisbane 2011

Top seed Robin Soderling denied Andy Roddick's quest for back-to-back titles with a 6-3, 7-5 win over the American in the Brisbane International final Sunday. The victory elevated the power-hitting Swede back to his career-high mark of No. 4 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings.

“I’m playing really well and it makes me really happy," declared Soderling. "I’ve never really played well in Australia before and now finally I won a tournament playing really good tennis. It gives me a lot of confidence for Melbourne.

"I’ve had the best possible preparation I could have with five good matches here, now I’ll have a week of rest and practice in Melbourne and I’ll be more than ready to go. I know I have a chance to do really well if I play good tennis like here.”

Watch Video: Match Highlights | Interviews

Soderling won his seventh career title but just his second title outdoors. (Although the Pat Rafter arena is largely covered by a roof to shade spectators, the event is an outdoor event.)

The Swede did not face a break point in the match and won 35 of 39 first serve points. In contrast, he earned 10 break point chances on the Roddick serve, converting once in each set.

“I think I served really well and I played really well again," said Soderling. "The last two matches have been my best ones in this tournament. Today the conditions were a little tougher than the other days, it was a bit windy and the rain came on the court a little bit, but I think it was a great match."

Soderling did not drop a set en route to the title and was broken just once in the tournament (by Stepanek in the semi-finals). Last year Soderling captured two ATP World Tour titles in five finals, including his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in Paris (d. Monfils). He now has a 7-10 career mark in finals.

Roddick, who hit 12 aces in the final for a tournament tally of 54, announced after the match that he would double the $100 he previously pledged for each ace hit to benefit Queensland flood relief efforts. Roddick will donate $10,800 to flood victims.

DEUCE: Roddick As Hungry As Ever

“He served great. Conditions were heavy and he served through it better," admitted Roddick. "I think that was the difference; I wasn’t able to get into any return games and he got into two and was able to break in those.

“I don’t think the conditions will be similar to this in Melbourne. But all you can ask for is getting in five good matches, that’s what you want after a lay-off. It didn’t go my way today, but overall I feel like I should be prepared for Melbourne.

"I felt like I hit the ball well this week, I returned pretty well. I think I could serve a little better, but if there’s one thing that I don’t worry about as much as the rest when it’s not going well it’s my serve. I feel comfortable and feel like I got what I needed out of this week.”

Chirag
01-09-2011, 03:45 PM
Chennai 2011

A year on from finishing runner-up in the Aircel Chennai Open final, World No.21 Stanislas Wawrinka went one better as he won his third ATP World Tour title with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 victory over 2007 champion Xavier Malisse on Sunday.

As victor of the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament, Wawrinka received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and $68,450 in prize money. It was his first victory at a hard-court tournament, with his two previous titles coming on clay in Umag (2006) and Casablanca (2010).

"I'm more than happy, it was a perfect week,” declared Wawrinka. “I improved my game day after day and finished with a great match. It's amazing to have the trophy today. It's a perfect start to the year. I have one week to be ready for the Australian Open and this will give me a lot of confidence for the first Grand Slam.”

In his first meeting with the No. 60-ranked Malisse, the third-seeded Wawrinka recovered from a 2-4 deficit in the first set to win five of the next six games and clinch the opener. Malisse again earned an early break in the second set, though, and only dropped one more point on serve in the remainder of the set as he fought back to level the match.

However, the Belgian could not maintain his high serving standard in the deciding set, only making 40 per cent of first serves and surrendering 11 of 20 points. In contrast, Wawrinka won 16 of 17 points behind his delivery and broke serve in the second and sixth games to wrap up victory in two hours and 14 minutes.

"Malisse played really good and it was tough to find a solution to win because he was moving well and playing aggressively,” reflected Wawrinka. “After the second set, I could see that he got a bit tired so I tried to maintain my game. Today the key of the match was that I stayed aggressive in the third set."

"It's always disappointing when you don't win a final,” lamented Malisse. “But it's not like I played bad, he played really well. My first serve let me down a bit in the third [set]. He got more free points in the third which makes a big difference after two long sets.”

The 30-year-old Malisse was contesting his first ATP World Tour final in four years, since winning the Chennai (d. Koubek) and Delray Beach (d. Blake) titles in early 2007. The Belgian dropped to an 11-2 record in Chennai.

“I played well all week so I have to be happy,” said Malisse. “It feels really good to be back in a final after four years. I'm just happy to be healthy and to be on the court and playing well."

Chirag
01-20-2011, 04:48 AM
Auckland 2011

World No. 7 David Ferrer won his 10th ATP World Tour title on the eve of the Australian Open as he halted David Nalbandian’s hot streak in Auckland with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over the Argentine in the final of the Heineken Open on Saturday.

Four years ago at the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Auckland, the 28-year-old Ferrer won his first ATP World Tour hard-court title with victory over Tommy Robredo.

“It’s very special,” declared Ferrer. “When I won here [in 2007] it was my first hard court title and to win it for a second time four years later is special because it’s more difficult now with the pressure and expectation. I like a lot to play the second week of the season here; I like the tournament a lot, the people support me a lot.

“Of course I am with confidence after winning a tournament; the next tournament I will go in with confidence in my game and my mentality,” added the Spaniard, who faces Jarkko Nieminen in the first round of the Australian Open.

The top seeded Ferrer was strong on serve throughout the week, holding 93 per cent of his service games in the lead up to the final, and he continued that trend against Nalbandian, saving all three break points he faced. In overturning a three-match losing streak against the Argentine, Ferrer broke serve three times from five opportunities and wrapped up victory in 68 minutes.

“I think David did not have a good day,” admitted Ferrer. “He played a little bit badly in the second set. Maybe it was the key in the first set at 3-3 when I went a break up and won the set. He lost concentration. I thought I played very consistently and I did my job.”

Nalbandian added, “He played better than me. I had some chances in the beginning of the first set, but couldn’t take them. Sometimes I missed easy shots and I tried risks that didn’t work.

As champion, Ferrer received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and $72,600. He improved to a 10-10 record in ATP World Tour finals, having added to his two triumphs at Acapulco and Valencia in 2010.

World No. 27 Nalbandian had not dropped a set on an impressive run through to the final, which included the dismissal of second seed Nicolas Almagro in the semi-finals. The 29-year-old Argentine, who was bidding for his 12th ATP World Tour title, will face Lleyton Hewitt in a blockbuster first round at the Australian Open.

“I think it was a very good week,” reflected Nalbandian. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you play good and lose, sometimes you play bad and win. Sport is like that. Today I lost. I will try to play better every day.”

Chirag
01-20-2011, 04:49 AM
Sydney 2011

World No. 41 Gilles Simon won his eighth ATP World Tour title as he defeated Serbian Viktor Troicki 7-5, 7-6(4) Saturday to win the Medibank International Sydney.

Simon was contesting his first ATP World Tour final in Australia and improved to an 8-2 finals record. He is the first French winner in Sydney since Guy Forget lifted the trophy in 1991 (d. Stich).

“It's always good to win the tournament,” said Simon. “I mean, you never know if you're going to win more after, so I enjoy it every time. It's nice also for me to win here, to win some different tournaments. It's a tournament I like to play.”

Watch Simon Interview

The 26 year old raced to victory at the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament without the loss of a set, including victory over No. 3 seed Ernests Gulbis in the semi-finals. He received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and $77,000 in prize money.

Having only returned from a right knee injury in mid-June last season, former World No. 6 Simon was pleased with his improved form.

“In tennis it's always a matter of confidence,” said the Frenchman. “I could see tonight I was playing very nice tennis, but I played some bad games at the beginning of the second set. I wasn't doing it two years ago. I think it will come back with the match and with the victory. So that's why it's very good to win here.”

Breaks were exchanged early in the first set before Simon earned four set points on Troicki’s serve in the 10th game. The fourth-seeded Troicki managed to pull through his service game, but his resistance crumbled in the 12th game as Simon converted his sixth set point to win the opener.

Troicki raced to a 3-0 double break lead in the second set. He could not maintain his advantage, though, as Simon reeled off four straight games. Troicki broke again in the 11th game to serve for the set, but Simon again fought back to level and the Frenchman clinched victory in the deciding tie-break in just under two hours.

“We were playing very nice tennis from the baseline, and it was a real fight,” reflected Simon. “I'm just happy to win it, because Viktor is playing better and better week after week. That's very good for me to be feeling now, because I know that he's playing good and I know that I'm able to defeat him even when he's playing good. So it's good for my confidence.”

Victory for Simon marked five wins out of five for the Frenchman against Troicki and went some way to avenging France’s loss to Serbia in the Davis Cup final last month, when Troicki won the deciding fifth rubber against Michael Llodra.

Simon goes into the Australian Open unseeded and will face Yen-Hsun Lu in the first round, with a likely meeting with defending champion Roger Federer in the second round.

The No. 30-ranked Troicki was chasing his second ATP World Tour title from his fourth final; he won his maiden crown in Moscow (d. Baghdatis) last year. The Belgrade native, who opened the season with a quarter-final showing in Doha (l. to Federer), will face Russian Dmitry Tursunov in the first round in Melbourne and could test World No. 3 and countryman Novak Djokovic in the third round.

“Right now I feel bit disappointed, but definitely it was a good week,” admitted Troicki. “Also a good match tonight. I feel I had a lot of chances that I didn't use, and obviously Gilles doesn't suit my game. For the past five matches already I haven't been able to figure out how to win a set.

“I hope I continue to play good in Melbourne. I play my first round already on Monday. I hope I get ready for that match.”

Chirag
01-31-2011, 11:33 AM
AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2011

ATP World Tour No. 3 Novak Djokovic captured his second Grand Slam championship trophy on Sunday evening in Melbourne as he produced a devastating display to beat Great Britain’s Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 in the Australian Open final.

"[Winning a] Davis Cup title and another Grand Slam title. I'm living the dream of a tennis player, definitely," declared Djokovic. "I have been more focused and dedicated to the sport than I have ever been before. To be able to win in straight sets against a player like Andy Murray in the finals of Grand Slam, it makes my success even bigger."

The 23-year-old Serbian won his first major title three years ago when he defeated Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Melbourne. He is the 13th man in the Open Era to win multiple Australian Open titles.

Djokovic improved to a 2-2 record in Grand Slam finals. Prior to both his Australian Open triumphs he had finished runner-up at the US Open, losing out to Roger Federer in his first major final in 2007 and falling to Rafael Nadal last year.

Defeat for Murray marked his third defeat in three Grand Slam finals. The 23-year-old Scot was beaten by Federer in the 2008 US Open final and fell again to the Swiss in the championship match at Melbourne Park last year. The Dunblane native was bidding to become the first British male to win a Grand Slam championship since Fred Perry at the 1936 US Open.

How The Final Was Won

Reaction: Murray Vows To Keep Working Hard

Reaction: Djokovic Eager For More Success

"It's better than it was last year," said Murray on his feelings after the match. "It was obviously tough, disappointing. I thought Novak played unbelievably well. It's tough, but got to deal with it. Anyone who played in three finals would have loved to have won one. But I haven't. I just need to keep working hard and try and do it."

Speaking about Murray, whom he has known since they were teenagers, Djokovic commented, "I really have big respect for him and his game, because I think he has everything what it takes to become a Grand Slam champion. I'm sure that very soon he will be."

After reaching the US Open final in September, and saving two match points to beat Federer in the semi-finals in New York, Djokovic went on to have a strong finish to the 2010 ATP World Tour season, highlighted by leading Serbia to victory in the Davis Cup final.

Riding that wave of confidence, the Belgrade native has torn through the Australian Open draw over the past fortnight, dropping only one set en route to the title, including a straight-sets dismissal of Federer in the semi-finals. Djokovic has now won 19 tour-level titles, with 15 of those trophies coming on hard court – the fourth most hard-court titles among active players.

Watch Highlights | Watch Interviews

"This was a great match. From the start to the last point, I did what I intended of doing tactically, what I talked with my coach, what I prepared for," said Djokovic "It's the best way that I could ask for to start a season. Both of those guys [Federer and Murray] play their best tennis on the hard courts, as well as I do. But to be able to win against those players in straight sets is incredible.

"During this tournament I was feeling great on the court," added the Serb. "The Davis Cup win may have a big role in my great performance here in this tournament. After we won Davis Cup title I was feeling great on the court, just eager to compete."

Murray had impressed on his route through the draw, not dropping a set until the quarter-finals and battling past World No. 7 David Ferrer in the semi-finals. However, the Scot was hindered by committing 47 unforced errors in his eighth meeting with Djokovic, and, in turn, the Serb produced a blistering display as he dominated the baseline rallies and broke serve seven times from 18 opportunities to prevail in two hours and 39 minutes.

"I would have liked to have played better," confessed Murray. "But I think he would have beaten every other player on the tour if he played like that tonight. He served well. He didn't make many mistakes from the back of the court. He moved really, really well. He hit the ball very clean.

"I look at the tournament as a whole, it was excellent. I don't think anyone would say that reaching a slam final is a bad achievement. It's a very, very good achievement. I'll be very happy with the way the tournament went. But I would have obviously liked to have gone one step further."

Chirag
02-07-2011, 04:39 AM
CHILE 2011

Spaniard Tommy Robredo staged a successful comeback in the Movistar Open final, preventing first-time ATP World Tour finalist Santiago Giraldo of Colombia from serving out the match before prevailing 6-2, 2-6, 7-6(5) on Sunday in Santiago.

Robredo, a former World No. 5, claimed his 10th ATP World Tour title and his first since winning back-to-back crowns at Costa do Sauipe and Buenos Aires during the 2009 ‘Golden Swing’. Nine of his 10 ATP World Tour titles have come on clay courts.

FedEx Reliability Zone:
52-Week Clay-Court Records

“Extremely happy about this 10th title,” said Robredo, who earned 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and $68,850. “Ten is a very nice number and it feels good to lift the trophy again.”

Sixth seed Robredo came out with confidence in his 17th tour-level final, winning six straight games to go up a set and a break. Giraldo finally stemmed Robredo’s run as he recovered the service break in the second game, and broke the Spaniard two more times in the set – drawing level when Robredo double-faulted on set point.

The eighth-seeded Giraldo broke for a 3-2 lead in the third set, but failed to serve out the match as Robredo got back on serve at 5-4. Robredo was unable to convert on a break point chance at 5-all, but clinched the win in the tie-break on his second match point opportunity.

“When he served at 5-3 in the third, he started being less aggressive and put the ball more in play which allowed me to play longer and get into the court again,” said Robredo. “He was hitting really hard until then and it was really tough to put my game together.”

Robredo, 28, had dropped to a No. 40 ranking coming into this year’s Movistar Open after winning a total of 20 matches last season – his fewest since 2000. He has a 9-2 record through the first five weeks of the 2011 season, including his fourth-round run at the Australian Open (l. to Federer).

“I feel I started the year well. I am feeling great. It gives me a lot of hope to continue this way,” he said. “I think I can have the best or one of the best years in my career in 2011.”

Robredo next heads to the Brasil Open in Costa do Sauipe, where he faces Italian Fabio Fognini, whom he defeated in three sets in the Santiago semi-finals.

“The plan is now to get to Sauipe as soon as possible and to try to get used to the conditions before playing my first round,” said Robredo. “When you do well at one event it means you have less time to adapt in the next one. I hope I can do well still over there.”

World No. 54 Giraldo, who is off to a career-best 10-4 start, was looking to become the first Colombian to claim an ATP World Tour title since 1995 when Mauricio Hadad won in Bermuda.

“I am a bit disappointed as I served for the match at 5-3,” said the 23 year old. “I think my lack of experience played a part at that time. I maybe got a bit tense and it went against me. On the other hand, I am very happy about the match we played. I gave everything I had, I played with all my heart and, in the end, Tommy won the match and was the better player.

“I’ve had a great week over here and I hope to continue this way.”

Chirag
02-07-2011, 04:40 AM
ZAGRAB 2011

Ivan Dodig ensured the PBZ Zagreb Indoors trophy remained in Croatian hands for the third straight year as he won his first ATP World Tour title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over eighth seed Michael Berrer in Sunday’s final at the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tennis tournament.

The 26-year-old Dodig had failed to reach the semi-finals of an ATP World Tour event prior to his giant-killing run in Zagreb, which saw him beat No. 2 seed and 2006 champion Ivan Ljubicic in the quarter-finals followed by No. 3 seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the semi-finals. The Croatian received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and €72,600.

“This is the best thing that can happen to a player - to play at home in front of your own crowd and win your first title," declared Dodig. "I’m really happy and enjoying the moment. It’s been amazing all week; it’s an unbelievable experience.

"I didn’t have any pressure, I just tried to concentrate on my tennis and play point by point until the last point. I think I was serving very well all week, especially on the important points. I’m really happy that my serve was working great in every match."

The unseeded Dodig made a fast start to the match, breaking serve in the second game as he clinched the opening set in 38 minutes. After saving four break points in a lengthy fourth game of the second set, Dodig then broke through in the seventh game before saving one more break point as he served out victory after one hour and 38 minutes. The Zagreb resident struck 16 aces and saved seven break points in total.

The No. 84-ranked Dodig compiled his first Top 100 (No. 88) finish on the ATP World Tour last season and was the only player to take a set off eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Australian Open this year. He improved to a 7-2 mark on the season.

Germany’s Berrer suffered disappointment in the Zagreb final for the second year in a row, having finished runner-up to Marin Cilic in his maiden ATP World Tour final last year. The 30 year old had advanced to the final without the loss of a set, including victory over fifth seed Florian Mayer in the semi-finals.

"My performance wasn’t as stable as earlier in the week and I gave him two easy breaks of serve," lamented Berrer. "I don’t think I played that good today – it was probably the worst match I played all week. But he played at a good level. He was serving like his mentor Goran [Ivanisevic]! It was difficult for me today. Whenever I had a break point he came out with some great serving.

“I’m looking forward to coming back – as they say, all good things come in three, so hopefully it will be third time lucky next year.”

Chirag
02-07-2011, 04:41 AM
JOHANNESBURG 2011

Fourth seed Kevin Anderson captured his maiden ATP World Tour title at his hometown event on Sunday as he came from a set down to defeat India’s Somdev Devvarman 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the SA Tennis Open in Johannesburg.

Afterwards, during the trophy presentation ceremony, Anderson announced he would donate R5,000 to the Save The Rhino campaign to stop the poaching of rhinos in Africa. As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament, Anderson received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and $76,500.

Anderson, the top-ranked South African player on the ATP World Tour at No. 59 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, is the first player from his country to win an ATP World Tour title since Wesley Moodie triumphed at Tokyo in October 2005.

“There’s so many emotions running round right now," said Anderson. "Not only winning a tour title, but winning it here in South Africa is a great experience and memory I’ll have for the rest of my life. I’m just really thankful that I was able to come out and play here.

“Hopefully I can keep going and keep getting better. I’m going to keep working hard. There’s still a lot I want to achieve. It’s a great honour being mentioned with the Wayne Ferreiras of South African tennis; it’s definitely an exciting prospect for me."

Playing Devvarman for the second time, Anderson recovered from an early 1-3 deficit, but was broken again in the seventh game as the unseeded Indian took the first set. However, Anderson hit back in the second set with a break of serve in the sixth game before reeling off five straight games from 1-2 in the third set to wrap up victory in two hours and 19 minutes.

Afterwards, Anderson admitted that a lengthy rain delay after just three games in the first set helped to settle his nerves. "I think the rain played a little part in helping me re-focus and re-set and I really felt I came out there a different person. Even though I lost the first set, I was able to turn things around and play really good in the second and third sets."

The 24-year-old Anderson clinched his first ATP World Tour title in his second final, having finished runner-up in Las Vegas (l. to Querrey) in March 2008. The 6'8" right-hander has made a career-best start to the season, also reaching the semi-finals in Brisbane (l. to Roddick) in the first week of the year.

World No. 110 Devvarman was also bidding to win his first ATP World Tour title and dropped to a 0-2 record in finals, having also finished runner-up to Marin Cilic in Chennai two years ago. The 25 year old hit form this week, having failed to win a tour-level match in 2011 prior to his run in Johannesburg.

“I felt I was very comfortable in the first set, obviously," reflected Devvarman. "But in the middle of the second set, when I lost serve there, I think that was the turning point for sure because up till that point I felt I was more comfortable. I felt I had had more chances on his serve than he had on mine. Once you give a good player like Kevin [that] kind of confidence and advantage, it’s always tough to come back, especially with the way he serves.

“It’s disappointing that I lost, but it’s exciting because I see a lot of areas in my game that can improve. So I’m going to go back to the drawing board and try and get better."

Chirag
02-13-2011, 04:21 PM
BRASIL OPEN 2011

Top-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro has claimed his second Brasil Open title in Costa do Sauipe to add to his 2008 victory after a close straight-sets win over Ukrainian No. 4 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 7-6(3). The Spaniard did not face a break point and dropped only three points on his first serve in the opening set.

“The truth is that it was a beautiful final, a final that I was very happy to be part of," Almagro said. "It’s clear that the tournament is a very important one not only for me but here in all of Brasil and I’ve been lucky enough to win it twice and I will continue to try my best in the future here.”

While their head-to-head was 1-1 going into the final, Dolgopolov, of the Ukraine, had won their previous meeting in a third-set tie-break in Shanghai last year. But Almagro won their only prior meeting on clay, in the third round of Roland Garros last year. Despite the loss, Dolgopolov’s appearance in his first ATP World Tour final this week is likely to take him to a new career-high mark in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings and possibly to within the Top 30. In his last outing, he reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.

Dolgopolov said: "I think I played well during the whole tournament, of course the final didn't go my way but Nicolas played a very good match. I'm looking forward to the next tournament and to playing here next year."

Almagro’s victory marks his eighth ATP World Tour victory, all of which have come on clay. His win also improves his record in Costa do Sauipe to 15-4 and his finals record on the ATP World Tour to 8-2. Almagro dropped just one set en route to victory, against Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela in the semi-finals.

Almagro extended his streak of winning at least one title a year to six consecutive years, dating back to his debut title in Valencia in 2006. Half of Almagro's career titles have come during the Latin American swing. His previous titles came in Acapulco in 2008-09 and in Costa Do Sauipe in 2008.

yuanyelss
02-13-2011, 11:30 PM
En route to the final, the Spaniard defeated No. 8 seed Michael Berrer and fourth seed Ernests Gulbis before saving a staggering 24 of 26 break points to oust ATP World Tour Champion Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. He was the first player ranked outside the Top 50 to beat Nadal since No. 106 Nicolas Mahut defeated the Mallorcan at The Queen’s Club in June 2007.As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament, Garcia-Lopez received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and $99,725 in prize money.

Chirag
02-16-2011, 03:43 AM
San Jose 2011

Milos Raonic became the first Canadian to win an ATP World Tour title in 16 years as he dethroned top seed and defending champion Fernando Verdasco 7-6(6), 7-6(5) Sunday at the SAP Open.

The 20-year-old Raonic, who was making just his eighth tour-level main draw appearance, earned $92,000 for winning the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament and is projected to move up to No. 59 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings on Monday.

“It’s something that came quicker than expected, but something amazing,” said Raonic, who became the youngest winner on tour since a 19-year-old Marin Cilic captured the New Haven title in 2008.

While World No. 9 Verdasco was contesting his 14th tour-level final and Raonic his first, the 84th-ranked youngster kept his composure as he faced down four set points in the opening set. He rallied from down 2-6 in the tie-break, winning six straight points to establish the lead.

“I just made one mistake with my forehand at 6-5. All the other points he played aggressive… He played good and he put all the returns in and not much I can do in that moment,” Verdasco said.

Raonic earned the only mini-break of the second set tie-break and clinched the victory on serve on his third match point.

“When it gets close it sort of just comes down to who gets it that day,” said Raonic. “It comes down to a few points and I was there for it. I sort of used up my luck today, in a way. I got out of that first set and the second set I was a little bit more confident by then. It came out the way I wanted it to.”

Raonic did not drop a set en route to the title, losing serve once in four matches, and finished the week with a tournament high 58 aces in four matches, including 13 in Sunday’s final.

The Thornhill, Ontario, resident was just four years old when Canada last celebrated an ATP World Tour champion (Rusedski in 1995 Seoul), and hoped that his success would inspire the next generation of players. “If I can keep playing like this, then [hopefully it’ll] sort of start a movement to have more televised matches tennis-wise, and help the sport grow,” he said. “I think Canada does have that athleticism and the talent to have more players at the top. “

Raonic has made the biggest jump from the year-end South African Airways 2010 ATP Rankings, moving from No. 156 at the start of the season to No. 84 coming into the week. He broke into the Top 100 for the first time after reaching the fourth round on his Australian Open debut, including a win over World No. 10 Mikhail Youzhny in the third round.

Reflecting on his season, Raonic said: “It’s been amazing... I came here and had probably my best week. I can’t stop smiling. I’m happy about it and I hope I can keep it going more than six weeks into the full year schedule and see where I am at the end of the year.”

With his victory over the World No. 9, Raonic joined a select group of individuals who won their first tour-level title with a victory over a Top 10 player in the final. Since 2000, only six other players had accomplished the feat: Albert Portas, Hyung-Taik Lee, Michael Llodra, Marcel Granollers, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mikhail Kukushkin.

“He has good potential and he has one of the best serves, and also on the baseline he plays so aggressive,” said Verdasco. “The moments he needs to play solid, he plays solid and I think that he can be a Top 20 player very soon. Now he’s going to be [ranked] 50-something, and it’s just the beginning of the year. He has all year to become a good player and I think he can do it.”

Verdasco, who lost 11 points on serve Sunday, was broken just once in 53 service games during the week. He dropped to a 5-9 record in tour-level finals.

The pair will meet again in the first round of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, an ATP World Tour 500 tournament that gets underway Monday in Memphis.

Chirag
02-16-2011, 03:44 AM
Rotterdam 2011

World No. 4 Robin Soderling defended an ATP World Tour title for the first time in his career Sunday as he fought past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the final of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

The Swede, who defeated Mikhail Youzhny in last year’s final and also finished runner-up in 2008 (l. to Llodra), improved to a 14-2 event record. As winner of the first ATP World Tour 500 tennis tournament of the year, he earned 500 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and €279,500 in prize money.

Soderling won two ATP World Tour titles in the same year for the first time in 2010, also claiming his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in Paris-Bercy, and has already matched that feat just six weeks into the 2011 season. He opened his campaign with victory at the Brisbane International (d. Roddick), before going on to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open (l. to Dolgopolov).

“I’ve had two wins and one final, it’s very good, I like it here a lot," said Soderling. "It suits my game and when you come to a place where you’ve played well before it brings out good feelings. Of course it’s tough trying to defend the title, it adds some extra pressure, but I felt good and had only positive feelings.

"I’ve had a very good start to this season. I’ve already won two titles and only lost one match in three tournaments."

Watch: Soderling Interview | Tsonga Interview

The 26-year-old Soderling has now amassed eight ATP World Tour titles from 18 tour-level finals, with six of those trophies coming indoors. It took some effort from the Swede to cross the line this week, though. He saved one match point to end a three-match losing streak against Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second round and also dispatched World No. 10 Youzhny in a repeat of the 2010 final on Friday.

After a slow start, the eighth-seeded Tsonga also provided a stern test for top seed Soderling. The Frenchman struggled on serve in the first set, only winning 46 per cent of points behind his first serve, and despite rallying from a 0-3 deficit, he was broken again in the eighth game as Soderling clinched the opener.

Much improved serving from Tsonga proved to be the difference in the second set and his decision to attack Soderling in the sixth game paid dividends as he broke through to lead 4-2 before going on to level the match, having won 16 of 17 points behind his first serve.

Both players impressed on serve at the beginning of the third set, but it was Soderling who proved to have the edge when it mattered. The Swede benefitted from successive ground stroke errors from Tsonga to break serve in the eighth game before clinching victory after 83 minutes with his 12th ace.

“I had many tough matches this week," said Soderling. "I had to fight a lot for every match. I was lucky, I had the margins on my side. I think to win tournaments like this, you need to of course play well, but you need a little bit of luck as well.”

Tsonga dropped to a 0-4 record against Soderling, but felt he is going in the right direction. "Today I played better than in other matches against him," said the Frenchman. "I played a good match today. It was difficult of course because he played unbelievable, he didn’t miss many things. I had to play my best tennis to win some games and break him, so it was difficult. At the end he just played better than me."

World No. 18 Tsonga was bidding to end a 15-month title drought, with his last trophy – and last final appearance - coming in Tokyo in October 2009. The Frenchman lost a tour-level final for only the second time (5-2 record), having also finished runner-up in the 2008 Australian Open final (l. to Djokovic).

Tsonga’s results at the beginning of the 2011 ATP World Tour season have marked a welcome return to form for the 25 year old, who was sidelined for much of the second part of last season with a left knee injury. He now will turn his attentions to the Open 13 next week in Marseille, where he will join top seed Soderling.

Chirag
02-24-2011, 06:25 AM
Open 13 2011

World No. 4 Robin Soderling is proving nigh on unstoppable at the start of the 2011 ATP World Tour season as he clinched his third title in four tournaments with a 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-3 victory over Marin Cilic in the final of the Open 13 in Marseille.

The Swede has opened the season with a 17-1 match record, also winning titles at the Brisbane International (d. Roddick) in the first week of the season and at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. Tsonga) last week. His only defeat came at the hands of Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov in five sets in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

“It’s of course a very nice feeling," said Soderling. "Winning three tournaments in four tries is something I’ve never been close to before. It’s the best possible start. I’ve won many matches and only lost one, unfortunately in the fourth round in Melbourne. It’s a great start and I really hope it can continue this way."

It is the first time in his career that the 26-year-old Soderling has won three ATP World Tour titles in a season. As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tennis tournament, he added a further 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points to his tally and received €93,450 in prize money.

Top seed Soderling had not dropped a set in three matches to reach the final, but found himself up against it when Cilic broke serve in the first game. While Soderling was able to fight back and level at 4-4, Cilic had the edge in the ensuing tie-break and took a one-set lead.

Soderling struck back in the second set with an early break of serve and despite relinquishing his lead midway through the set, reeled off three straight games from 3-3 to level the match. He then converted one of his three break points in the third set to clinch victory in just over two hours.

“It was tough," admitted Soderling. "I was a little bit unlucky that he broke me in the first game and then he played really well. I wasn’t aggressive enough and really let him dictate the rallies in the first set. I told myself I needed to be on top of things a little bit more and be more aggressive and it really worked; the second set was really good for me. I’m really proud the way I turned things around.”

It marked Soderling’s ninth ATP World Tour title from 19 tour-level finals. The Tibro native had finished runner-up in Marseille (l. to Hrbaty) on his debut in 2004.

World No. 28 Cilic was contesting his ninth ATP World Tour final (5-4 record) and his first since finishing runner-up in Munich (l. to Youzhny) last May. The Croatian returned to top form this week in Marseille, having won back-to-back matches only three times in the past six months.

“For a set and a half I was playing really well and in a high level; I was able to stay with him physically and dictating the game," reflected Cilic. "I was extremely happy with the performance I played. In the seventh game of the second set, when I lost serve, that changed the momentum a bit. He got a step in front of me and I was all the time behind, looking to make changes to get back in the game. He was really playing good in the second part of the match.

“I’m really pleased with this week and also the past two or three weeks, starting with the Australian Open. That shows me I’m a little bit more in the game and playing better. It’s, of course, a little bit of a relief to come to the final after almost a year. I think I played well all week. There is no reason why I should stop here.”

Chirag
02-24-2011, 06:27 AM
Memphis 2011


Top seed Andy Roddick ended Milos Raonic’s courageous run at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, prevailing 7-6(7), 6-7(11), 7-5 on Sunday to claim his 30th tour-level title and third in Memphis.

World No. 8 Roddick became the third active player on the ATP World Tour to win 30 or more career singles titles, joining Roger Federer (67) and Rafael Nadal (43). He also became the eighth American-born player to accomplish the feat.

“Winning tennis tournaments I don’t ever take for granted,” he said. “I’ve won 30 of them now, but I think every one of them is just as exciting. I get just as much joy today as I did my first one.”

Both players had their share of opportunities in the two tie-breaks. Roddick, who was playing in his 50th tour-level final, clinched the first set with his eighth ace of the match after saving two set points. In the second set, Raonic fought off elimination as he faced down three match points at 6-5, 8-7 and 10-9 and converted on his fourth set point of the tie-break.

Roddick had two chances to build a 5-1 lead in the third set, but Raonic rallied to hold and then capitalised on his fifth break point in the ensuing game to get back on serve. Raonic continued his fight, saving a fourth match point at 4-5, but was unable to come up with an answer on Roddick’s next opportunity.

On a dramatic match point, Raonic stretched Roddick wide to the ad court with a penetrating inside-out forehand and proceeded to the net. Roddick replied with a searching down-the-line backhand, which Raonic did well to cover and angled away a crisp forehand volley that looked good enough to get him back to deuce. But Roddick, desperate to avoid a third consecutive tie-break with the Canadian, hustled back to the deuce court and then lunged forward into a diving down-the-line forehand pass into the open court.

Roddick was left with with a grazed right forearm, but it was a small price to pay for the return. It was a dramatic end to a dramatic final, and most likely the best championship point the tournament has ever seen.

“That’s the best shot I’ve ever hit in my life, considering the circumstance,” said Roddick. “I played a pretty good point before that. Just making the return, you get disheartened when he doesn’t miss the next ball because it’s tough to get a serve back. He had a great volley there. I don’t really remember much else besides the fact that I went for the ball, I hit it, I didn’t really think much of it. Then I heard people cheering. I was like, ‘No, there’s no way that went in.’ I guess it did.”

Raonic said: “It’s tough playing when you’re in a final, you’re playing a Top 10 player and you’re not at your best, but all you can do is fight, keep fighting and hope things turn around. Some things were unfortunate in that match and I think it’s nice that he had to come up with something that amazing to finish off the match.”

Roddick, 28, improved to a 35-7 record at this ATP World Tour 500 indoor hard-court tournament. He also won the title in 2002 and ’09, and was runner-up in 2003 and ’07.

The top American has now won an ATP World Tour title for 11 straight years, best among active players along with Federer. Earlier this season, Roddick finished runner-up to Robin Soderling at the Brisbane International.

Raonic, who was making just his ninth tour-level main draw appearance, was contesting his second final in as many weeks. The 20-year-old Canadian had won the SAP Open title last Sunday with victory over World No. 9 Fernando Verdasco. He beat Verdasco again in the first round this week.

With a total of 32 aces in the final, Raonic set a new tournament record of 129 aces, surpassing Mark Philippoussis’ mark of 106 in 2001. He hit a career and tournament-high 38 aces in his win against Radek Stepanek on Thursday. He had reached the final by winning four straight three-set matches, including third set tie-break wins over Verdasco and Stepanek.

“He’s as exciting of a talent as we’ve seen in a while,” said Roddick. “The good thing for him is he’s going to be able to learn on the job because that serve is going to win him a lot of matches, even if he goes up and down with the rest of his play. It’s one of the bigger serves I’ve seen. I still think he can learn a lot about playing the game, but it won’t surprise me if he’s Top 10 sooner rather than later.”

Despite his loss, Raonic is projected to climb to No. 37 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings on Monday, making him the highest-ranked Canadian man in the history of the South African Airways ATP Rankings. Greg Rusedski was No. 41 in June 1994.

“It’s something really special and amazing,” said Raonic of his ranking. “It’s not by any means something to be too happy with because I want to keep improving that. It’s not where my goal lies. I want to keep improving, I want to keep progressing and developing and I think I can do a lot more.

“But I’m going to have a chance tomorrow when I wake up, even tonight, to have a chance to soak up everything that’s happened these past two weeks. A lot has happened, even the last six weeks, a lot has happened since the beginning of the year. I’m going to take the moments I need, take the time, think about it, learn from it, as well as use it to my advantage in the future.”

Raonic was looking to become the third player Sunday to clinch ATP World Tour titles in back-to-back weeks, after Soderling won in Marseille and Nicolas Almagro in Acapulco.

Chirag
02-24-2011, 06:28 AM
Buenos Aeros 2011

World No. 13 Nicolas Almagro earned his 200th tour-level match win as he captured his second ATP World Tour title in as many weeks with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Juan Ignacio Chela in the Copa Claro final on Sunday in Buenos Aires.

“It’s a very good feeling, I’m very happy after winning here and I hope it won’t just be nine titles in my career but a lot more,” said Almagro. He added about his milestone win, “It's a very high number and I hope I can keep getting to higher numbers in my career.”

The Spaniard was coming off his eighth career ATP World Tour title in Costa do Sauipe (d. Dolgopolov) last week and is on a nine-match winning streak. It is the first time in his career that he has won ATP World Tour titles in back-to-back weeks.

As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament, Almagro received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and $82,800 in prize money.

All nine of Almagro’s ATP World Tour titles have come on clay courts, with five of those trophies coming during the Latin American “Golden Swing”, which incorporates four tournaments in South America during the month of February. As well as his successes this year, he also won back-to-back trophies in Acapulco in 2008-2009 and triumphed in Costa do Sauipe in 2008.

“It’s great to play the Latin American swing every year,” he said. “I’ve always had great results. When I was younger I made some semi-finals and lately I’ve won a lot of titles. I hope I can keep getting more here.”

The top seed Almagro squandered an early break advantage in the first set, but from 3-3 broke serve twice more to clinch the opener. Home favourite Chela was quick to respond, though, taking an early 2-1 break lead in the second set before breaking serve again in the ninth game to level the match. Breaks were exchanged early in the deciding set before Almagro broke decisively in the seventh game to wrap up victory in just over two hours.

“I knew it would be tough, but I was in good shape,” said Almagro. “It wasn’t easy because of the wind and we both had trouble with it. In the first set I was really aggressive, but in the second I made a few unforced errors that cost me the set. In the third I had to repeat what I did in the first set and happily I could do it to win.”

Chela said: “The key game was at 3-3 of the third set because I broke him the game before with great tennis but I couldn’t keep it up. I had to be more aggressive with my serve during the match because his is very good.”

Both Almagro and Chela had pulled double duty on Saturday, winning both their quarter-final and semi-final matches after rain had washed out the majority of play on Friday. In completing his quarter-final win over fourth seed Albert Montanes, the 31-year-old Chela earned his 300th tour-level match win.

The No. 35-ranked Chela was bidding to win his seventh ATP World Tour title and dropped to a 6-6 record in finals. He won two ATP World Tour clay-court titles last year in Houston (d. Querrey) and Bucharest (d. Andujar).

“It was a great week, I had a great level,” said Chela. “Of course I’m sad because I lost but I’m happy with the tennis I played.”

Yolita
07-26-2011, 06:46 PM
This is a very interesting thread. I read all the posts and the articles helped me remember many final matches. Why did you stop king? :D

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:05 AM
This is a very interesting thread. I read all the posts and the articles helped me remember many final matches. Why did you stop king? :D

I just go busy .I am now going to post the remaining ones :o Sorry for the delay

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:07 AM
Dubai 2011

World No. 3 Novak Djokovic won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the third year in a row on Saturday as he defeated top seed Roger Federer 6-3, 6-3 in the final of the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tennis tournament. He became the sixth active player to win 20 tour-level titles (20-13 finals record).

The Serbian also joins four-time former champion Federer as the only players to have won three successive titles in Dubai and improved to a 15-match winning streak at the tournament. He defeated David Ferrer in the 2009 final and Mikhail Youzhny in last year’s championship match.

The 23-year-old Djokovic has been arguably the man to beat on the ATP World Tour in the past two months. Since reaching the semi-finals (l. to Federer) at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November, the Belgrade native has gone on a career-best 14-match unbeaten run. He led Serbia to victory in the Davis Cup final in December before opening the 2011 season by winning his second Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open (d. Murray).

“I have this feeling in my head, and it's really important to know for me that I can perform this well,” said Djokovic. “This match has probably been one of the best that I played this year. I want to keep it up, definitely. I feel physically well, fit, mentally motivated to do even more coming up to Indian Wells and Miami where I haven't done well in the last years.

“Any time I win against Roger it's a great success because he's such a great player. We all know how mentally strong of a player he is. To be able to win against Roger in straight sets as I did tonight is incredible, but I want to keep on going. I know that I have qualities to do even more, and that's what I want.”

Djokovic came into his 21st clash with Federer with the confidence of having beaten the Swiss just over four weeks ago in the semi-finals of the Australian Open, but it was Federer who looked in better shape ahead of the final, with Djokovic having termed his own semi-final performance against Tomas Berdych a “catastrophe”.

It was a much improved performance from Djokovic in the final, though, as he quickly signalled his intent by breaking Federer’s serve in the third game of the match. The second seed was sublime on serve throughout the opener, relinquishing just four points, and the pressure told on Federer as he succumbed again in the ninth game.

Federer, who had been guilty of too many unforced errors in the first set, stepped up and produced tighter tennis in the second set and was rewarded with a break of serve in the third game. However, the Swiss was unable to maintain his lead as Djokovic’s impressive defensive skills paid dividends and he drew an overhead error from Federer on break point in the sixth game.

From there Djokovic quickly pulled away as Federer again lapsed into inconsistency on the backhand wing. A mistake from the Swiss cost him his serve in the eighth game and Djokovic raced through his final service game to clinch victory in 71 minutes.

“I guess I rose to the occasion,” assessed Djokovic. “I was aware of the challenge that is expecting me on the court, and I was aware of the fact that I need to be on top of my game in order to beat Roger. I was serving really well, especially the first set, holding my serve except that one game when I got broken, confidently through throughout the whole match. Just the perfect performance overall.”

The 29-year-old Federer was bidding for his second ATP World Tour title of the season and the 68th of his career. He has been on a superb run of form in the past six months, winning titles at Stockholm, Basel, the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and Doha, and was philosophical in defeat to Djokovic.

“I think Novak played well,” he said. “[It was] obviously [a] disappointing end as well to the match. I guess you can't win them all. I played so well in Doha in the finals, in London in the finals, in Basel in the finals. I guess I had to mess one up. It's a pity, but, look, Novak played great.

“I definitely feel he's playing well. I thought he was already playing well at the end of last year. We had a couple of real close ones. This one has been one of the rather disappointing matches for me against him. I can't play great every time either. So it's been a tough one, but I'm not too disappointed. It's another final for me. I tried tonight. Just didn't really happen for me.”

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:08 AM
Acapulco 2011

Gritty Spaniard David Ferrer went 6-for-7 on break point opportunities against Nicolas Almagro to successfully defend the Abierto Mexicano Telcel title and deny his countryman’s quest to become the only player to win three of the four Golden Swing crowns in the one season.

Top-seeded Ferrer, who in last year’s Acapulco final also denied Juan Carlos Ferrero an elusive third title of the clay-court swing, won his 11th ATP World Tour tournament with a 7-6(4), 6-7(2), 6-2 win over Almagro, who came into the match on a 13-match winning streak.

"I didn't think I could win here twice in a row and I realise I am having the best season start of my career this year," said Ferrer. "I hope I can continue like that this season. Acapulco is a very special event for me, where I always received great support from the people and I will do everything possible to come back next year."

Almagro added, "I want to congratulate David, for everything he has done in the last weeks. He's been playing at an unbelievable level."

Former World No. 4 Ferrer collects $264,000 and 500 South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings points for his victory. Ferrer converted the first six break points he earned in the match but was a denied a perfect record when Almagro crushed an off-forehand that landed on the line to save a match point in the seventh game of the third set. In contrast, Almagro cashed in just four of 13 break chances.

"It was a very intense match with a lot of rallies in the first and second set; we played a lot of great points," reflected Ferrer. "In the third [set], I think I was better physically and he started making more mistakes. My error was that after coming back and winning the first set, I relaxed in the second and he started attacking a lot more.

Almagro, who won back-to-back Acapulco titles in 2008-09, collected the runner’s up purse of $122,000 after falling to an 0-6 career record against Ferrer.

"Today was a very tough match and too bad I couldn't take advantage of my lead in the first set," said Almagro. "I am disappointed right now that I couldn't close this first set, maybe things would have been different. It's been an unbelievable South American swing for me. I played nonstop for three weeks at a very high level and I know I need to be proud and happy about it. I now look forward to resting a few days at home before getting ready for Indian Wells and Miami."

Ferrer has started the season with 14 wins from 16 matches, a record that includes titles in Auckland and Acapulco, and a semi-final run at the Australian Open.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:08 AM
Delray Beach 2011

Argentine Juan Martin del Potro won the first title of his comeback, denying sixth-seeded Serbian Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.

It marked the first title for the 22-year-old del Potro since the 2009 US Open, when he came from two-sets-to-one down against five-time defending champion Roger Federer to capture the Grand Slam crown.

Del Potro, playing in his first final since the championship match at the 2009 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, rallied from a 1-4 deficit to start the match. He saved five break points in the 10th game of the opening set before converting on his third set point.

“Janko had the control in the first set, but I was focused on my serve because it was only a break. If I get a break soon, maybe I can come back to fight that set, and that’s what happened,” said del Potro. “I served very bad at 5-4, he had the opportunity to break my serve, but I improved a little bit my game, my forehand started to work; that helped me to close the set.”

He broke Tipsarevic to go up 3-2 in the second set and fought off three break points in the next game. In total, he saved 10 of 11 break points faced on serve during the one-hour, 54-minute match.

“I think the key was one of 11 break points and my first serve percentage was just horrible,” said Tipsarevic. “All the factors were going my way today to win. He was playing every single match late at night with no wind, so he was not adapted to the weather. You could see that in the middle of the first set that he picked up, but it was a tough match. We played almost two hours, two sets, but I really didn’t use my chances.”

Del Potro improved to an 8-3 record in tour-level finals and to a 4-0 mark in finals on U.S. soil.

“Today was my first match in the afternoon for a month. I was playing for two weeks those tournaments, then four matches here at night, then today was my first match in the afternoon,” he said. “It was very hot and of course I felt it, but in the final, you have to think how can you win. Even if you play bad or not, you have to win the final.”

Gaining 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points for his victory, the former World No. 4 will be back in the Top 100 for the first time since November. With semi-final runs at San Jose and Memphis and his triumph in Delray Beach, he will have risen nearly 400 rankings spots from No. 484 to No. 89 in a three-week span.

Del Potro played in three tournaments last season due to a wrist injury, undergoing surgery in May. He briefly returned in the autumn, making first-round exits in Bangkok and Tokyo, and relaunched his comeback at the start of the 2011 ATP World Tour season.

“He’s a tough player, a tough competitor. He was out for long, which means he’s hungry to win tournaments and win matches,” said Tipsarevic.

The 26-year-old Serbian was attempting to win his first ATP World Tour title after runner-up finishes in 2009 at Moscow and last year in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

“It just didn’t go my way today,” he said. “I think the tactic I had was too aggressive, probably because I was afraid that maybe if I start letting him play that we would dominate the court. I just didn’t execute well. The game plan I had was good. I just didn’t play good today.”

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:09 AM
Indian wells 2011

Novak Djokovic just cannot stop winning. The Serb extended his unbeaten run to 20 matches as he came from a set down to defeat World No. 1 Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a gripping finale at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday

The 23-year-old Djokovic has not lost a match since falling to Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals last November, leading his country to Davis Cup glory in December before beginning the 2011 season with victories at the Australian Open (d. Murray) and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. Federer).

“I don't think anybody is unbeatable. I do have the best period of my life on the tennis court, but nobody is invincible,” he said. “Still you are just trying to play your best in each match you're playing.”

Just three months into the 2011 ATP World Tour season, Djokovic has laid down a strong claim for one of the coveted eight berths at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 20-27 November. He received a further 1000 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points with victory in Indian Wells.

Victory marked Djokovic’s 21st tour-level title and his sixth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown. It is the second time he has tasted glory at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, having previously lifted the trophy in 2008 with victory over Mardy Fish. He also reached the final in 2007, when he came up short against Nadal.

A day earlier, in a semi-final clash that also had the No. 2 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking on the line, Djokovic had defeated Federer, making him the third player to beat Nadal and Federer in the same tournament on two occasions, joining Nikolay Davydenko and David Nalbandian. He first defeated the duo in back-to-back matches at the 2007 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Montreal.

“I am playing with a lot of confidence,” said Djokovic. “I'm feeling the ball well on the court. I'm very dedicated. I have a big will to win each match I'm playing on, so it will not stop here, definitely. I want to keep on going and keep on playing good tennis. Hopefully I can recover and get ready for Miami.”

In a first set filled with punishing baseline rallies and high-quality exchanges, breaks were swapped in the fifth and sixth games before Nadal broke decisively to lead 4-3 as he broke down Djokovic’s backhand to draw the error. He then closed out the one-set lead with a love service game.

Nadal had looked strong on serve, reeling off 16 straight points from 4-3 in the first set to level at 2-2 in the second set. However, inexplicably, he lost all consistency on his first serve and paid the price as Djokovic broke to lead 4-2.

Djokovic too suffered a dip in form from his high standards of the first set, though, and immediately relinquished the advantage. But he regained his lead in the eighth game before closing out the set in a shaky service game, which saw him squander five set points and save a break point before converting his sixth opportunity, leaving the Spaniard to rue a first serve percentage of just 25 per cent.

“It was just the question of momentum,” said Djokovic. “ I managed to hold that very important game at 5-3 and then I was on a roll. I felt that this is the time when I had to use my opportunity and step in and be more aggressive and take it to him, and that's what I did. Again, it was just a couple of points in the end of the second set that kind of turned the match around.”

Nadal failed to regain his rhythm on serve in the third set and quickly fell a double-break behind as Djokovic, brimming with confidence, put his opponent to the sword with ruthless efficiency. He gave Nadal no chance to recover and wrapped up victory with a love service game in two hours and 25 minutes.

It was the first time in six attempts that Djokovic had beaten Nadal in a tour-level final, having fallen to the Spaniard most recently in the US Open championship match.

“The serve was the difference today in my opinion,” said Nadal. “It's true I played with less intensity after the first set, but I think everything is because of the serve. So just congratulate him. I think he did better than possible to start one season. He's playing well. He's in the right place at the right moment, so all the best for him for the rest of the season.”

The 24-year-old Nadal was chasing a 19th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title and a third title in Indian Wells, having previously triumphed in 2007 and 2009 (d. Murray). His progress at the start of the 2011 season has been impeded by illness in Doha followed by an enforced five-week injury lay-off after losing in the Australian Open quarter-finals (l. to Ferrer).

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:10 AM
MIAMI 2011

Players on the ATP World Tour will have to wait until the clay court season to have another opportunity to end Novak Djokovic’s undefeated reign in 2011.

In one of the most electrifying men’s singles finals in Sony Ericsson Open history, the Serbian defeated World No. 1 Rafael Nadal for the second consecutive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event after winning at Indian Wells two weeks ago, upending the Spaniard 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) to win his second Sony Ericsson Open Sunday afternoon. “As I said on the court, it was one of the closest and best finals that I have played ever,” a pleased Djokovic told reporters after his win.

“I think it was very high level of tennis today. I think everybody enjoyed, even us playing. It was very close, and up to the last stroke we really didn't know which way it's going to go.”

The match took its toll on both player’s – even the World No. 1 came off the court fatigued, a rare occasion for one of the fittest players in the history of the game. “I was very tired at the end. Think I played a little bit better the beginning of last week's final,” evaluated the Spaniard.

“[But] I was there fighting until the last point… nothing left in my body right now, so that's the sport. I love these kinds of matches.”

In front of a record final's crowd of 14,625 fans, Djokovic improved to 24-0 on the season, and increases his overall winning streak to 26 wins in a row, dating back to last December’s Davis Cup Final. His title today gives the two-time Australian Open champion his seventh ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, five of which have come on outdoor hard courts, and 22nd title overall.

Djokovic has turned up the heat on Nadal in the battle for the World No. 1 South African Airways ATP Ranking. The nine-time major champion has more than 7,000 points to defend between now and Wimbledon. “I think it's a bit early to talk about getting that top spot in the rankings. It's still quite a big difference. Rafa is definitely the best player in the world now,” believes the current No. 2 Djokovic.

“If I want to have that shot, the No. 1 ranking, I need to play consistently well throughout the whole year. We all know that clay court is his favorite surface, and obviously somewhere where he plays his best.”

Nadal sees the situation differently. “I think he's going to be No. 1,” said the Majorcan.

“I don't feel [like] he's breathing on my neck… but he won two tournaments in a row right now, very big tournaments, [as well as] one Grand Slam. Normal thing is he will be No. 1 in the next month, month and a half, two months. I don't know. Depends on my results on clay.”

Though the Spaniard was disappointed not to win at Crandon Park in his third final, he was positive about the results he’s achieved in the year’s first two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events. “I had a fantastic American hard court season, [reaching] two finals, and [now I’m] ready for clay,” Nadal said. “I had a very good season, American season, probably the best one of my life here.”

His next tournament will be the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Monte Carlo, a place where he’s won a record six consecutive tournaments, the perfect location to begin his clay court season. “First tournament of clay is always important… I won six in a row. I going to try my best for the seventh but know how difficult every tournament is,” said Nadal. “Hopefully I’m going to be playing well at this tournament.”

Djokovic has never defeated Nadal on clay, but has tested the five-time French Open champion on the surface, and comes in as a different player than in years past. “I think I have the game to challenge him on that surface, and I showed that in 2009. I think we had some great matches in Monte Carlo, final; in Madrid, semifinal, so it is possible,” Djokovic said.

“If I do have an opportunity to play him on clay, obviously I have to be aggressive. Clay is the slowest surface that we have, and it's the surface that suits him best. Over the years, he's been the king of that surface and the guy to beat. He always comes up with his best game at the clay court tournaments.”

The Serbian becomes the first player since Roger Federer in 2006 to win both Indian Wells and Miami in the same year, a feat that’s now been achieved eight times on the men’s side. This match-up paralleled 1995 in many ways; it was the first time in 16 years that Indian Wells and Miami featured the same two finalists, as well as the top two ranked players (Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras). It was also the first time since the Agassi-Sampras clash in 1995 that the men’s final at Crandon Park was decided by a final set tie-break.

This year's Sony Ericsson Open attracted 316,267 fans, setting a new tournament record.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:11 AM
Casablancna 2011

Spain’s Pablo Andujar captured his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the Grand Prix Hassan II with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over fifth-seeded Italian Potito Starace.

One day after knocking out top seed Albert Montanes, the 69th-ranked Andujar capitalised on four of eight break points and saved the two faced on serve to defeat Starace for the first time in three tour-level meetings.

“I was very confident before the match,” said Andujar. “I thought about winning and yesterday’s win gave me a lot of confidence. I played in a way that made him tired, being very aggressive and making him run a lot.”

Starace, who was relegated runner-up status for the fourth time in four ATP World Tour finals, said: “He played a great match. He was too aggressive and didn’t give me one chance, so congratulations to him. He was playing a very high level.”

Andujar was contesting his second ATP World Tour final, last year reaching this stage at the clay court tournament in Bucharest (l. to Chela), and takes home € 72,600 and 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking pointHs with his victory. “It wasn’t easy. I didn’t expect this title and it comes as a surprise for me,” he admitted.

The 25 year old has now won seven of his past eight matches to improve his season record to 10-7. Andujar recently posted his first Top 10 victory, defeating World No. 9 Fernando Verdasco in the second round of the Sony Ericson Open in Miami.

“Casablanca was a great preparation for me,” said Andujar. “The conditions are close to the ones in Europe and it’s only a two-hour flight from Valencia. This is a very good tournament to start the clay season.”

The 29-year-old Starace, who dropped to an 11-9 season record, also looked ahead to European spring season. “It was the first tournament on clay, and now I have four or five tournaments before Paris,” he said. “I hope I can make some good results because it’s very important for the confidence.”

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:11 AM
Houston 2011

In his debut appearance in an ATP World Tour final, American wild card Ryan Sweeting prevailed against Japanese No. 6 seed Kei Nishikori 6-4, 7-6(3) Sunday in Houston to clinch the title at the US Men's Clay Court Championship.

In the youngest tour-level final this season, the 23-year-old Sweeting broke the 21-year-old Nishikori late in the first set and faced down three set points in the 10th game of the second set before clinching the victory on his first of three match points in the tie-break.

“That game was very crucial,” Sweeting said of holding at 5-all. “It was definitely an important hold for me. I think it was a 20-minute long game. It definitely wore me out a little bit. I knew that I wanted to try and win the second set, obviously, to win the match, but it was a good hold and I felt that it gave me a little bit of momentum going into the rest of the set. It sort of hit him a little harder that he didn’t get the break – he had a lot of break points – but I just fought hard today.”

Sweeting became the first U.S. champion at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament since Mardy Fish in 2006 after American players finished runners-up each of the past three years. He also became the fifth first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season, following Pablo Andujar’s victory at the Grand Prix Hassan II earlier Sunday.

“I’m most happy about the way I performed under pressure,” he said. “It was my first final and I felt I stayed calm, I stayed focused. I didn’t let the moment get to me and nerves get to me, which has happened to me in the past before, so I felt that I competed well at an important time in my career.”

World No. 93 Sweeting, who is projected to climb to No. 71 after earning 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings points this week, improved to a 10-6 season record. He had reached one tour-level quarter-final prior to this week, resulting in a loss to Nishikori in Delray Beach this past February.

En route to the final, he had upset 2010 finalist and No. 2 seed Sam Querrey in the second round and past champion Ivo Karlovic in the semi-finals.

Nishikori had claimed the Delray Beach title in 2008 in his only other appearance in ATP World Tour final, and said about his performance Sunday: “I was struggling today, missing a lot with easy shots and he was more aggressive than me, so that’s why I was struggling, I guess. It was a final and I really wanted to win today, but I think that made me a little tight.”

He is projected to break into the Top 50 of the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings with his showing this week, putting his goal of surpassing Shuzo Matsuako’s career-high mark of No. 46 within reach.

“It’s one of my goals, but if I play good it’s going to come for sure sometime,” he said. “Hopefully I can get to 45 as soon as possible. It’ll be good for me, but I think it’s going to come sometime if I can play like this in every tournament.”

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:24 AM
MONTE CARLO 2011

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal reigned supreme at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters for the seventh year in a row on Sunday as he defeated fourth seed David Ferrer 6-4, 7-5 in an all-Spanish final at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.

Nadal was presented with the trophy by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, his fiancée Charlene Wittstock, and President of the tournament committee Elizabeth-Ann de Massy.

"It's really emotional and unbelievable for me," said Nadal. "[To] start the clay season like this is fantastic, but [it] is fantastic winning Monte Carlo another time. Probably is a tournament that in the category of [ATP World Tour Masters] 1000 tournaments is the one that I feel more emotional when I am playing for the history of the tournament because here in 2003 everything started.

"[To] win seven times in a row any where is almost impossible I think. But to win Monte Carlo, all the best players in the world are here, you always have tough matches, is impossible to imagine for me. So I am very lucky, I think."

Since making his debut with a third-round exit to Guillermo Coria in 2003, Nadal has gone on to win a staggering 37 consecutive matches in Monte-Carlo and owns a 39-1 record at the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tennis tournament of the season.

"Rafa is incredible on clay. I mean, he's everywhere at the same time. He's the best player on clay in history," declared beaten finalist Ferrer.

Victory saw the Nadal break two of his existing records. He became the first player in ATP World Tour history to win a title in seven consecutive years, having been the first player to do so six times last year in Monte-Carlo. He also won his 19th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, having previously held the record with 18 of the coveted titles. Roger Federer and Andre Agassi both have 17 Masters 1000 titles.

Along with Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, the 24-year-old Nadal is an early front runner to qualify for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and added a further 1000 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points to his total with victory in Monte-Carlo. Ferrer, who also qualified for the prestigious eight-man field last year, earned 600 points.

Nadal has now amassed 44 tour-level titles and notched his 30th tour-level victory on clay, tying him in third place with Bjorn Borg and Manuel Orantes in the Open Era clay-court title leaders list. Guillermo Vilas is in first place with 45 clay-court titles, followed by Thomas Muster, who won 40.

In the seventh all-Spanish final at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event (since 1990), service breaks were exchanged in the third and fourth games before Nadal broke decisively in the fifth game to lead 3-2. The top seed struggled to shake Ferrer off, and was forced to save three break point chances in the following game, but held on to clinch the opening set.

Nadal looked to have taken control of the match as he broke in the third game of the second set and quickly established a 4-2 lead. However, a loose game from the Spaniard, including a double fault and costly backhand error, allowed the diligent Ferrer to level at 4-4. Appearing in just his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final, though, Ferrer tightened up in the 11th game and Nadal capitalised on a spate of unforced errors from his Davis Cup teammate to break through before serving out victory in two hours and 16 minutes.

"I hope this victory will help me a lot for the confidence," said Nadal. "Maybe I am a little bit more nervous than usual. I'm playing a little bit more defensive than what I have to do. So hopefully this victory is a lot of confidence for me after playing two finals in a row. So the positive results are coming. Hopefully I'm going to play much more aggressive."

The 29-year-old Ferrer had reached his first Monte-Carlo final without the loss of a set and went into the match unbeaten on clay in 2011, having won his 11th ATP World Tour title in Acapulco (d. Almagro) in February. The Valencia resident was also victorious on hard court in Auckland at the start of the season and defeated Nadal to reach the Australian Open semi-finals (l. to Murray) for the first time.

"Generally speaking I'm very happy," said Ferrer. "I'm happy with my game also. I was a bit sad about certain moments. But generally speaking I'm happy. I'm satisfied with my game. Reaching the finals here is very difficult to achieve and I'm very happy."

Ferrer had also been beaten by Nadal in his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia Rome last year, and dropped to an 11-11 record in tour-level finals.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:25 AM
BARCELONA 2011

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal regained the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell title on Sunday as he defeated fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, 6-2, 6-4, for the second time in two weeks.

Having won the ATP World Tour 500 clay-court tennis tournament five successive times from 2005-2009, Nadal became the first player in the Open Era to win two tournaments at least six times. Last weekend he defeated Ferrer in straight sets to win the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters crown for the seventh year in a row.

"I feel at home here," said Nadal. "It's a very special tournament. It always has been as I grew up watching this tournament. It's a historical tournament with a great tradition and great champions. It's more than a dream to win here six times."

As champion, Nadal received 500 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and € 290,000 in prize money, while Ferrer collected 300 ranking points and € 145,750.

In winning his 31st clay-court tour-level title – the third-highest number in the Open Era - the 24-year-old Nadal improved to a 34-match winning streak on the surface. He has not lost a match on clay since falling to Robin Soderling in the 2009 Roland Garros fourth round, and has only surrendered three sets in that period.

In the ninth all-Spanish final in the Open Era at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899, Nadal saved a break point in his opening service game before his forehand found its mark and Ferrer had no answer as he raced to a 4-1 lead. The fourth-seeded Ferrer showed his tenacity as he recouped one of the breaks in the sixth game, but the Valencia native had struggled on second serve throughout the set, winning just one of eight points in total, and paid the price as he was broken for the third time and Nadal went on to seal the one-set lead.

Nadal came up against a sterner test in the second set. Ferrer, who defeated the left-hander in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January, showed great steel to recover from an early 0-2 deficit and reeled off four straight games to lead 4-2. It proved to be the Spaniard’s last stand, though, as Nadal won the final four games to prevail in one hour and 49 minutes.

"I played a great first set," reflected Nadal. "I was changing the directions of my shots very well. It's been a very positive week and I think my level has been higher this week than in Monte-Carlo last week. My serve worked much better this week, especially, and also my forehand."

In his assessment, Ferrer said, "He served very well in the first set. In the second set we broke each other a lot but I think he played better than me. I had a chance at 4-2 up, but I didn't serve well in the important moments."

A day earlier in the semi-finals, Nadal had recorded his 500th tour-level win with a straight-sets victory over Ivan Dodig. Since falling to Alex Corretja in the second round on his 2003 debut in Barcelona, the Mallorcan has won 29 successive matches at the tournament.

World No. 6 David Ferrer was bidding for his third ATP World Tour title of the season after victories on hard court at Auckland (d. Nalbandian) and Acapulco (d. Almagro). He also lost out to Nadal in the Barcelona final in 2008-2009.

"It's always sad to lose, but it's been a very good week," said Ferrer. "This tournament is very special to me. If someone told me I would reach the final in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, I would sign for sure.

"It's difficult to beat Rafa, especially on clay. It's been a great season so far, I am very happy, and I hope to continue like this."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:26 AM
Munich 2011

Former World No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko captured his 21st ATP World Tour title on Sunday as he defeated German No. 1 Florian Mayer 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the final of the BMW Open by FWU Takaful in Munich.

As champion of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament, Davydenko earned 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and €68,850 in prize money. In addition, he received a brand new BMW 1 Series Convertible and two business class tickets to South Africa (courtesy of South African Airways).

It is the second time Davydenko has triumphed in Munich, having lifted his third ATP World Tour trophy in the Bavarian capital in 2004 with victory over Martin Verkerk. He has won at least one ATP World Tour title for nine straight years.

"In finals I just feel stronger, more relaxed, my confidence is very high and I just go out there fighting," said Davydenko in assessing his 21-6 finals record. "It was a very important result here (to return to the Top 30) and I’m just so happy."

As well as returning Davydenko to the Top 30 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, the right-hander’s victory keeps the BMW Open trophy in Russian hands, with Mikhail Youzhny having won the title last season. Beyreuth native Mayer was bidding to become the fifth German winner in Munich since 1974.

In the second ATP World Tour final Davydenko and Mayer have contested, the Russian gained the upperhand as he saved the five break points he faced in the first set, while converting one of his four opportunities to take a one-set lead.

The fifth-seeded Mayer struck back in the second set with one break of serve to level the match, but two service breaks by Davydenko in the deciding set saw the Russian break away and seal victory in one hour and 49 minutes. Davydenko had also beaten Mayer in the 2006 Sopot final.

"At the beginning I played solid, but then maybe I lost concentration," admitted Davydenko. "I thought I was winning easily and then he started to play better. For sure it was not so easy to come back in the second set. Then I started concentrating better at the beginning of the third set, fighting for every point and 6-1 for me was a very good result."

The 29-year-old Davydenko has dropped to No. 40 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings after a slump in form following his return from a fractured left wrist early in the 2010 season. The right-hander opened the season strongly, defeating Rafael Nadal to reach the final in Doha (l. to Federer), but since then had won back-to-back tour-level matches only once. He improved to a 13-9 match record on the season.

World No. 35 Mayer was looking to win his first ATP World Tour title and dropped to a 0-4 mark in finals. He also lost out in the 2005-2006 Sopot finals and in the Stockholm title match in 2010. He had advanced to his first ATP World Tour final on home soil for the loss of just one set.

"It was a fantastic week," said Mayer. "Of course I'm a little disappointed losing the final, but I see the positives this week. I had never won a match here in Munich coming in to this year's tournament. I had very difficult opponents in my four finals playing [Roger] Federer, [Gael] Monfils and Davydenko twice. It could certainly have been easier opponents but it's nothing I can change.

"It's a great feeling to break into the Top 30 for the first time in my career, now I want to go even higher."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:26 AM
Serbia Open 2011

ATP World Tour No. 2 Novak Djokovic improved to a 27-0 start on the season as he defeated Feliciano Lopez 7-6(4), 6-2 Sunday to reclaim his hometown title at the Serbia Open 2011 in Belgrade.

Djokovic’s 27-0 mark in 2011 is the best start to a season since Ivan Lendl won 29 straight matches in 1986. The Serbian has in fact won his past 29 matches, with his last defeat coming against Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November. He closed the 2010 season by leading Serbia to victory in the Davis Cup final against France.

The 23-year-old Djokovic claimed his fifth tour-level title of the season and the 23rd of his career. In the first four months of the season he won the Australian Open (d. Murray), Dubai (d. Federer) and the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in Indian Wells and Miami, defeating Rafael Nadal both times.

Djokovic is already the frontrunner to qualify for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and, as winner of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament in Belgrade, he received another 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points. He also won his hometown title in its inaugural edition in 2009, with victory over Lukasz Kubot.

While Djokovic was delighted with his results thus far in 2011, the Serbian declared there is still much he would like to achieve this season, namely usurping Nadal at the top of the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings.

"I’m definitely happy to win another title and to move on. Now in front of me there is a period of two months, which are really important," said Djokovic. "I need to stay healthy and I need to stay fit in order to play well. The [winning] streak is something I don’t really think about. I am flattered that people compare me to the greats, like Lendl, [John] McEnroe, Federer, Nadal - guys who have made history on the tennis court. But I have some other goals to achieve this year.

"Obviously the No. 1 ranking is still far away, even though I’ve been winning every match I’ve played this year and won five titles in a row. But I know I need to do more and if I ever get to that No. 1 in the world it would be a dream come true for me because it’s been the ambition of my tennis career. But there is Nadal who is playing really well, Federer who wants to come back definitely, many players to beat in order to get there."

The top-seeded Djokovic was given one of his sternest tests of the week in the opening set against Lopez, saving six break points before edging the Spanish left-hander in a tie-break. He then pulled away in the second set, breaking serve twice to seal victory in just under two hours.

"Today I was playing for the title in front of so many people. It’s always a huge motivation for me, but also a huge responsibility with the kind of expectations that I feel," explained Djokovic. "I was aware of that and that’s why I was maybe a little bit more nervous. I was focussed and in the important moments today I played well, I was patient and the luck was on my side a little bit as well."

World No. 37 Lopez hit form on his debut in Belgrade this week, upsetting two seeded players in No. 8 Juan Monaco and No. 4 Albert Montanes as well as former World No. 5 Fernando Gonzalez to reach his seventh ATP World Tour final. He dropped to a 2-5 mark.

The 29-year-old Madrid native came into Belgrade on the back of a quarter-final showing in Barcelona (l. to Dodig), but in his preceding nine tour-level tournaments he had won back-to-back matches just once.

"I feel good. I’m in good shape. I’ve played so many matches in the past two weeks, so it’s good for my confidence," said Lopez. "I have three more tournaments on clay, so I hope to keep going in this level that I played at here."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:27 AM
Estoril 2011

Juan Martin del Potro, playing at his first clay-court tournament for 23 months, won his third ATP World Tour title on red dirt and his ninth trophy overall on Sunday at the Estoril Open.

The eighth-seeded Argentine defeated second seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain 6-2, 6-2 in the 76-minute final, played under cloudy skies at the Estadio Nacional.

"It was my best match of the week," admitted del Potro. "Finals are difficult to play, you never know if you will play your best tennis or not. Today, I won and I played really nice tennis. Everything was perfect.

"To beat Fernando you have to play good tennis. I served really well and was very confident on my forehand and backhand too. I took all my opportunities, especially on my break points. Hopefully I will be at the same level in my next match."

Del Potro has now won 23 of his past 26 matches, rising from No. 484 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings on 11 February to his current position of World No. 46. "I am playing better day-by-day, tournament-by-tournament," he added. "That is why I am working. I want to be ready for the second part of the year."

The Estoril Open titlist earned a first prize of €72,600 and 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points, while Verdasco picked up a cheque for €38,200 and 150 points.

Del Potro is the fifth Argentine in the past nine years to win the title at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament. He joins David Nalbandian (2002, 2006), Juan Ignacio Chela (2004) and Gaston Gaudio (2005).

At the start of the pair's third meeting, there were three straight breaks of serve before Del Potro establish control of the first set with a 3-1 lead. Two wayward backhands gave del Potro a second service break, with Verdasco dropping his serve to 15.

Del Potro converted his second of three set point opportunities with an out ace wide in the deuce court to wrap up the opener in 33 minutes. He dropped just six points on serve.

Verdasco continued to struggle on serve in the second set. The World No. 15 lost his serve to 15 in the first game and del Potro went onto confirm the break with pinpoint accurate serves and forehand winners.

Serving at 2-4, 40/15, Verdasco appeared to be in control of his service game, but four straight groundstroke errors gifted former World No. 4 del Potro and 5-2 lead.

Thirteen minutes later, having saved one break point and on his third match point opportunity, del Potro completed a 14-point service game with a forehand winner. It was his 25th win of the year.

Del Potro, who dropped one set against Portuguese qualifier Pedro Sousa in the first round, captured his second ATP World Tour title of the year. In February he won at Delray Beach (d. Tipsarevic). He has now 9-3 lifetime in tour-level finals.

Verdasco, 27, won 12 of 24 points on serve and did not create a break point opportunity. The Madrid native, who beat del Potro in the San Jose semi-finals in February, dropped to a 12-9 record on the season.

"He played better and that is why he beat me by the scoreline today," said Verdasco. "He played great. I didn't have many chances to put him in trouble. It was hard, he was hitting the ball hard and deep. It was difficult to be offensive. I didn't play my best game.

"I hope to finish in the Top 10 at the end of this year. After Roland Garros I will have almost nothing to defend, so I hope to pick up points at Wimbledon and other tournaments. I hope to be back in the Top 10 sooner or later."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:28 AM
Madrid 2011

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic notched his 34th consecutive victory as he brought to an end Rafael Nadal’s 37-match unbeaten run on clay, defeating the defending champion 7-5, 6-4 in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open.

“Under the circumstances, I’ve played probably the best match of my life on clay against the World No. 1 and the player to beat on this surface,” declared Djokovic. “The way I played was just fantastic. I’m definitely satisfied with the performance and the overall tournament.”

The 23-year-old Djokovic has not been beaten since the semi-finals (l. to Federer) of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November and has opened the 2011 season with a 32-0 mark, taking in titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Belgrade and now in Madrid.

The Belgrade native’s 32-0 start to the season is second only to John McEnroe, who began 1984 with a 42-0 mark.

“I know that this run that I have is really incredible but I try to think about how long it’ll go and when I will be beaten,” said Djokovic. “It’s how many more wins I’m going to have. Every time I go on the court I’m motivated to win and not thinking that this is the day I’ll lose.”

After clinching his eighth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, and third of the season, Djokovic received 1000 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and € 590,000 in prize money. The Serbian is currently leading the way to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and finish the year in the coveted No. 1 spot.

Despite never having beaten Nadal on clay in nine previous attempts, Djokovic went into the final with the confidence of having defeated the Spaniard in their past two meetings in the finals of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami. The Serbian certainly looked to have the measure of Nadal in the opening exchanges and his devastating hitting from the baseline quickly earned him a 4-0 lead, silencing the Caja Magica.

The top-seeded Nadal hit back swiftly, though, and immediately halved the deficit to the delight of the local fans. Djokovic looked as though he would close out the set in the ninth game as he opened up a 30/0 lead on serve, but Nadal fought back and broke the Serbian to bring himself back level.

It was testament to Djokovic’s self belief that he maintained his composure in the face of Nadal’s revival and nearly clinched the set in the 10th game as he engineered three set points. He was unable to convert, but attacked Nadal again in the 12th game and was rewarded by finally laying claim to the first set.

Nadal responded in some style at the start of the second set, hitting the shot of the match with a sensational ‘tweener lob winner as he broke Djokovic in the opening game (watch video). But again Djokovic stayed focussed and immediately struck back to level. As the set approached its conclusion, it was Djokovic who displayed the nerves of steel and the courage to attack as he broke Nadal in the 10th game to seal victory in two hours and 17 minutes.

“He’s playing at a really high level. We’ve got to accept that,” said Nadal. “When someone is better than you there is nothing you can do other than congratulate him and that’s it and look forward to your next tournament and try to keep up, see what you’re missing, what you’re doing right and face forward with the correct attitude and with mental strength. You have to be cold, mentally speaking, and you have to look for solutions. Try to be better, try to practice and next time I’ll try to do better.”

The 24-year-old Nadal was chasing his third title in Madrid, after victories in 2005 (d. Ljubicic) and 2010 (d. Federer), and his third trophy of the season. The Mallorcan had not lost a clay-court match since the 2009 Roland Garros fourth round (l. to Soderling) and opened his 2011 campaign with back-to-back victories at Monte-Carlo and Barcelona (d. Ferrer both times).

Last year Nadal completed a historic sweep of the three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournaments, before triumphing at Roland Garros. He will look to rebound from this defeat by retaining his title at next week’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:28 AM
ROME 2011

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic continues to marvel. A week after ending Rafael Nadal’s 37-match unbeaten run on clay in the Mutua Madrid Open final, the Serbian dethroned the Spaniard in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final with a 6-4, 6-4 win on Sunday evening in Rome.

“He is the king of clay and he is the best player ever to play on this surface. I have won against him twice in the last eight days which I think is incredible, an incredible achievement for me, and he has given me a lot of confidence for the French Open,” said Djokovic. “This is only a couple of tournaments this year and he has since been dominant on this surface for so many, many years.”

Djokovic has now won 39 successive tour-level matches (37-0 in 2011), the sixth-longest winning streak in the Open Era. He has not been beaten since the semi-finals (l. to Federer) of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November and has opened this season by winning seven successive titles, beginning with his second Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open (d. Murray).

After getting the better of Nadal in the finals on hard court at the BNP Paribas Open and the Sony Ericsson Open in March, many expected the Spaniard to right those wrongs come the clay-court season, during which he has been utterly dominant in recent years. Not so.

Nadal, who completed a historic clay sweep last Spring – taking in the three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court titles before triumphing at Roland Garros – has been unable to find the answer to Djokovic’s brilliance this season and now has surrendered two of his crowns to the Belgrade native. Indeed, going into Sunday’s final, the Spaniard had lost just one match in his past 32 at the Foro Italico and had won the title five times (2005-2007; 2009-2010) before being upended by Djokovic in straight sets.

“I have been doing everything that I can so I cannot ask myself more,” said Nadal. “I am trying and I am doing very well, but one player is doing better than me. The champion in my opinion is not only be able to win every week; it is when they are able to wait at the right moments and I am waiting at every week, trying to find solutions, and we will see what is going on next time… I wish him all the best and I have to wait my moment to win another time.”

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The 23-year-old Djokovic claimed his ninth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, and fourth of the season. He is the first player to win four Masters 1000 crowns in the same season since Nadal and Roger Federer claimed four apiece in 2005.

Already a strong favourite to qualify for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Djokovic earned a further 1000 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and € 438,000 in prize money. Nadal received 600 ranking points and € 205,000.

After fighting back from the brink to defeat Andy Murray in a dramatic late-finishing semi-final on Saturday night, it was expected fatigue could play a part in Djokovic’s performance in the final. However, there was no evidence of tiredness in the Serb’s legs as he broke down Nadal’s defences in the eighth game to lead 5-3. Nadal immediately struck back in the following game to get back on serve, but his reprieve was only temporary as Djokovic broke again in the 10th game to seal the set with a backhand winner cross court.

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Nadal was immediately under pressure in the early stages of the second set and fell behind 0-2 as he sliced a backhand wide on break point. Determined not to surrender his title without a fight, though, the Spaniard straightaway pegged Djokovic back as the Serb committed costly errors in the third game.

With the tension mounting at the close of the second set it was Djokovic who stepped up his game to force the issue. The right-hander battered Nadal from the baseline to earn three match points at 0/40 on the Spaniard’s serve in the 10th game and, although unable to convert any of those three, he capitalised on a fourth opportunity to claim victory in two hours and 12 minutes.

“I was amazed the way I was going to be under the circumstances and the conditions that I was,” Djokovic said. “[It was a] really hard match last night against a player that was playing great. I was on the verge of losing a match and I was coming back and to be able to perform perhaps my best tennis on clay courts and he is the number one player in world history and just amazing. I am still trying to enjoy this victory.”

Despite the loss, Nadal drew positives from his performance in Rome: “My level felt much better today than it did in Madrid. I was able to go inside the court and move well and to play more aggressive, and I think I did. I am not disappointed about my match and I am not sad tonight. We will try next time.”

Victory marked Djokovic’s second triumph at the Foro Italico, having first lifted the trophy in 2008 with victory over Stanislas Wawrinka. Also runner-up to Nadal in the 2009 final, the Serb improved to an 18-3 tournament mark.

“I am most happy about the game this year on clay,” he said. “The way I was fighting all the way, I am confident and aware and [have] self-belief that I can win against the top players.”

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:29 AM
DUSSELDORF 2011

GERMANY 2, ARGENTINA 1

Germany won a record fifth Power Horse World Team Cup title on Saturday at the Dusseldorf Rochusclub with a 2-1 victory over defending champion Argentina in the final. The host nation became the first country to win the title five times in the tournament’s 34-year history.

After the two singles rubbers had been shared earlier in the day, it fell to Philipp Kohlschreiber and Philipp Petzschner to clinch the tie for Germany as they defeated Juan Ignacio Chela and Maximo Gonzalez 6-3, 7-6(5) in the deciding doubles rubber.

"Every title is important, but a team title is something very special in tennis," said Kohlschreiber. "We have a great team, it’s real fun. I lost my singles match, but I came out strongly for the doubles and it’s great to have a happy ending. We’ve been looking forward to this event because we knew we had a great team spirit and this success is a really great honour for everybody."

"The world team title is a great success for all of us," declared Petzschner. "We wanted to present ourselves well and did it. It’s been a great experience throughout the whole week. It was a great team effort making it to the final and then succeeding today; it’s just a great feeling. For us the tournament was not just preparation for Paris, we desperately wanted that title."

It was the third time that Germany and Argentina had contested the final of the ATP World Tour Team Championship, and the third time that Germany had triumphed over its South American rivals, having also prevailed in the 2005 and 1989 finals.

World No. 21 Florian Mayer had made an emphatic start for Germany as he defeated Argentine Juan Monaco 7-6(4), 6-0 in one hour and 33 minutes. Victory for Mayer, his 26th of the season, meant he will rise to a new career-high of No. 20 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings on Monday.

"Today I played for the Top 20. I was extremely motivated and am happy that I achieved my goal. The first set was very tough with just a few points being decisive. The second set was much easier," reflected Mayer. "The World Team Championship enjoys a really great importance in our team because we play in Germany and in front of German crowds."

Juan Ignacio Chela had then hit back for defending champion Argentina in the second singles rubber as he overcame Kohlschreiber 6-4, 7-6(4) in a match lasting just shy of two hours. The 31-year-old Buenos Aires native was on the winning Argentina side that triumphed in 2007.

"We lost in the final, but for us it was a great week; I’m really happy that we reached the final," said Chela. "I won all four of my matches so I go to Paris very confident."

Argentina had advanced to the final for the seventh time after topping the Red Group with a perfect 3-0 record, and was also bidding to win a record fifth title in Dusseldorf.

"We lost the final against a very difficult opponent, but we are very proud of what we did this week," said Monaco. "We have a lot of passion to win this tournament, but Germany played very well and really deserved it."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:29 AM
NICE 2011

World No. 12 Nicolas Almagro confirmed his status as an outside contender for Roland Garros when he won his third ATP World Tour clay-court title of the season on Saturday. The Spaniard came from a set down to defeat Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 in the final of the Open de Nice Côte d’Azur.

“I think I’m ready for Roland Garros," declared Almagro. "I want to rest a little bit now, tomorrow I want to practise, and we’ll see what happens on Tuesday. It’s the most important clay-court tournament of the year and I go with a lot of confidence in my tennis and we’ll see what I can do in Paris.”

Almagro has enjoyed a career-best start to the season, highlighted by breaking the Top 10 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings for the first time on 25 April. In February he went on a 13-match winning streak during the Latin American “Golden Swing”, taking in back-to-back titles in Costa do Sauipe (d. Dolgopolov) and Buenos Aires (d. Chela) before finishing runner-up to David Ferrer in Acapulco.

As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament in Nice, Almagro received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings points and € 72,600 in prize money.

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The Murcia native goes into Roland Garros as the No. 11 seed and opens his campaign against Poland’s Lukasz Kubot. He is a two-time quarter-finalist in Paris, losing out to Rafael Nadal both times in 2008 and 2010.

Almagro was made to work hard for victory in his fourth meeting with the No. 69-ranked Hanescu. After three service breaks were exchanged, the Romanian clinched the opening set on a tie-break. Almagro hit back strongly in the second set, though, breaking serve twice and only dropping four points on his own delivery to level the match.

Hanescu struck first in the deciding set, breaking in the first game. However, Almagro immediately levelled and went on to break the 6’6’’ Romanian’s serve decisively in the sixth game before claiming victory in two hours and 18 minutes.

“I feel good. I’m very happy with the victory today," said Almagro. "I think I didn’t play my best tennis at the beginning of the match, but in the second set I started to play better, hitting my forehand with more confidence, and finally I was able to win the match."

The 25-year-old Almagro captured his 10th ATP World Tour title in his 13th final and became just the third player this season to win at least three tour-level titles (Novak Djokovic – 7, Robin Soderling -3).

The 29-year-old Hanescu was contesting his first ATP World Tour final since finishing runner-up in Casablanca last year. He dropped to a 1-4 record in ATP World Tour finals, with his lone title coming on clay in Gstaad in 2008.

“He was running a lot, hitting good shots; I think he deserved to win," reflected Hanescu. "He was better than me in some important moments. I came here to play some matches and get used to the conditions, so I’m happy to play the final.”

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:30 AM
FRENCH OPEN 2011

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal won a record-equalling sixth Roland Garros crown on Sunday as he defeated rival Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-1 in Sunday’s final in Paris.

The 25-year-old Nadal joined Bjorn Borg as the second player in history to win six titles at the clay-court Grand Slam championship. The Spaniard won four successive titles from 2005-2008 (defeating Federer in the ’06-’08 finals) and regained his trophy last year with victory over Robin Soderling.

"For me it's something very special to equal the six titles of Bjorn, for sure," said Nadal. "But for me, the most important thing is to win Roland Garros. It's really an honour to have this record with him. I am going to keep working to be here next year and to try to play well another time."

Victory for Nadal guarantees him the No. 1 spot in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings on Monday. Had Federer won, Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic would have climbed to the top of the rankings.

Just three days after his 25th birthday, Nadal won his 10th major singles title in his 12th final. In addition to his six victories in Paris, the Mallorcan has won Wimbledon twice, in 2008 and 2010, he lifted the Australian Open trophy in 2009, and last year completed the career Grand Slam with victory at the US Open. His only defeats in Grand Slam finals have come against Federer, at Wimbledon in 2006-2007.

He is the second youngest player, behind Borg to win 10 Grand Slam championships; Borg was 24 years and 30 days old when he won his 10th title at 1980 Wimbledon. The Swede was also just one day younger than Nadal when he won his sixth Roland Garros title in 1981.

Nadal came into Roland Garros having fallen slightly short of his perfect standards from the year before. In 2010 the left-hander had completed a clean sweep of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournaments in Monte-Carlo, Madrid and Rome, but this year was beaten by Djokovic in the finals at Madrid and Rome.

The Manacor native was then taken to five sets at Roland Garros for the first time when American John Isner forced him to fight back from two-sets-to-one down in the first round. He fought through his early difficulties, though, and it was vintage Nadal who dismantled Andy Murray in the semi-finals before defeating Federer in three hours and 40 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier on Sunday.

"What I said one week ago is I am going to put in everything to try to change the situation, to try to play better, and that's what I did,' said Nadal. "I try my best in every moment with the right attitude all the time, so finally I was able to play my best when I needed my best.

"So for that reason, today I am here with the trophy. [I am] very happy for that. It's a big personal satisfaction to win this tournament, especially when you started without playing your best. My mind was open to change the situation, so that makes the victory probably more special. So in general, [I am] very, very happy for everything."

World No. 3 Federer was bidding to win his 17th major title and triumph at Roland Garros for the second time, having beaten Soderling in the 2009 final to complete the career Grand Slam. It was his fourth runner-up finish at Roland Garros, and his seventh defeat in a major final – all have come at the hands of Nadal.

"When I went into the rain delay, I was down basically two sets almost," reflected Federer. "I almost saved myself, but I'm very competitive, and I thought he was getting tired throughout the third set and also in the fourth. It was unfortunate I couldn't take my chances early on in the fourth. Rafa played well and deserved the win today.

"Today was a very good match. Overall obviously I'm very happy about the tournament. Obviously you should be disappointed after losing in a Grand Slam final. Obviously I feel that a little bit today. He's a great champion on clay especially, and I am happy with my tournament."

The Swiss, who had been somewhat eclipsed by the achievements of Nadal and Djokovic in the lead-up to Roland Garros, hit his stride in Paris as he advanced to the final having spent just 12 hours and 52 minutes on court, compared to 17 hours and 17 minutes for Nadal. In the semi-finals, Federer had ended Djokovic’s 41-match winning streak in 2011 with victory in four sets to reach his first Grand Slam final since beating Murray at the 2010 Australian Open.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:31 AM
HALLE 2011

World No. 49 Philipp Kohlschreiber captured his third ATP World Tour title on Sunday, and his second on home soil, as he defeated Philipp Petzschner in an all-German final at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle. Kohlschreiber had been leading 7-6(5), 2-0 when Petzschner was forced to retire with a lower back injury.

Victory this week marked a turnaround in fortunes for the 27-year-old Kohlschreiber, who went into Halle with a 15-14 match record on the season and just two quarter-final showings. The Augsburg native found his form on the grass, ousting defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the quarter-finals before toppling No. 3 seed Gael Monfils in the semi-finals.

"I think it was a fantastic week," said Kohlschreiber. "Every day I played a great match. Of course, the final ended quite short, but overall the week was great and to win in Germany is fantastic.

"It ended so quickly. So I wasn’t really feeling like a winner, but it was the best time for a victory. As you could see before, I really worked hard here, I tried to play good tennis here. It hasn’t worked that well this year until now. I never had a real success, so the win came in the right moment for me."

A disappointed Petzschner said, "This was a day to celebrate German tennis. I don’t think it would have been a problem for me had I lost in a tight match, I would have been proud of my performance. But to give up such a final, and then here, that’s incredibly bitter."

Kohlschreiber created the only break point chance in the first set at 5-5, but was unable to convert in a set that was dominated by strong serving performances by both players. In the deciding tie-break, Kohlschreiber established a 6-4 lead and converted his second set point as Petzschner committed a rare backhand unforced error.

However, the No. 71-ranked Petzschner was troubled by a lower back injury and received treatment at the end of the first set. The 27 year old attempted to carry on in the second set, but after going down an early break of serve, was forced to concede.

"I felt kind of nervous playing another German in the final and I knew he’d played a great week as well," reflected Kohlschreiber. "I knew what was coming. He was serving big, so I didn’t have so many chances, but I started to push up my level at the end of the first set and played some really good points in the tie-break. It was very important to win the first set, then maybe the early break and his injury forced him to stop earlier than if he had

won the first set maybe."

As victor of the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tennis tournament, Kohlschreiber received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and €114,750 in prize money. It is the first time the right-hander has triumphed at the Gerry Weber Stadion, having finished runner-up to Roger Federer in the 2008 final.

His first two ATP World Tour titles came on clay in Munich (d. Youzhny) four years ago, and on hard court in Auckland (d. Ferrero) in 2008. He improved to a 3-6 record in ATP World Tour finals.

Former World No. 35 Petzschner was looking to win his second ATP World Tour title, adding to the trophy he won indoors in Vienna (d. Monfils) three years ago. Like Kohlschreiber, the Bayreuth had also struggled to find his best form in the first five months of the season, with his best result a semi-final showing in Munich (l. to Mayer). This week he had beaten No. 8 seed Milos Raonic and 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych to reach the final.

"Both of us played solid tennis, we both served really well," described Petzschner. "And then out of the blue I’m serving and I notice that something is wrong. The more balls I hit the more obvious it became that I couldn’t finish the match like this. Not on a normal level anyway, I could have just stood in court, but that doesn’t make any sense. Maybe I would have really hurt myself then, or something really bad happens that costs me another eight or 10 weeks."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:31 AM
QUEENS 2011

World No. 4 and home favourite Andy Murray captured his 17th ATP World Tour title on Monday as he defeated France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 in the final of the AEGON Championships at The Queen’s Club in London.

The Scot became the first British player to win multiple titles at The Queen’s Club since Francis Gordon Lowe triumphed in 1913-14 and 1925. Murray won his first ATP World Tour grass-court title at The Queen’s Club in 2009, with victory over James Blake. He is the eighth player in the Open Era to win at least two titles at the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tennis tournament.

Murray received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and €77,500. He won his first ATP World Tour title since triumphing at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Shanghai (d. Federer) in October 2010.

"It's been one of the most fun weeks for me because the tennis, the last two matches was very good," said Murray. "It was relaxing. I said everyone thinks at this period of the year it's so stressful, you can't play, you can't enjoy yourself, you can't do anything. But I felt like I expressed myself on the court. I felt like I was hitting the ball really good. I enjoyed it."

With Wimbledon just a week away, 'Murray Mania' is set to kick off at SW19 over the next week, with the Dunblane native hoping to become the seventh player in the Open Era to win the Queen’s-Wimbledon double. Rafael Nadal was the last man to do so in 2008; before him, Lleyton Hewitt in 2002.

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"I'm going to Wimbledon with the feeling that I'm going to win the tournament," said Murray. "I don't think you can go in with any other attitude. I feel like I'm playing good tennis. I'll need to improve the next week or so and work on some things going into Wimbledon.

"But I need to play my best tennis throughout the tournament to be able to do that. I'll be switched on for the first match. [I'm] really look forward to the next five or six days to get ready for it, because for me, it's one of the most important tournaments of the year, if not the most."

Murray has been a runner-up in three Grand Slam finals, most recently at this year’s Australian Open in January, when he lost out to Novak Djokovic. The 24 year old has put together a 22-8 mark on the season, also reaching the semi-finals on clay at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal), and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Monte-Carlo (l. to Nadal) and Rome (l. to Djokovic).

Having delivered a masterclass to dismiss four-time champion Andy Roddick in the semi-finals on Saturday, Murray was given a much sterner test by Tsonga, who ousted World No. 1 Nadal in the quarter-finals.

The Frenchman saved a break point in the third game, and made Murray rue his missed opportunity by attacking the Scot in the sixth game to break through and lead 4-2. Murray had two chances to break back in the ninth game as Tsonga served for the set, but he was out-muscled by the Frenchman who clinched the opener.

Tsonga continued to frustrate Murray in the second set by producing his best tennis on the break points. The fifth seed denied Murray four break point chances in the eighth game, and nearly caught Murray out in the 11th game, only just failing to convert break point as a teetering net cord dropped back on his own side. In the ensuing tie-break, Tsonga paid the price for a drop in his first serve percentage and Murray took full advantage, levelling the match with a 7-2 score line.

"I think I did a good job today of staying calm," said Murray. "I had a lot of chances on his serve. I could have returned his second serve a little bit better. [I] played a really good tie-break. I think I played better than him in the third set. But [the] first two sets, he was playing very well."

After squandering two break points in the third game of the deciding set, Murray finally made his breakthrough on Tsonga’s serve in the fifth game, taking his 10th break point as he forced Tsonga into a forehand error. Having been impenetrable on serve since the first set, Murray held on to close out victory.

The 26-year-old Tsonga was looking to become the first French player to lift the winner’s trophy at the Queen’s Club in the tournament’s illustrious history (since 1890). He is the fourth Frenchman to lose out in the final in the Open Era.

The 2008 Australian Open runner-up was also looking to end a title drought lasting nearly two years; his last trophy came at Tokyo (d. Youzhny) in October 2009.

"I'm disappointed to lose a final. It's difficult when you get this far and miss the last step," said Tsonga. "But I feel good with my game. He played well. I was aggressive but he was really strong today. He can read the serve really well, which makes it very difficult.

"For me anyway it was a good week. I haven't played at such a high level for a long time, so I'm excited about playing Wimbledon because I'm playing well now."

It was the third Monday final at The Queen's Club in the Open Era - also 1979 and 1987. Fans queued from 2 a.m. on Monday morning to get hold of the 1,000 tickets available on the gate.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:32 AM
HERTODENBOSCH 2011

Former Top 20 player Dmitry Tursunov won his first ATP World Tour title since June 2009 as he defeated Ivan Dodig 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the UNICEF Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch on Saturday.

The Russian has been sidelined for much of the past two years, after undergoing three ankle surgeries. His last ATP World Tour title had also come on grass, at the AEGON International in Eastbourne (d. Dancevic) in 2009. He improved to a 7-2 record in ATP World Tour finals.

"I’ve had a lot of good results this year, but not on the ATP [level]," said Tursunov. "The start of the year was horrendous for me, in Australia I didn’t do very well and I definitely didn’t expect myself to be doing the way I’m doing right now. After being in tennis a long time now, I understand one week can be terrible and one week can be great. I happened to do all the right things at the right moments this week and I won."

The 28-year-old Tursunov began the season just inside the Top 200 of the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, but had risen to No. 70 prior to his run in ‘s-Hertogenbosch on the back of strong ATP Challenger Tour results. As victor of the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament, the Russian received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and €68,850 in prize money.

In his first meeting with Dodig, Tursunov showed his superior finals experience and made a fast start, breaking to lead 3-1 before going on to close out the opening set. The match was suspended due to rain at 2-2 in the second set, and when play resumed 75 minutes later, Tursunov romped through the final four games in just 16 minutes to claim victory.

"At 5-3, 30/30 [in the first set] he had an overhead that he basically hit to my racquet, that was definitely a very important point. Had he won that, I was a little nervous at that time..." said Tursunov. "I came out at 2-2 [after the rain delay] and was playing pretty aggressive. I knew that I had to play aggressive, but also within my limitations. I think my experience to deal with situations like that might have helped me a little bit today."

World No. 42 Dodig was bidding for his second ATP World Tour title, both of the season and his career, after victory on home soil at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors (d. Berrer) in February.

The Croatian, who ousted second seed Marcos Baghdatis in the semi-finals on Friday, dropped to a 21-12 match record on the season. As well as winning the Zagreb title in his career-best start to the season, Dodig also reached the semi-finals in Barcelona (l. to Nadal) and the quarter-finals in Delray Beach (l. to Tipsarevic).

"It was tough today. We started and then we stopped," said Dodig. "I think in the second set, until the rain started, I was finding my game. But in the end, he was much better today on the court and he deserved to win. I was really enjoying it here, this tournament, and I'm very happy with the results."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:32 AM
EASTBOURNE 2011

In a battle between players bidding for their first ATP World Tour title, World No. 51 Andreas Seppi came out on top Saturday at the AEGON International in Eastbourne, defeating No. 3 seed Janko Tipsarevic 7-6(5), 3-6, 5-3 after the Serbian retired late in the match with a right hip injury. The Italian battled past Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 earlier in the day after rain washed out all of Friday’s action at the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court event. "It's for sure a special moment for me," said Seppi. "I didn't expect to win my first title on grass, but I really enjoy playing on this surface."

After splitting the first two sets, Seppi raced to a 4-0 lead in the final set, before rain struck, halting play yet again. Tipsarevic took full advantage of the delay, and clawed back to get on serve, to 3-4. However, the Serb lost serve again and subsequently retired from the match after two hours and 35 minutes of play.

Appearing in his second ATP World Tour final (2007 Gstaad), Seppi was just 7-11 in tour level events in 2011 entering Eastbourne, and hadn’t won back-to-back matches on the ATP World Tour since reaching the round of 16 at the Shanghai Rolex Masters last October (l. to Federer). "It's a good feeling. It was just my second final... I played a lot of semis and I was also close to winning my first title in 2007, where I was serving for the match and lost. It's a special feeling to win the first title and I hope that I can enjoy it for a few days," Seppi told ATPWorldTour.com

Tipsarevic, boasting a career-high ranking of No. 30 this week, drops to a 0-4 finals record with the loss. He finished runner-up in Delray Beach this year (l. to Del Potro) and was a finalist at ‘s-Hertogenbosch in 2010 and Moscow in 2009. "I have to accept it, I lost. He was the better player than me today," admitted Tipsarevic.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:33 AM
WIMBLEDON 2011

Novak Djokovic captured the Wimbledon title for the first time on Sunday as he dethroned defending champion Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in the final of The 125th Championships at the All England Club.

"It has been the best day of my life, most special day of my life," declared Djokovic. "I always dreamed of winning this tournament. I think I’m still dreaming. When you are playing the best player in the world, Rafa Nadal, who has won two of last three Wimbledons, I had to be on top of my game and I think I played my best grass-court match ever."

Not only has Djokovic taken Nadal’s Wimbledon crown, but the Serb will also unseat the Spaniard from his 56-week reign at the top of the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings when the new numbers are released on Monday. He will be the fourth player to debut at No. 1 after winning a major, and the first to do so following a Wimbledon victory.

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Djokovic will be the 25th player to reach No. 1 and the first person other than Nadal or Roger Federer to hold down the top spot since Andy Roddick held the ranking for 13 weeks from 3 November 2003 to 2 February 2004. He is also the one to break the Nadal-Federer eight-year stronghold at Wimbledon since Lleyton Hewitt claimed the 2002 title.

"I just want to congratulate Novak and his team for the victory today and his amazing season," said Nadal. "Always Wimbledon for me was the most special tournament, just to be here is a dream. When I won here in 2008 the emotions was very high, so I can imagine how he is feeling. I will try another time next year."

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The 24-year-old Djokovic captured the second Grand Slam title of his phenomenal season. He has compiled a 48-1 record, taking in the Australian Open (d. Murray) crown and four ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies among his eight tour-level titles.

It was the third Grand Slam title of his career, with his two triumphs this season adding to his victory at the 2008 Australian Open (d. Tsonga). He is also a two-time runner-up at the US Open, losing to Roger Federer in 2007 and Nadal in 2010, when the Spaniard completed the career Grand Slam.

Between them, Djokovic and Nadal have dominated the 2011 season, with Nadal claiming his 10th Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, the venue where Djokovic suffered his only defeat of the year in the semi-finals (l. to Federer). Consequently both are assured of their places at the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, an elite eight-player tournament held at The O2 in London.

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In claiming victory, Djokovic extended his winning streak over Nadal to five straight matches, closing the gap in the Spaniard’s FedEx ATP Head2Head lead to 16-12. He also defeated the Mallorcan in the finals of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome. However, until today, Nadal had held a 5-0 record over Djokovic in their Grand Slam meetings.

The 25-year-old Nadal was bidding to win the Wimbledon trophy for the third time, having previously triumphed in 2008 (d. Federer) and 2010 (d. Berdych). He saw his 20-match winning streak at the All England Club come to an end as he suffered defeat in the title match for the third time, having also lost to Federer in the 2006-2007 finals. The left-hander also had the chance to join Bjorn Borg as the only two players in the Open Era to win the Roland Garros – Wimbledon double three times.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:34 AM
NEWPORT 2011

American John Isner became the first top seed to win the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships since its inauguration in 1976 when he defeated Olivier Rochus 6-3, 7-6(7) on Sunday in Newport.

The 26-year-old Isner won his first ATP World Tour title of the season and the second of his career, after lifting the trophy in Auckland (d. Clement) in January 2010; he has a 2-4 record in finals. Victory also marked Isner’s 100th tour-level win (100-80 record).

Isner took a late wild card into Newport, forcing him to miss his brother, Nathan’s wedding in Virginia on Saturday. "I told myself that I was going to take the wild card here and the only way I was going to miss the wedding was if I got to the semi-finals," he said. "But it definitely turned out to be a great decision and I owe a huge thanks to Mark Stenning for the wild card. It’s the perfect start to the summer and I really feel like my best surface is the hard courts in the U.S. so I’m going to have a lot of confidence from this."

In a match that featured the biggest-ever height differential in an ATP World Tour final, 6’9’’ Isner fired 22 aces as he dispatched 5’6’’ Rochus in one hour and 42 minutes. The right-hander converted his fifth break point to take a 5-3 lead in the first set and closed out his advantage. He squandered five further break points in the second set, but prevailed in the decisive tie-break.

"I don’t think I’ve ever had a better week serving," said Isner. "I just served excellently. I’m fortunate to have that weapon and I was in a groove for five matches. It carried me to the championship here. This court, this tournament, was perfect serving conditions for me."

Rochus agreed that Isner’s serve played a huge factor in the final. “He played great,” stated Rochus. “I think in the second I was very close. In the tie-break I had some chances and came back. At 6-all I missed this really easy forehand. Then he aced me again. I tried my best. I didn’t serve so well today. Otherwise I was really playing solid, very good, but I think the serve made a difference.”

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The American became the third successive homegrown winner at the ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tennis tournament and received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and $76,500.

It has been a turnaround week for Isner, who had dropped to World No. 46 after beginning the season at No. 19. Coming in to Newport, he had won back-to-back tour-level matches only twice in the first six months.

"This year I haven’t had great results," admitted Isner. "The last time I won back-to-back matches was Miami. So it’s huge on any level, but especially on this level, to win five matches in a row. This game is all about confidence, so I’ll definitely take this into my next event and events after that."

The 30-year-old Rochus lost out in the Newport final for the second year in a row, having been beaten by Mardy Fish in 2010. The Belgian was contesting his ninth ATP World Tour final, his first since the 2010 Newport title match, and dropped to a 2-7 mark. His two titles came on clay at Palermo (d. Nargiso) in 2000 and Munich (d. Vliegen) in 2006.

“I had a very good tournament,” said Rochus. “My level was very good all week. He was better than me today. A bigger serve. I’m proud of [myself], again to be in the final here two times in a row. It’s fantastic. I think today he didn’t get the final very easy. He had to fight to the last point.”

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:35 AM
STUTGART 2011

Former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero reminded his rivals he still has what it takes to win on the ATP World Tour when the 31-year-old Spaniard captured his 16th tour-level title at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart.

The World No. 85, who was contesting just his third tournament of the year this week, defeated fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-4, 6-0 in 80 minutes on Sunday in his 34th final (16-18 overall record).

“It’s been a dream for me this week,” said Ferrero. “This first tournament playing here [after] a very long year at home, practising zero, so I came here with no goals. Now I am the winner of the tournament. I’m very happy. I take a lot of confidence in myself again. I can believe that I can win tournaments again after the injury. That is the most important thing. The knee responds very well, so everything’s perfect.”

It was the first all-Spanish final in Stuttgart since 1979. Ferrero is the seventh different Spaniard to lift the trophy, joining Jose Higueras (1983), Alberto Berasategui (1994), Alex Corretja (1997), Rafael Nadal (2005 and 2007), David Ferrer (2006) and Albert Montanes (2010).

Ferrero earned 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings points, €68,850 in prize money and a Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 BlueEFFICIENCY car, which he presented to his father Eduardo during the on-court trophy ceremony. Eduardo had joined his son on-site in Stuttgart throughout the week.

“I knew here we win the car, so it’s one thing I wanted to do,” said Ferrero. “And today I think my father is very happy about it.”

The start of the final was delayed by more than two hours. There were three service breaks in the first six games, with Ferrero taking a 2-0 and 4-2 lead. Andujar saved two set points at 3-5, but Ferrero was not to be denied. He won 18 of his 28 service points, closing out the 45-minute opener with an ace.

Ferrero converted his fourth break point opportunities in the first game of the second set and never looked back, as Andujar hit four double faults and won 15 points.

“I started the match very strong, very aggressive all the time with my forehand and with my backhand, and I put a lot of pressure on him all the time,” said Ferrero. “The second I didn’t let my level down, so I stayed motivated all the time and played aggressive till the end.”

Ferrero improves to an 8-2 match record on the season, disrupted by wrist and knee injuries.

“After what I’ve been passing at home, recovering very slow all the time, staying 10 months at home, it was very difficult to come here and win,” he admitted. “When I was playing first round, I could not imagine that I would win the tournament. For me it’s a big surprise and I’m very happy about it.”

World No. 55 Andujar, who picked up his first ATP World Tour title at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca (d. Starace) in April, came into Stuttgart on a four-match losing streak. He drops to a 18-16 season mark.

“He [played] the best match of the week,” stated Andujar. “I thought I had a chance to beat him before going to the court, but after the first set I started to get a bit nervous because he was not missing, he wasn’t making long rallies, he was fighting every ball, and for me it was difficult. I didn’t stay at that level, and finally he won.”

The 25-year-old Andujar - now 1-2 in ATP World Tour finals - picked up 150 South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings points, €36,250 and was gracious in defeat. “I’m playing solid and I played a really good week for me. I lost to a former World No. 1. It’s tough for me, but still I’m happy – happy for him as well because I know he had a tough time [coming back from injury].”

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:36 AM
BASTAD 2011

Top-seeded Swede Robin Soderling produced a stellar performance to beat No. 2 seed David Ferrer of Spain 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday to capture his second SkiStar Swedish Open title in three years.

World No. 5 Soderling, appearing in his third straight Bastad final, earned 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings points and €72,600 in prize money, with victory in just 69 minutes. It was his fourth ATP World Tour title of the season. He is now 10-10 overall in title matches.

"It has been a great week for me," said Soderling. "I am really satisfied with the way I played, from the first point to the last point in this tournament. I played really good tennis and played my best tennis at the most important moments. It has been a dream week.

"I feel really good. Now finally, my body feels good. I struggled a little bit with some injuries the past couple of months. My confidence is really good. I am going to work hard now and hopefully I can do well in the [United] States."

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The start of the pair's 14th meeting was delayed due to rain, but at 4:33 p.m. local time, action got underway on Centre Court. Soderling broke Ferrer to 15 in the first game and to 30 in the seventh game, before he clinched the 30-minute opener when Ferrer hit a backhand return into the net. Soderling lost five points on his serve and hit three aces in the first set.

Soderling could have taken a 5-0 second-set lead, but Ferrer saved three break points before securing his fifth game point. The Spaniard, who beat Nicolas Almagro for the 2007 title, broke Soderling to 15 in the next game. But Soderling regained his composure to break serve for a fifth time in the match. An ace, followed by a forehand winner earned Soderling his 38th match win of the year.

The 26-year-old Soderling lost just 13 games in four matches at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament this week. In 2009, he beat Juan Monaco for the title and was runner-up to Almagro last year.

Soderling has also won ATP World Tour titles at the Brisbane International (d. Roddick), the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. Tsonga) and the Open 13 in Marseille (d. Cilic) so far this season, compiling a 38-9 record overall (16-5 on clay).

"I've won at least one title with all of my coaches, [so] it seems like I could pick anyone," joked Soderling in the press conference. "We've (Fredrik Rosengren and I) had some good results since we started working together, but it's not until now that everything has come together."

Ferrer was bidding to lift his 12th tour-level title and record his 40th match win of the year (39-11 overall). The 29-year-old Spaniard takes home €38,200 in prize money and earns 150 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points.

"Robin played a really good match," said World No. 6 Ferrer. "I didn't really have a chance. He is better than me and he was too good today. Sometimes I can play better, other times worse.

"I have played well the past two weeks in the Davis Cup and reaching the final here. I am not thinking of breaking into the Top 5. I just want to keep enjoying my tennis."

It was the first No. 1-2 seeded final in Bastad since 2006, when No. 2 Tommy Robredo defeated No. 1 Nikolay Davydenko.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:36 AM
ATLANTA 2011

In a rematch of the 2010 Atlanta Tennis Championships final, World No. 9 Mardy Fish saved two match points against John Isner, defeating his compatriot 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 to repeat as champion on Sunday.

Isner served for the second set up 6-4 in the tie-break, but Fish strung together four straight points to force a third set. "When you're in that position, it's almost over," Fish said afterwards. "I was lucky to get out of it. I stuck some returns and put some balls in play. I played some good points from then on."

Added Isner, "In hindsight, I should have served and volleyed on the second serve. He got it in play and I went for too big of a backhand and missed it by a lot. He played the point well and the next two points, he served two really good serves."

Fish quickly grabbed the momentum, breaking Isner’s serve and holding at love to move ahead 2-0. A double fault by Isner gave the top seed an insurance break in the seventh game and he finished off the 26 year old Greensboro native to win his first crown of the year. "It feels great to win here again and start off the summer like I did last year," said a pleased Fish. "This year, it was a bit different coming in as the top seeded guy. You're sort of in the position where everyone is looking for you, knows where you are, so it feels great to come through today and all week."

The title is Fish’s sixth overall in 18 final appearances, and it’s the first time he’s successfully defended a championship. He improves to a 3-1 record against Isner, winning all three of their meetings on hard courts. Each of their four encounters has gone three sets. "The goal is to do better than last summer, and last summer was better than I had ever done before," stated Fish.

"I want to stay in the Top 10 for as long as I can and keep bettering my career high ranking and do things I've never done before. Today is one of them as I had never defended a title before, so it's another milestone for me."

Isner’s loss snaps his eight match winning streak – he won his second career title two weeks ago at the Campbell’s Hall Of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport. The 6’ 9’’ American drops to 2-5 in ATP World Tour finals; all of his losses have come to his American peers. "The match was in my hands. I was up a set and a break... it's as simple as that," said a disappointed Isner.

"I've lost five finals in my career - two to Mardy, two to Sam [Querrey] and one to Andy [Roddick], and arguably could have won every single match. This is the second where I've had match points and the other ones I've been one or two points away. I don't know what it is... I keep coming up a little short when I play a friend."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:37 AM
HAMBURG 2011

World No. 18 Gilles Simon won his second ATP World Tour title of the season on Sunday as he battled past No. 14 Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the final of the bet-at-home Open – German Tennis Championships 2011 in Hamburg.

Simon is the first Frenchman to win the title at the ATP World Tour 500 clay-court tennis tournament since Henri Leconte 25 years ago (d. Mecir). He earned €230,000 and 500 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points, which will move him up to World No. 11; he began the season at No. 44. "I feel very, very good. I had to win so many tough matches this week," Simon told ATPWorldTour.com. "Today, the final was really hard to win. I had to play my best tennis to win and I'm proud to win this tournament."

The 26-year-old Simon was also victorious at the Medibank International Sydney in January and has now won nine ATP World Tour titles; this was his first clay-court victory since winning the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Bucharest in 2008 (d. Moya).

The fifth-seeded Simon clinched the first set against Almagro after breaking the Spaniard’s serve in the fifth game. However he quickly fell behind in the second set as the third-seeded Almagro raced to a 3-0 lead and had points for a double break.

The Spaniard was unable to convert, though, and Simon seized the initiative to mount a comeback, reeling off four straight games to lead by a break at 4-3. Almagro stopped the run of games against him by breaking to level at 4-4, and forced a deciding set as he claimed the next two games.

Undeterred, Simon did not let the disappointment linger and broke decisively at the start of the third set before going on claim the hard-fought victory in two hours and 38 minutes. "It was a high intensity final. I think Nicolas played very good tennis, very consistent," said Simon. "I knew before he could hit very hard, but also, he didn't miss anything, so I really had to fight hard on every point. We played almost three hours and it was a really, really hard match."

"I think the first game of the third set, I didn't play my best tennis. That game, I made three mistakes in the important moments," admitted Almagro. "He played really well. I had many break points and didn't do anything on many of them. Congratulations to him as he played really good all week."

The 25-year-old Almagro went into the final with an ATP World Tour-best 30 clay-court match wins this season. The Murcia native, who will move into the Top 10 on Monday, was bidding for his fourth clay-court crown of the season, having triumphed at the Brasil Open in Costa do Sauipe (d. Dolgopolov), the Copa Claro in Buenos Aires (d. Chela) and the Open de Nice Côte d’Azur (d. Hanescu). He also finished runner-up at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco (d. Ferrer). "I'm happy with my level of tennis on clay all year," Almagro said. "I was champion at three tournaments and reached two finals. When you're in a final, you want to win, but today was impossible because he was better than me in the important moments."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:38 AM
GSTAAD 2011

Eighth seed Marcel Granollers defeated fourth seed Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in an all-Spanish final on Sunday at the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad to win his second ATP World Tour title.

The 25-year-old Granollers capped a dream week, which also saw him defeat second seed Stanislas Wawrinka and third seed Mikhail Youzhny, to become the seventh different Spanish winner on the ATP World Tour this season. He earned 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and €72,600 in prize money.

"Last week was bad for me because I felt a lot of pain in my arm, which I had felt since Wimbledon," revealed Granollers. "I went home and rested for five days without any practice, and I came here on Sunday and started to feel better and better. Now I have won the tournament and so it’s amazing.

"It’s very important for me because I won my first tournament in 2008, which was a little unexpected, and three years later I won here. So there is a lot of work behind today and I feel amazing."

In the fifth all-Spanish final on the ATP World Tour this year, and the first in Gstaad since 1997, Granollers dominate the first set, surrendering only four points on serve and converting one of his five break point chances to take the early lead.

Verdasco struck back with a decisive break of serve at the start of the second set to level the match, but it was Granollers who seized the initiative in the decider, breaking serve in the sixth game before claiming victory in two hours and 24 minutes.

"It was a very tough match because he’s an incredible player," said Granollers. "He’s won a lot of tournaments and it was very tough for me today. All week I served very well, especially today. I was very solid from the baseline and today I played the first set very aggressively."

Granollers was contesting the third ATP World Tour final of his career. He captured his first crown on clay in Houston three years ago (d. Blake) and finished runner-up to countryman David Ferrer on indoor hard courts in Valencia last November.

Former World No. 7 Verdasco was looking to win his first ATP World Tour title since triumphing in Barcelona (d. Soderling) in April 2010. The left-hander dropped to a 5-11 mark in ATP World Tour finals; he also lost out in the San Jose (l. to Raonic) and Estoril (l. to del Potro) title matches earlier this year.

Reflecting on the match, Verdasco said, "It was close, and when a match is like that, one or two points decide it. He played better than me on the important points and he served very good. He really deserved this victory, after having the pain in his arm the past few weeks and he didn’t even know if he would be able to play here. He played unbelievable all week, beat many good players, and today it was really tough just to return his serve.

"Of course it’s better to lose in the final than before the final," added the Madrid native. "But you always want to win, so it’s not easy to lose the final. I think I played well the whole week; it’s tough to play here with altitude. I just need to try not to let the negative part of losing the final get me down, and try to take the positive part and get the confidence and motivation for the upcoming tournaments.”

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:38 AM
LOS ANGELAS 2011

Latvian Ernests Gulbis defeated top seed Mardy Fish 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Farmers Classic on Sunday in Los Angeles to claim his second ATP World Tour title.

After double faulting to drop the first set, Gulbis elevated his game and converted the only break point opportunity in the second set to send the championship match into a deciding set.

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The World No. 84 opened the final set with a 5-1 lead but Fish won three straight games, and had an opportunity to even the set at 5-all. Gulbis denied the American’s hopes of a comeback, clinching the victory on his first match point to win his first title of the year in a two hour and 43 minute battle.

It marked the Latvian’s second hard court title, after triumphing at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships last year.

"It means a lot to me. It's my second title," said Gulbis. "It gives me a huge boost in confidence. Mardy is No. 9 in the world and today I played a good match."

Fish was looking to win back-to-back titles for the first time in his career, after defending his title at the Atlanta Tennis Championships a week ago.

"I've played a lot of matches the past month and half, so he came in a little bit fresher than me. I think that played a part," assessed Fish, "But credit to him. He played well when he needed to. He got those two breaks early [in the third set], clearly which was big. I almost got him in the end... it wasn't meant to be."

The win gave Gulbis his first victory over a Top 10 opponent this season. The loss dropped Fish to a 6-13 record in ATP World Tour finals.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:39 AM
UMAG 2011

Second seed Alexandr Dolgopolov became the seventh first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season when he defeated home favourite and fourth seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in Sunday’s final at the ATP Studena Croatia Open in Umag.

The 22-year-old Dolgopolov had finished runner-up to Nicolas Almagro in his first ATP World Tour final on clay in Costa do Sauipe in February. By winning the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament, he received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings points and €72,600 in prize money. He is the second Ukrainian winner in Umag, following Dimitri Poliakov's victory 20 years ago.

The six other first-time winners captured their titles in the first six months of the season, with Kevin Anderson winning in Johannesburg, Ivan Dodig winning in Zagreb, Milos Raonic winning in San Jose, Pablo Andujar winning in Casablanca, Ryan Sweeting winning in Houston and Andreas Seppi winning in Eastbourne.

"I was first in the rankings in Ukraine, but I hadn’t won a title and everyone was talking about that a bit," said Dolgopolov. "So I’m really happy that I eventually did win it, because I was playing pretty well for a year, but still I couldn’t manage to win a title. It’s a good moment. I’ll keep on working and try and get higher and higher in the rankings."

World No. 26 Dolgopolov came into his second Umag appearance on a poor run of form, having lost his past four matches. However, the right-hander hit his stride in Croatia, not dropping a set en route to the final, including victory over defending champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in the semi-finals.

In his first meeting with Cilic, Dolgopolov was strong on serve in the first set, winning 90 per cent of points behind his first serve, and converted one of his four break points to take the opener. With his sights set on winning a third ATP World Tour title on home soil, Cilic hit back to take the second set, but quickly fell behind a break in the third set. The fourth seed drew level at 3-3, but Dolgopolov soon regained the advantage and reeled off the final three games of the match to prevail in two hours and 14 minutes.

"It was a tough match," reflected Dolgopolov. "I got a bit nervous at the end and it was a nervous third set, so I’m happy I could win it. The key of the match was that I was playing my game, not waiting for him to make errors and I was doing that pretty well until I got a bit nervous. I think I was playing the right game, attacking a lot, making him run and it paid off."

Kiev-born Dolgopolov began the year at No. 48 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, but has made significant strides in the past seven months thanks to a quarter-final exit at the Australian Open (l. to Murray) and semi-final efforts in Acapulco (l. to Ferrer) and Nice (l. to Hanescu) to add to his final showing in Costa do Sauipe.

The 22-year-old Cilic was bidding to become the first Croatian winner in Umag since the tournament’s inaugural edition in 1990, when Goran Prpic defeated Goran Ivanisevic. The right-hander dropped to a 5-5 mark in ATP World Tour finals; he was looking to win his first trophy since winning the second of his two titles in Zagreb last February (d. Berrer).

"I’m really pleased with the way things went this week," said Cilic. "We haven’t had a Croatian in the final here for 21 years and it was a relief I think for all the tournament organisers and also for me to reach the final and be playing well at home."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:39 AM
KITZBUHEL 2011

World No. 53 Robin Haase captured his first ATP World Tour title on Saturday as he overcame the more experienced Albert Montanes, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 in the final of the Bet-At-Home Cup Kitzbühel.

The 24-year-old Dutchman, who was contesting his first ATP World Tour final, is the eighth first-time winner on the tour this year, and the second in as many weeks following Alexandr Dolgopolov’s victory in Umag last week.

As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament, Haase received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and €72,600 in prize money. The Hague native is the first Dutchman to win an ATP World Tour trophy since Martin Verkerk captured Amersfoort in 2004.

"It’s an amazing feeling. I’m really happy that I won," said Haase. "It was one of the goals this year to make it into a semi-final or final, and maybe win it. I was close a few times when I played good but actually lost to good players. To win this match and beat good players this week was really great."

Haase had impressed en route to the final, taking out second seed Feliciano Lopez and sixth seed Andreas Seppi in a heavy-duty Thursday, and held strong in the opening set of the final, withstanding five break points before breaking Montanes in the 10th game.

Former World No. 22 Montanes responded in the second set, breaking to lead 2-1. Haase drew level in the sixth game, but immediately surrendered his serve and Montanes went on to level the match. Undeterred, though, Haase raced to a 5-0 lead in the deciding set and confidently closed out victory in two hours.

"Definitely I served well from the beginning [of the week]," assessed Haase. "Today, actually, in the second set I served bad, but that was the only time and the rest of the tournament I served really, really well. Then I attacked with my forehand and I was defending really, really good this week, so I didn’t make a lot of unforced errors. I think was the key of this week."

The 30-year-old Montanes was contesting his 10th ATP World Tour final and dropped to a 5-5 record. Since losing his first four finals, he had gone unbeaten in five championships, most recently winning the MercedesCup in Stuttgart (d. Monfils) just over a year ago.

"It's a pity. But I knew that it was going to be difficult because he was playing very well during the whole week," said Montanes. "I played well too. I had my opportunities in the first set but couldn't take advantage of it.

"After winning the second set I started feeling a bit tired. The last few days were very intense; I played two matches during one day and against Juan [Ignacio Chela] it was a hard match too. I couldn't maintain my rhythm in the end and I have to congratulate Robin for a spectacular week here in Kitzbühel. I wish him the best for the future."

The Barcelona resident, who notched his 200th tour-level win on Friday, was bidding to become the eighth different Spanish winner on the ATP World Tour this season.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:40 AM
WASHINGTON 2011

Radek Stepanek upset No. 1 seed Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic on Sunday in Washington D.C. to capture his fifth singles title.

The former World No. 8, who entered the week ranked No. 54, collects $264,000 in prize money with victory at the ATP World Tour 500 tournament and is projected to move to around No. 30 in the in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings.

“It’s my biggest win in my career so far and it’s coming in the later stage of my career, so it means so much to me that I’m capable even in this age to play such great tennis, beating the guys from the Top 10 and winning the title,” said the Czech. “It’s really an amazing feeling.”

Stepanek broke the World No. 7 in the third game of the match to move ahead 2-1 and maintained his advantage, closing out the set with an ace.

The Czech converted a break of serve to start the second set, and again held onto his lead, wrapping up the victory in one hour and 33 minutes. Stepanek won 91 per cent of his first service points and did not face a break point.

“I wanted to be in control of the match, be the boss on the court, the one who is deciding what’s going on,” said Stepanek. “I was trying to come to the net because that was my game plan to be aggressive, put as many returns to the court as much as I can, and when I have the chance to attack. My game plan was working perfectly, and I was aggressive from the first point to the last one.”

The win snapped Stepanek’s two-match losing streak against Monfils, and he improved to a 3-5 record against the Frenchman. He is the first player from the Czech Republic to win the tournament in 19 years, after Petr Korda took home the crown in 1992. The 32 year old is also the oldest singles champion on the ATP World Tour this season.

“We are like wine. The older we are getting, the better we are,” he stated. “Until my body falls apart I’ll be trying to stay competitive in this level. It’s very difficult because all the guys are great at this; they’re moving very fast and, as we all know, the speed is leaving slowly, we cannot go against Mother Nature. But I’m very pleased and happy the work I’m putting in for many years is paying off and I’m still able to compete with the top guys.”

Stepanek was appearing in his first final since finishing runner-up to Andy Roddick in Brisbane in 2010. Prior to Sunday, the Czech last won a singles title in 2009, at the ATP World Tour 250 event in San Jose.

Monfils was contesting his first final of the year, earning his place in the championship match after saving match points against American John Isner in a late-night thriller Saturday.

“It’s a bit difficult the recovery, it’s pretty quick and fast,” Monfils admitted, “but still I think Radek played a tough match today. He was pretty aggressive and didn’t miss a lot of balls, so I think he played better than me today.”

He added about his performance in Washington: “I felt in great shape. I think my tennis started to be better and better. I think I had a great week, even if I didn’t catch the title, but still it’s a great week.”

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:41 AM
MONTREAL 2011

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic made history Sunday in Montreal, becoming the first player to win five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in one season after defeating American Mardy Fish 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the Rogers Cup final.

Djokovic, making his first appearance since Wimbledon and ascending to No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, also became the only active player to win a tournament in his debut tournament as the World No. 1.

“History making, of course it’s special,” he said. “Of course, it’s an honour and privilege to be part of the history of the sport that I love and that I play.”

Though Fish looked the stronger of the two players to begin the match, Djokovic proved to be more opportunistic. He fought off five break points early on before capitalising on his first opportunity to take the lead in the sixth game. The Serbian sealed the opening set in 38 minutes with another break of serve.

Fish continued to create break point chances in the second set, finally converting on his ninth one of the match. It marked the first time Djokovic had been broken since losing serve four times in his second-round opener against Nikolay Davydenko. The Serbian conceded a second service game, this time at love, as he served to stay in the set.

Extended to a decisive set for just the ninth time this season and the first time since the Rome semi-finals against Andy Murray, Djokovic did not give Fish another chance to break his serve. The Serbian took the decisive break at 2-all, and held on to claim his ninth title of 2011 after two hours and 23 minutes.

“I think I was more nervous than in the previous matches today,” admitted Djokovic. “Well, it was the final. There was a lot of tension going on. It was a very close match. He wanted to win that match as much as I did. That's why we were quite intense. It was a mental fight, as well. It was not just physical. But I managed to hold my composure when I needed to.”

Fish, meanwhile, lamented his missed chances. “I felt like I had an opportunity today, I really did,” he said. “I had a lot of chances in that first set, ended up losing 6-2 early. If you try to forget who you’re playing against, you’re just playing another player, maybe you can figure out a way to get a break or two there. I had a lot of shots early in that first set on my racquet that I’d like to have back.”

Djokovic has now won all five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments he’s contested this season. In his previous four - Indian Wells, Miami, Rome and Madrid - he defeated Rafael Nadal in the final. He has now won 10 Masters 1000 titles, including his second at the Rogers Cup. In 2007, he claimed the Montreal title with victories over the world’s top three players in succession (Roddick, Nadal, Federer).

The Serbian improves to a 53-1 season record (29-0 on hard courts), with his lone loss coming against Roger Federer in the Roland Garros semi-finals.

It was the fourth time that Fish had lost in the third set of a ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final, including a loss to Djokovic in 2008 at Indian Wells, and he expressed his disappointment of coming so close on numerous occasions.

“It’s really hard to get to these spots in the first place, and I've lost four of them all in three sets,” he said. “It’s really hard to take. I mean, just so much energy mentally and physically goes into going that far. I’ve never won one. I want it so badly. It hurts.”

Despite the loss, Fish still stands atop the 2011 Olympus US Open Series Bonus Challenge Standings with just two weeks remaining until the year’s final major. He has reached the final in all three of his hard-court appearances this summer, winning the Atlanta title (d. Isner) and finishing runner-up in Los Angeles (l. to Gulbis).

“It was great playing him,” Djokovic said. “I’m happy to see him doing well. I think he’s experiencing the best time of his career in the last two years.”

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:41 AM
CINCINNATI 2011

World No. 4 Andy Murray won his second title at the Western & Southern Open, defeating top seed Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday. Murray led the World No. 1 6-4, 3-0 before Djokovic retired with a shoulder injury. "It was really a good week after I struggled last week. I didn't drop a set and beat some very good players from pretty much the first round onwards," Murray said. "Against Nalbandian who I started off against it was tough, and then Mardy was playing really good tennis going into the semis."

Murray broke Djokovic to start the match, and after relinquishing his break lead in the sixth game, the Scot won six of the next seven games before Djokovic retired midway through the second set. "I would have obviously liked to have won by finishing the match," admitted Murray.

"But it happens sometimes. I have to look at the week as a whole. It's been a very good week. Coming in here I had played badly in Montréal, so I needed to have a good week. Regardless of the match today, I was happy with the way that it had gone. Glad I managed to win today, but unfortunate the way it happened."

The title is Murray’s second of the season, after winning the AEGON Championships in June (d. Tsonga). The 24-year-old London resident claimed his seventh ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and second in Cincinnati, having also defeated Djokovic in the 2008 final. Murray improved to a 4-6 record against the Serb.

Djokovic lost for just the second time this season (57-2), and was bidding to win his 10th title in 2011 and first at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Last week's Rogers Cup champion was looking to pull off a Masters 1000 double for the third time this season, having triumphed back-to-back at Indian Wells and Miami, and Rome and Madrid. "I just could not serve. I served an average 90 miles per hour the first serve, and I could not play forehands," said Djokovic. "I could have maybe played another couple of games, but what for? I cannot beat a player like Murray today with one stroke."

Added Djokovic, "There is no good loss, that's for sure. But the good thing is that there is a week, eight days [before] the start of the US Open. So I think that's enough time for me to get ready."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:42 AM
WINSTON SALEM 2011

Fourth seed John Isner, who grew up in nearby Greensboro, lifted the third ATP World Tour title of his career on Saturday in front of his family and friends at the Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest University.

Isner recorded a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over French qualifier Julien Benneteau to improve to a 3-5 mark in ATP World Tour finals.

The 26-year-old American earned $74,630 in prize money and received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings points. Benneteau, who is now 0-5 in finals, picked up $42,500 and 150 points.

"It means a lot for sure to win," said Isner. "Any time you win a tournament at this level, it is a huge accomplishment. For me personally, it is great, to win here in virtually my hometown. I think this is perfect preparation for me heading up north."

World No. 113 Benneteau did not face a break point in the first set, winning 20 of his 23 service points. He broke Isner's serve to 30 at 4-4 and went onto wrap up the opener in 34 minutes.

Isner responded by hitting six aces and dropping nine points to win the 43-minute second set. It meant Benneteau, who lost his serve at 3-4 in a closely fought game, would play his fourth straight three-set match of the week.

Isner converted his second of two break point opportunities at 2-2 and maintained the advantage to seal victory in just over two hours. Both players won 72 per cent of their service points, but Isner hit 19 aces in total to Benneteau's six.

"He was handling the wind better than me the first set and a half," admitted Isner. "He was making a lot of balls. A lot of times in the wind you have to play to a big margin in the court and not to the lines. I was trying to hit the lines too much. You really have to be on top of your footwork as the ball is moving every which way.

"I started to make more balls and be more aggressive in the second set. I told myself to get my intensity up, move ahead in his return games. If I am holding my serves easily, then to get ahead in my opponents' service games puts them under pressure."

Benneteau was attempting to become the ninth first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season, the oldest of the nine at 29 years of age, and also the first qualifier to lift a trophy since Sergiy Stakhovsky at the St. Petersburg Open in November 2009.

"I’m disappointed losing in the final. For me it’s tough," said Benneteau. "But, as my coach said, if I had been told last Saturday morning when I played my first-round qualifying, that I would make the final, I would have signed up for it for sure. So I have to take the positives from the week, the way I played and the level I had in some matches. I was very close to my best level.

"He has a huge first and second serve; it’s very difficult to read," continued the Frenchman. "I tried to do my best when I was on the ball, not make a lot of mistakes of the return, just put the ball in play and then try to do something. But obviously it’s very difficult."

World No. 28 Isner improves to a 28-18 match record on the season by picking up his second ATP World Tour title in six weeks. The American has now won 17 of his past 21 matches, including his title success at the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, immediately after The Championships at Wimbledon.

Benneteau, appearing in a final on U.S. soil for the first time, last contested a final at the Open 13 in Marseille in February 2010 (l. to Llodra). He drops to a 16-17 season mark.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:42 AM
US OPEN 2011

ATP World Tour No. 1 Novak Djokovic captured his 10th piece of silverware in what has been a remarkable season as he beat defending champion Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-1 in the US Open final on Monday in New York.

It is the sixth time this season that Djokovic has beaten Nadal, with all of their contests coming in finals. He defeated Nadal in the finals of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Rome, before dethroning the Spaniard at Wimbledon. It was the first US Open final to feature the world’s Top 2 players since 1995.

Upon being announced as the 24th different US Open champion, Djokovic said, "It really sounds unreal; it's an incredible feeling. I had an amazing year and it keeps going. Every time I play Rafa it's a big challenge. I want to congratulate him on a great tournament again. I wish that we will have many more tough matches in the upcoming years. It's an absolute pleasure to be a part of the very few players that have won this trophy throughout history."

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After victories at the Australian Open (d. Murray) and Wimbledon earlier in the year, Djokovic becomes the sixth man in the Open Era to win three Grand Slam championships in the same season. The 24-year-old Serbian captured his fourth major title overall, having also triumphed at the 2008 Australian Open (d. Tsonga).

It is the first time that Djokovic has laid his hands on the US Open trophy, having twice before finished runner-up. In his first major final in 2007, he lost out to Federer, and he was beaten in four sets by Nadal last year as the Spaniard completed the career Grand Slam.

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As he did in 2010, Djokovic reached the final at Flushing Meadows after saving two match points to defeat Federer in a five-set epic in the semi-finals. The Belgrade native rallied from two sets down for the second time in his career, and saved two match points when Federer led 5-3, 40/15 in the fifth set.

He is the first man to go on to win a Grand Slam championship after saving match point since Marat Safin won the 2005 Australian Open (d. Hewitt) having saved match point against Federer in the semi-finals.

Djokovic has compiled a staggering 64-2 mark in 2011, including a perfect 41-0 start to the season which ended in defeat to Federer in the Roland Garros semi-finals. The Serb’s only other defeat this season came against Andy Murray in the Cincinnati final, where he retired with a shoulder injury.

The 25-year-old Nadal was bidding to win his 11th major title and second of the season after capturing a record-equalling sixth Roland Garros crown (d. Federer) in June. The left-hander has been left in the shadows by Djokovic this season, but has still compiled extremely strong results, recording a 59-11 win-loss mark and reaching nine tour-level finals (3-6 record).

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"Obviously I'm disappointed," said Nadal. "This guy is doing unbelievable things, so I just want to congratulate Novak. What he did this year is probably impossible to repeat. I tried my best in every moment.

"These kind of matches are very difficult, they bring your body to the limit. I think I tried to play aggressive, but he always made a fantastic comeback. I'm happy about what I did. I ran to every ball. I fought until the last ball. This year I've lost a lot of finals against him. I have to accept I won a lot in the past and the only thing I can do is to try my best every day to keep improving."

It is only the fourth Grand Slam final Nadal has lost. His three previous runner-up finishes all came at Wimbledon, losing to Federer in the 2006-2007 finals before succumbing to Djokovic as defending champion this year.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:49 AM
METZ 2011

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga added 160 valuable points to his South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Ranking by clinching the Moselle Open title to improve his chances of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November. Tsonga is currently No. 7 in the Battle for London, with four qualification spots up for grabs.

Tsonga became the third straight Frenchman to clinch the Metz singles title, following in the footsteps of Gilles Simon (2010) and Gael Monfils (2009), when he beat Croatian No. 4 seed and 2005 champion Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3 in two hours and 37 minutes on Sunday.

Tsonga made it third time in lucky in ATP World Tour finals this year, having finished runner-up at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (l. to Soderling) and the AEGON Championships in London (l. to Murray). He is now 6-3 lifetime in title matches.

The 26 year old received €72,600 in prize money, while 32-year-old Ljubicic picked up 150 South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings points and a cheque for €38,200. The Croatian is 10-14 in finals.

"I am so happy to have won the title, it was a long time since I lifted a trophy and I am happy I was able to do here in Metz, in front of the French public," said Tsonga. "I knew it was going to be difficult. That's why I am not surprised about Ivan's come back in the second set. Matches against him are always based on two or three crucial points.

"I really feel good, I am happy on the tennis court, things are working well and I hope I can continue that way. My goal for the season is to qualify for London, I was there two years ago and I didn't play. I hope this time I will be able to play."

Tsonga hit seven aces and broke Ljubicic's serve in the first and seventh games in the 38-minute first set.

He could have opened up a 5-1 lead in the second set, but Ljubicic staged a revival. At 4-2, Tsonga recovered from 15/40, but double faulted for a third time on Ljubicic's third break point opportunity. Ljubicic won three of the next four games as the set headed for a tie-break.

Tsonga took a 4-2 lead in the tie-break, but Ljubicic won five straight points to take the 66-minute set - having dropped just 13 points on serve.

Tsonga regained his composure to break Ljubicic's serve in the third and ninth games of the deciding set to seal his first title since 11 October 2009 at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo. It was Tsonga's 41st match win of the season (41-18 overall).

"I feel I played as well as I could today," admitted Ljubicic. "For some reason the balls were a little slower and I felt my serve wasn't as effective. It was becoming very physical. There was a lot of long rallies and with Jo being younger and stronger, it was not good for me.

"I didn't have the weapons to beat him today. He was dominating in every aspect of the game. He should have won the second set easily, but he complicated it. Matches against him are always similar. He pushes and pushes, so I need to play differently to stand a chance. I cannot overpower him and I almost did today.

"Of course I'd like to have won, but I am not disappointed. It's been a long time since I last played a final. I played well today and I hope I can keep playing like this."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:49 AM
BUCHAREST 2011

Florian Mayer became the ninth first-time ATP World Tour titlist of the year on Sunday and the first German to lift silverware at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy.

Second seed Mayer defeated fourth seed Pablo Andujar of Spain 6-3, 6-1 in 72 minutes to break an 0-4 losing streak in title matches.

World No. 24 Mayer earned 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings points and picked up €67,650 in prize money. Andujar, runner-up to Juan Ignacio Chela in last year's final, nets 150 points and a cheque for €35,600.

"The beginning was not perfect, I was so nervous today," said Mayer. "I wanted to win so badly. My legs were heavy. I was lucky at the beginning, he was 3-1, 40/15 up in the first set. Today he made some untypical mistakes and once I got a break in the second set I relaxed and played better."

Andujar said, "There was a point at 3-1, 40/15 when I hit a double fault and it completely changed the match. Maybe he got more confident and I lost some of my confidence."

There were three breaks of serve through the first seven games, before Mayer won eight straight games for a 5-0 lead in the second set. The World No. 24 was runner-up at the BMW Open in Munich (l. to Davydenko) in May and has a 37-22 match record on the season.

Andujar won 47 per cent of his service points and drops to 1-3 in title matches and to 23-23 on the year. He won his first ATP World Tour title in April at the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca.

"I feel happy for the week," said Andujar. "I don't have anything to say about today's final, only that he played a great match and hit a lot of winners. I feel happy because I put in a good effort and played well yesterday."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:50 AM
Bangkok 2011

World No. 4 Andy Murray was too good for Donald Young on Sunday in the PTT Thailand Open final, denying the 22-year-old American his first ATP World Tour title with a 6-2, 6-0 victory.

"In terms of the way I’m playing it’s very good to get off to a start like that on this stretch and hopefully I can continue that through Shanghai," said the Scot, who is targetting a Top 3 finish to the season. "It’s a very good start. Roger [Federer] always plays very well on the European indoor courts, so I’m sure I’m going to have to win a lot more matches if I want to finish No. 3. That’s the goal and I’ll keep working hard to give myself a shot at doing that."

Murray reached his first ATP World Tour final in Bangkok as an 18 year old in 2005, finishing runner-up to Roger Federer. Victory over Young saw him clinch his 19th ATP World Tour crown and his third of the season, adding to victories at the AEGON Championships (d. Tsonga) in London and the Western & Southern Open (d. Djokovic) in Cincinnati. He is the fifth player this season to win at least three titles.

As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tennis tournament, Murray received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points. The Scot has already secured his place at the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

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After his breakthrough week, Young will crack the Top 50 for the first time at around World No. 43 on Monday. The American, who was contesting his first ATP World Tour final, received 150 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points.

"He played well. I couldn’t do much and it showed in the score," admitted Young. "It was great play from him. It was my first final on the ATP World Tour; I’ve had a semi and the fourth round of a Slam, but there’s nothing like your first final. It’s great. I beat some high calibre players and I played well.

"It was definitely great to win four matches and I’m into the Top 50 which is great for me; it was one of my goals at the start of the year. I just hope I can build on that and have more tournaments like this."

In a thoroughly dominant display, Murray led 4-0 before Young had the chance to get on the scoreboard. The top seed converted all five of his break points and surrendered just eight points on serve as he completed the rout in only 47 minutes.

"I just played really well," said Murray. "Towards the end of the first set he started to play a bit better, but once I got up in the second I hardly made any mistakes. Felt like I was moving well, so it was difficult for him to hit any clean winners. I served very well throughout and didn’t give him any opportunities. It was a great match."

It was the pair’s third meeting of the year. Young caused a shock when he defeated Murray at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, shortly after the Scot had suffered his third Grand Slam final defeat at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic). Murray avenged that loss with victory over Young in the fourth round at the US Open.

The 24-year-old Murray has now won 16 of his past 17 matches. After winning the Cincinnati crown he reached the US Open semi-finals, losing out to Rafael Nadal, before helping Great Britain to victory over Hungary. He has a 45-11 match record on the year, including reaching at least the semi-finals in all four Grand Slam championships, and next competes at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:51 AM
MALASIA 2011

World No. 17 Janko Tipsarevic captured his first ATP World Tour title at the fifth attempt when he beat Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 7-5 on Sunday in the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011 final.

"It feels great. I think I deserved it," said Tipsarevic. "I’m so happy that it came in a good place, at a tournament that is really, really nice, and against a good player. Marcos Baghdatis has played in 11 finals and was a former Top 10 player, a Grand Slam finalist. So I feel happy that I won against a great player in a final that I hope kept the fans on the edge of their seats until the very end. I could not be happier."

The Serbian was the only player in the Top 20 not to have won an ATP World Tour title, with four runner-up efforts behind him at the 2009 Kremlin Cup in Moscow (l. to Youzhny), the 2010 UNICEF Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (l. to Stakhovsky), and this year at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (l. to del Potro) and the AEGON International in Eastbourne (l. to Seppi).

He becomes the 10th first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season and earns 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points plus $155,000 in prize money.

At the age of 27, Tipsarevic has enjoyed his best season on the ATP World Tour, compiling a 44-20 match record and hitting a career-high World No. 13 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings after reaching his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the US Open (l. to Djokovic) last month.

Tipsarevic is currently No. 13 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Rankings, with the chance to claim one of the final four spots at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, but the Belgrade native insisted he is not looking that far ahead.

"I know that it’s a really long way off," said Tipsarevic. "I have a certain amount of points and another eight guys have like 700 or 800 points more than me, which means I need to perform really good at the Masters 1000 events in Shanghai and Paris in order to have the chance to overtake Tsonga or Fish. But I’m not thinking about that. Since I’m going to stay Top 20 or Top 15 for the rest of the year, I would be overwhelmed if I had the chance to finish Top 10."

The third seed suffered a slow start to the final as he fell behind 0-3, but he struck back in the fifth game before breaking again in the seventh game to clinch the first set. He raced to a 4-1 double break lead in the second set, but was pegged back by the resilient Baghdatis, who levelled at 5-5 after Tipsarevic failed to serve out the match in the 10th game.

Tipsarevic quickly regained his composure, though, and broke Baghdatis again in the 11th game before sealing victory on his third match point after two hours and six minutes.

"I knew I had to play overall good," reflected Tipsarevic. "In two of my previous four finals I was overly aggressive and in two of them I was too defensive, and this is not the way to win an ATP World Tour title. You need to feel the game; you need to know what to do in certain moments. At 5-5 I stayed calm, I didn’t panic, I didn’t choke. I managed to find my game and close out the match in two sets."

Former World No. 8 Baghdatis was bidding to win his first ATP World Tour title of a difficult season, which has seen him tumble from the Top 20 to No. 60 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings. The Cypriot, who had not lost a set en route to the final, dropped to a 4-7 mark in tour-level finals, but will return to the World’s Top 50 at around No. 46 on Monday.

“It wasn't my day today,” conceded Baghdatis. “Janko played great. He deserved to win, he was more aggressive. You just have to say ‘well done’ to Janko for a great week and a great year overall.

“I played some great tennis this week and I hope I can keep it up for the rest of the season,” added the 26 year old, who faces Bangkok champion Andy Murray in the first round of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships next week.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:51 AM
CHINA 2011

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals hopeful Tomas Berdych will move to No. 7 in the Battle for London after ending a 29-month title drought with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory over Marin Cilic in the China Open final on Sunday in Beijing.

The Czech player is bidding to qualify for the season finale for the second year in a row and surpasses Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Rankings by virtue of his triumph over Cilic. It was the sixth title of his career and his first since hoisting the trophy at the BMW Open (d. Youzhny) in May 2009.

"To win this title means really a lot to me because it's after 29 months," said Berdych. "It was quite a long time, so I'm happy that I could break this up. I think I couldn't have a better place to win a title than here in Beijing.

"I did a great move to have a good chance to qualify for London. Still, these two weeks in Shanghai and Paris I really need to do well. I want to do well. It just gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season and for the rest of the tournaments. So I'm really looking forward to that. I hope I can keep my level of game what I did and hopefully to win even more matches."

The unseeded Cilic made the better start to the match, breaking early before going on to close out the opening set. Berdych hit back at the start of the second set, but was unable to maintain his lead as Cilic broke back in the seventh game.

Under pressure, Berdych saved two break points with unreturned serves in the ninth game, before upping his level to snatch the second set from Cilic with a rifled backhand winner on break point in the 10th game. Cilic, who also finished runner-up in the 2009 Beijing final (l. to Djokovic), was unable to regain the momentum and fast began to unravel in the third set. Berdych broke twice as he raced to claim victory in just over two hours.

"I think the key moment was a break when it was 5-4; Marin was serving and I made a set point and just won the second set," reflected Berdych. "That moment I started to really feel great, get some more energy for the third set, and then it was just my turn in the third set."

The 26-year-old Berdych improved to a 47-18 match record on the season. Having fallen at the semi-final stage six times in 2011, the right-hander was contesting his first tour-level final since finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal in the 2010 Wimbledon title match.

The No. 25-ranked Cilic was also looking to end a lengthy spell without silverware. The Croatian’s last ATP World Tour title came in February 2010 at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors (d. Berrer). He has now lost four successive finals, including earlier this year at the Open 13 in Marseille (l. to Soderling) and the ATP Studena Croatia Open in Umag (l. to Dolgopolov).

"I'm feeling a little bit disappointed by the loss today," said Cilic. "I would say that I was playing really great tennis from the beginning of the match. That first set went really well on my side. I had two advantages at 4-4 [in the second set]; got maybe a little bit tense and he served two big first serves. From then on, I think he started to play a little bit better and wasn't giving me as much and I wasn't finding right solutions for the game after that.

"I felt psychologically in these critical moments, especially at the end of the second set and the beginning of the third, I missed a few chances here and there. So I would say that was the reason."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:52 AM
JAPAN 2011

World No. 4 Andy Murray continued his hot run of form on Sunday as he produced a blistering display in the final two sets to defeat defending champion Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the final of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo.

The 24-year-old Murray then became the first double winner on the ATP World Tour this season when he and brother, Jamie Murray, defeated fourth seeds Frantisek Cermak and Filip Polasek in the doubles final.

The Scot has won 21 of his past 22 matches, taking in titles at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (d. Djokovic) in August, the PTT Thailand Open in Bangkok (d. Young) last week, and now at the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tournament in Tokyo. His only loss in that period came against Nadal in the US Open semi-finals.

Having also triumphed at the AEGON Championships in London in June (d. Tsonga), Murray becomes the third player this season to win at least four ATP World Tour titles, joining Novak Djokovic (10) and Robin Soderling (four).

"Djokovic set the bar pretty high with his year and his records so far, so I’ve got to try and keep up somehow," joked Murray, who has set himself the goal of surpassing Roger Federer at World No. 3 in the year-end South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings. "I’ve played well in the last few months in Cincinnati and then the US Open. I need to carry on that form in Shanghai. I need to keep up the wins and hopefully I’ll get to the No. 3 ranking. It’s not the ultimate goal, but it’s the target I set for the last few tournaments this year."

Murray made a slow start to his 18th contest with Nadal, dropping his opening service game with a groundstroke error. The Scot began to settle into the match, though, and had Nadal under pressure in the seventh game before the Spaniard held on to close out the one-set lead.

The second-seeded Murray broke through the Spaniard’s defences in the fourth game of the second set, persevering to convert his third break point chance as Nadal hit wide. The Scot then rescued a 0/40 situation in the following game with three straight aces, before saving a fourth break point with a forehand winner and holding for a 4-1 lead. With the momentum growing, Murray broke Nadal again in the eighth game to level the match.

Murray hailed the third set as one of the best he has played against Nadal, whom he lost to in the semi-finals at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open this year. The Dunblane native allowed Nadal just four points as he battered the Spaniard with controlled aggression and potent backhands, racing through the set with three service breaks to clinch victory in two hours and 16 minutes. It was just his fifth win over Nadal.

"I played some great tennis, especially in the third set," said Murray. "I had a couple of chances in the first set and was maybe going for too much, going too close to the lines, but once I got that break the roles reversed a little bit. He started going for a little bit more and I was dictating the points playing high-percentage tennis.

"For sure in the third set it was some of the best tennis I’ve played against him. I was very consistent, didn’t make too many mistakes and kept a cool head in the important moments."

World No. 2 Nadal, who defeated Gael Monfils in the 2010 Tokyo final, was contesting his 10th tour-level final of the season and the 66th of his career; he dropped to a 46-20 mark. All his other final defeats this year have come at the hands of Djokovic, including in the Wimbledon and US Open title matches. The Mallorcan was bidding to win his first trophy since clinching a record-equalling sixth Roland Garros crown at the start of June.

“He played unbelievable, he didn’t make any mistakes in the third set,” said Nadal. “He played very aggressive and made no mistakes. When you are playing someone at that level, the only way is to try and get more free points on serve and for me it was impossible today because his return was very impressive.”

Nadal and Murray will be the top two seeds at the Shanghai Rolex Masters next week. Both have already qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London in November.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:52 AM
SHANGHAI 2011

Second seed Andy Murray won his third ATP World Tour title in three weeks in Asia as he retained his Shanghai Rolex Masters crown with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over third seed David Ferrer on Sunday.

Victory will see the 24-year-old Murray overtake Roger Federer at World No. 3 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings. It will be the first time since 7 July, 2003, when he won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, that Federer has ranked outside the Top 3.

"My goal for the last three-four months after the US Open was to try to finish as high as possible and win as many matches as I could," said Murray. "It's obviously been a great start. But I'm still not guaranteed to finish at No. 3. I'm still going to have to win some more matches. But if you finish in front of Federer in a year, then there's not many people the last five, six, seven years that have been able to say that. So that's obviously a nice thing if I can do it."

Murray has now won 25 of his past 26 matches. The Scot came into Shanghai on the back of title runs at the PTT Thailand Open in Bangkok (d. Young) and the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo (d. Nadal), and prior to a semi-final loss at the US Open (l. to Nadal) had triumphed at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (d. Djokovic).

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"I was really happy with the way I stayed focused," said Murray, reflecting on the Asian swing. "It's hard to explain. It's almost you'd think the more matches you win, the less pressure you feel. I was hitting the ball well, but there's still a little bit of tension because you want to try and keep the run going. I was really happy I managed to win today because it's always very tough playing against him.

"I think the best thing about it is just winning matches. Even like today, I wasn't necessarily playing my best tennis the whole way throughout, but I served well when I needed to, and that was it. I chased every ball down. I fought for every single point as hard as I could. That's something you need to do if you want to win all the time.

"This week I think overall it's satisfying. I didn't necessarily feel like I played amazing tennis, I just think I did the right things, made it very difficult for my opponents, and managed to win a tournament of this size when I still felt like I could have played a little bit better."

Victory in Shanghai was Murray’s fifth success of the year in total, having also lifted the trophy at the AEGON Championships in London (d. Tsonga) in June. He also reached his third Grand Slam final at the Australian Open (l. to Djokovic) and posted semi-final showings at Roland Garros and Wimbledon (l. to Nadal both times).

In a 10-minute first game Murray ended Ferrer’s run of 31 successive service holds as he broke through to lead 1-0. His lead was shortlived, though, as Ferrer immediately hit back to draw level. The Spaniard paid the price for three unforced errors in succession, including a double fault, as he surrendered his serve in the 11th game and this time Murray did not let him off the hook, serving out the 56-minute opener.

In the same scenario as the first set, Murray squandered a break in the first service game of the second set, but was able to regain his lead in the third game with a forehand lob winner. Under pressure, Ferrer fended off two break points in the fifth game, but could find no way to penetrate Murray’s defences on serve and the Scot wrapped up victory in one hour and 45 minutes. He also defeated Ferrer last week in the Tokyo semi-finals and improved to a 5-3 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head standings.

Murray, who had defeated Federer in the final a year earlier, captured his eighth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, taking him to joint-sixth place with Thomas Muster on the title leaders list (since 1990).

Ferrer, who finished runner-up in an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final for the third time in his career, said, "I fought a lot, but today it was impossible to beat Andy. He’s a very good player and person. I didn't serve really good this match, also because Andy received very well and I had to play closer to the lines. Andy was better than me in the second set. Maybe in the first set I had my chances. [But] I played so bad this game [at 5-5]. After I had a long time serving very bad. Anyway, is difficult to beat Andy in these moments. He is playing with [a lot of] confidence."

"I enjoyed the week a lot. Here in Shanghai, I’ve had the best moments of my career; I reached the final [of the Tennis Masters Cup] in 2007 and again this year. I hope to win next year."

The Spaniard also lost out in the 2010 Internazionali BNL d’Italia final in Rome and in this year’s Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title match, falling to Rafael Nadal both times. The 29-year-old Spaniard, who had saved three match points in his third-round win over Juan Carlos Ferrero on Friday, was rewarded for his efforts this week by becoming the fifth player to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:53 AM
MOSCOW 2011

World No. 14 Janko Tipsarevic lifted his second trophy of the season at the Kremlin Cup on Sunday, defeating reigning Moscow champion Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-2 in the first all-Serbian final on the ATP World Tour.

Following the trophy ceremony, Tipsarevic and Troicki attended a rare joint press conference. "It was really tough," Tipsarevic said. "We were both tight. You could cut the tension with a knife. It was like a nightmare to play against your friend."

"This was the first time we had an all-Serbian final, ATP or WTA, so it was a bit strange at the beginning for both of us," stated Troicki. "Janko deserved to win, he was the better player today. We both played pretty good but he was more aggressive."

With the win, Tipsarevic moves to 10th place in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Rankings in the battle to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. "Even if I say I don't want to think about London, I knew it was a big opportunity for me," Tipsarevic admitted. "Every single point counts for London now. It is going to be really hard but not impossible. If I don't qualify for London, then my next goal would be to finish in the Top 10."

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Tipsarevic broke to start the match, but Troicki levelled in the fourth game to even the first set at 2-2. After four straight holds, the second-seeded Troicki dropped serve in the ninth game and Tipsarevic subsequently served out the first set.

Troicki was immediately pressured to begin the second set, and saved three break points to hold for a 1-0 lead. But his countryman kept plugging away and finally converted a break of serve for a 3-2 lead on his seventh opportunity of the set. Tipsarevic secured an insurance break to move ahead 5-2, and served out the match to lock up the victory in one hour and 28 minutes.

After falling in his first four ATP World Tour finals, Tipsarevic has won titles in his last two appearances, having triumphed at the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011 three weeks ago (d. Baghdatis). He evened his FedEx ATP Head 2 Head series with Troicki to a 1-1 record, and notched his 47th win of the year. "Kuala Lumpur was more emotional because it was my first ATP World Tour title, but here I was more nervous as I was playing Viktor," said Tipsarevic. "It was not a suprise that we played the final, as we were the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds here."

Troicki was bidding to repeat his performance last year in Moscow, when he claimed his first career title against Marcos Baghdatis. The World No. 16 dropped to a 1-4 mark in title matches. "I am glad I am back in good form after a difficult summer and Asian swing and hope I can continue like this until the end of the season," Troicki said.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:53 AM
STOCKHOLM 2011

World No. 10 Gael Monfils capped off his debut at the If Stockholm Open on Sunday by claiming his first title of the year with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Jarkko Nieminen. The Frenchman, who has an outside chance to qualify for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, jumps up to No. 14 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Rankings. "My concentration was the key for me today," said Monfils. "I just believed I could win this match.

"Jarkko was playing good when he was in front. Some spots in the match were high level tennis and he was moving well. At the end I think he got a bit fatigued. I played him three weeks ago [in Bangkok], but I was more impressed with him today."

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Monfils relinquished a break advantage twice in the opening set, as the two players exchanged breaks in the first four games. After each settled in on serve, Monfils broke Nieminen for the third time to move ahead 6-5, and served out the set.

In the second set, Nieminen struck first on return, breaking the No. 1 seed to take a 4-2 lead, but was immediately broken back by Monfils. The Finn wasn’t fazed, as he broke Monfils again to lead 5-3 and held serve to even the clash at one set all.

Both players reached the final by winning two matches in three sets, and it was Monfils who stepped up in the final set, winning 75 per cent of his service points. He broke the 73rd-ranked Nieminen twice to take the encounter in one hour and 52 minutes. "Even though the first set was really tight, I felt I had to be more aggressive as it was working well this week," Nieminen said.

"That's when I play my best and I played a really good second set. I continued that for the beginning of the third set, but unfortunately went down a break and got a bit tired and Monfils stayed strong at the end."

With the win, Monfils captured his fourth title and first since winning the Montpellier crown last year (d. Ljubicic). He improved his final record to a 4-11 mark.

Nieminen suffered his third defeat in the Stockholm final after falling in the 2001 and 2006 title matches, and dropped to a 1-10 record in finals. The 30 year old was looking to hoist his first trophy in nearly six years, when he defeated Mario Ancic in the 2006 Auckland final. He was also looking to become just the second left-hander to win a title this season (Rafael Nadal). "It was great to see so many Finnish people," said Nieminen.

"They're always coming here, especially towards the end of the week. It's always really nice when they come to support me, but the way the Swedish people support me is also amazing, as it feels almost like a home court for me."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:54 AM
ST PETERSBURG 2011

Fourth seed Marin Cilic defeated No. 2 seed Janko Tipsarevic 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to win his first title of the season on Sunday at the St. Petersburg Open. The victory denied Tipsarevic his opportunity to move up to ninth place in the battle for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

After splitting the first two sets, Cilic took command in the third set, breaking the World No. 13 twice to win the final four games, claiming victory in two hours and 17 minutes. The Croat improved to 6-1 against Tipsarevic, and avenged his loss to the Serbian at the Sony Ericsson Open this year.

"It was a very good match at a high level. I managed to push myself into a higher gear in the last set," said Cilic. "I was close in my other finals [this year] and I think I learned a little bit from them. Today, that pushed me and in the third set, I played my best tennis of the season."

Having finished runner-up in Marseille (l. to Soderling), Umag (l. to Dolgopolov) and Beijing (l. to Berdych), Cilic won his first title since repeating as champion in Zagreb last year. The win gives the 23 year old his fifth title and third indoors.

Tipsarevic was bidding to become the first player to pull off the Russian double, after topping countryman Viktor Troicki in Moscow last week in the first all-Serbian final.

"Marin deserved to win. He was the better player today," assessed Tipsarevic. "In order to beat Marin, you need to play a certain style of game and for me it was really tough. I gave everything I had in the second set and beginning of the third set. I didn't manage to make a break and after that, I went completely down."

Currently at No. 10 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Rankings, Tipsarevic dropped to a 2-5 mark in ATP World Tour finals.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:55 AM
VIENNA 2011

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's prospects of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals were boosted on Sunday after the Frenchman notched his first victory against Juan Martin del Potro, defeating the Argentine 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 to win the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. With the win, Tsonga moves past Mardy Fish to No. 7 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Rankings.

"I will try to take all the pressure off myself. I just want to play every tournament and enjoy it," stated Tsonga. "I will try to play my best tennis and not think about it the next two weeks, so we'll see. But of course I hope I will get there."

Neither the top-seeded Tsonga or second seed del Potro were able to make an impact on return in the first set, each failing to convert three break point opportunities, and that carried through to the tie-break, where del Potro edged the Frenchman to take a one set lead.

Del Potro looked to be in control of the match after converting the first break of serve to lead 2-1 in the second set, but Tsonga reeled off four straight games, and shortly evened the encounter at one set apiece. "I was 2-1 up on serve and played a bad service game," said del Potro. "He then started to play much better and more aggressive. He served unbelievable. It was a different match between the first set and that moment, and then the rest of the match."

In the final set, Tsonga stepped up on serve, firing nine of his 25 aces to win 80 percent of his service points. He broke the Argentine in the seventh game and closed out the final with a love service game, taking the hard-fought clash in two hours and 28 minutes.

"I just tried to stay focused and strong in the head. I broke him back and came back in this final, and finally I did it," said Tsonga. "It was very special because at the end there was the retirement of Thomas Muster, and Goran Ivanisevic, one of my favourite players, was there. It was a great final and it's going to stay in my memories."

Tsonga ended a three-match losing streak to del Potro and claimed his second title in 2011 after beginning the fall indoor season by lifting the trophy in Metz (d. Ljubicic). The World No. 9 also finished runner-up in Rotterdam (l. to Soderling) and London / Queen’s Club (l. to Murray).

Del Potro was looking to win his third title of the year after triumphs in Delray Beach (d. Tipsarevic) and Estoril (d. Verdasco). With his result this week, del Potro jumps to 11th place in the chase to London with two tournaments left to go. "I'm sad because I lost but it was a good tournament for me," del Potro said. "Jo played much better in the important moments and took his opportunities. He's difficult to play because he's very fast and has a good forehand."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:55 AM
VALENCIA 2011

Marcel Granollers captured his second title of the year on Sunday at the Valencia Open 500, outlasting Juan Monaco 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(3) in a clash that spanned just over three hours. "Winning here has been the biggest achievement in my whole career," declared Granollers. "It was a difficult moment for me, being a break down in the third. I kept fighting and at the end, I played very good.

"Juan is a great player who fights for every point. There were very long games. The match was settled in the very last moment."

The Spaniard defeated four Top 20 players, Alexandr Dolgopolov (No. 16), Marin Cilic (No. 20), Gael Monfils (No. 10) and Juan Martin del Potro (No. 14) to reach the final. He improved to a 2-1 mark against Monaco, topping the Argentine in Valencia for the second straight year, having won their quarter-final encounter in 2010 en route to a runner-up finish to countryman David Ferrer. “To win a title in Spain is very nice and special, as my family was with me today. The crowd helped me a lot during the week so thanks to them,” Granollers said.

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After splitting the first two sets, Monaco broke serve to start the third set and maintained his advantage until the eighth game of the set. The two held serve in the final four games to send the title match to a deciding tie-break. From there, Granollers pushed ahead with a mini-break lead at 2-1 and never looked back to claim his third career title. "It was a very tough final that was determined through a couple of balls after three hours of play,” assessed Monaco.

“But it has been a great week. I am satisfied with the work I have been doing… I think we both played a good match. The third set was pretty aggressive.”

The victory gives Granollers his first hard-court trophy, with his two previous triumphs coming on clay in Gstaad earlier this year (d. Verdasco) and Houston in 2008.

Monaco was aiming to end a title drought dating back to 2007, when he won all three of his career titles. The 27 year old was appearing in his first final since a runner-up showing to Thomaz Bellucci in Santiago last year. "The atmosphere was exceptional. I can only express words of thanks because the audience made me feel very comfortable,” said Monaco. “I thought they would support him for being Spanish, but they would cheer me on too.”

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:56 AM
BASEL 2011

Home favourite Roger Federer won his fifth crown at the Swiss Indoors Basel on Sunday, dismissing Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-3 in their first FedEx ATP Head 2 Head meeting. The victory gives Federer five titles or more at an event for the fifth time. “I’m very happy, as I got better as the week went on,” stated Federer. “I definitely saved the best for last at the tournament. I played really well today in the final.”

With the win, Federer claimed his 68th career title and second in 2011 after beginning the season by defeating Nikolay Davydenko in the Doha final. He snapped his longest title drought since 2001-2002, when he went 11 months between his first two titles in Milan and Sydney. “I’m feeling really fit and I’m ready for more,” Federer said. “I’m very hungry and fired up.”

The Swiss broke serve to start the match and overwhelmed Nishikori in the first set, winning 12 of 13 service points while converting three breaks of serve to take the set in 29 minutes.

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After holding serve to begin the second set, Federer immediately pressured Nishikori’s serve before the 21 year old managed to hold for the first time since the third game of the match. But the World No. 4 continued to press the Japanese star, breaking him to move ahead 4-2. Nishikori saw his first break point of the match in Federer’s final service game, but the 30 year old closed the door to clinch the trophy in one hour and 12 minutes. “I think I started a little bit nervous even though at the same time I was excited to play in the final here with Roger,” Nishikori said.

“I’m a bit disappointed with how I played today, as it didn’t go well, but it’s always going to be tough against him… His tennis was too good for me. I felt like I couldn’t do anything.”

Nishikori was bidding to win his second title and first since triumphing in Delray Beach three years ago. The runner-up finish is his second of the season, having also reached the final in Houston (l. to Sweeting). “Every match is a good experience, especially when you’re playing Top 10 guys,” believes Nishikori. “It’s a different level and I’ve learned from these matches.”

The two will now head to Paris for the BNP Paribas Masters, the final event of the regular season. "I haven’t been able to win in Paris yet, so I hope to do some damage over there," said Federer.

"I was really close last year. I’m confident with what’s still to come but it’s only getting tougher from here. It’s only the beginning of the last push of the season."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:56 AM
PARIS 2011

World No. 4 Roger Federer will take a 12-match winning streak into the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, where is the defending champion, after claiming his first BNP Paribas Masters title with a 6-1, 7-6(3) victory over sixth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Sunday in Paris.

"I'm just really ecstatic to have played so well this week from start to finish," said Federer. "Basically from first ball struck against [Adrian] Mannarino all the way until the very end here. I couldn't be more happy. I have had many attempts trying to win Paris Bercy, and for some reason, I wasn't able to win it earlier. But this one obviously feels great and it's a special victory."

Federer, the first player to contest the final of all nine Masters 1000 tournaments, has now won 18 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns (18-12 in finals), second on the list of title leaders behind Rafael Nadal with 19. With his victory, it marks the first time in Masters 1000 history that all nine champions during the season were ranked in the Top 4.

Federer came under pressure early in his first BNP Paribas Masters final, but fought off two break points on serve in the opening game and proceeded to break Tsonga in the next. "These two games maybe decided the outcome of the match," the Swiss admitted. "It gave me great confidence and a great direction for the match."

The No. 3 seed raced through the first set in 30 minutes, building a 5-0 lead before Tsonga managed to get on the scoreboard. After saving two break points in the second set, Federer quickly gained control in the tie-break; he rolled out to a 6-1 lead and clinched the title on his third championship point.

"Jo was always with the back against the wall, so I was really able to put him under pressure and play aggressive with myself," said Federer. "Couple of hiccups maybe midway through the second. I didn't serve so well anymore, but I saved the best for last. I played a good tie-breaker and got the win here, which is very nice."

The 30-year-old Swiss is unbeaten since the US Open semi-finals (l. to Djokovic), and will enter the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with a 59-12 season record (41-7 on hard). He made a strong start to his 2011 campaign, winning the Doha title in the opening week of the year, and snapped a 10-month title drought last week at his hometown tournament, the Swiss Indoors Basel.

"I have played well for a few months now," he said. "Maybe I didn't win the US Open, but we all know I was one point away from making the finals and then who knows? But Novak was able to come back in that great match against me at the Open. And before that I think I had some really good moments, where I actually did play very well, such as Wimbledon and the French Open where I think more was possible, too.

"I have had some really tough losses this year, but I kept believing that still the year wasn't over, I can still finish this year on a high, which that proves to be the case. Now I still have a massive highlight coming up in a week's time."

Federer, a winner of 69 tour-level titles, will look to reach his 100th tour-level final when he makes his 10th straight appearance at the circuit finale, to be held from 20-27 November at The O2 in London.

Tsonga will also feature at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after clinching his berth in the eight-man field earlier this week.

He had advanced to his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final after saving three match points in his semi-final match against John Isner on Saturday, and was attempting to win his third indoor hard court title in as many months following triumphs in Metz and Vienna.

"If I had played better at the start it would have changed things. The key of the match was there," lamented Tsonga, who will return to his career-high World No. 6 ranking on Monday. "Every time we play each other it's similar. If I am able to fight back at the start, then I play well. But if I lose the first set like I did today, then it becomes more difficult for me."

Celebrities in attendance included basketball star Tony Parker, who took part in the trophy presentation ceremony, musician Gavin Rossdale and international DJ Bob Sinclair.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:57 AM
LONDON 2011

Roger Federer has become the first player to win six titles at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The fourth-seeded Swiss won his 70th tour-level trophy in his 100th final on Sunday after he defeated sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3, in two hours and 19 minutes, to become the oldest titlist at the year-end championship.

The 30-year-old Federer, who won all five matches he played this week, at The O2 in London, picked up a cheque for $1,630,000 and 1,500 South African Airways ATP Rankings points. He was also year-end champion in 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2010. The victory also tied Federer with Ivan Lendl's wins record at the tournament. Lendl compiled a 39-10 mark, with five titles, while Federer is now 39-7.

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"It feels very special, indeed," admitted Federer, who has a 17-match winning streak. "I've been trying to sort of block it out for the entire tournament, the entire time I've been here in London. I just tried to recuperate from Basel and Paris and hopefully get through the round robin stages. So now it's finally sort of reality that I've been able to win six [Barclays ATP] World Tour Finals. It's an amazing feeling. I know it's one of my greatest accomplishments."

It was Federer's third straight indoor trophy, after title runs at the Swiss Indoors Basel (d. Nishikori) and the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris (d. Tsonga) two weeks ago. He also beat Tsonga last Sunday in Group B round-robin play and finishes the year unbeaten indoors with a 16-0 mark.

"This definitely is an amazing finish again to the season," said Federer, who finishes in the year-end Top 3 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings for a ninth straight season. "I've never finished so strong."

Federer, who had won the first set in his six previous year-end finals, turned up the heat on Tsonga at 4-3, when he hit three straight backhand winners to give his French opponent a headache at 0/40. Federer, who had looked second-best for much of the first set, broke serve and ultimately clinched the set in 35 minutes, despite the best efforts of Tsonga to break.

On Federer's first set point at advantage, Tsonga drew Federer to the net before ripping a backhand winner down the line. Federer then hit a forehand approach winner and on his second set point chance, Tsonga made a backhand error under pressure. Federer hit nine winners to Tsonga's 12, but took his chance in the eighth game. Tsonga, lost just five points on serve and his 12 winners, but came out second best.

Tsonga almost buckled under the pressure at 1-1 in the second set, after he hit two double faults, but he managed to salvage the game from 15/40. Two games later, however, Federer set up one more break point opportunity. Taking advantage of a second serve at 30/40, Federer ran around his backhand to lash a forehand winner down the line for a 3-2 lead.

Federer served for the title at 5-4, but a lapse in concentration saw him face three break points at 0/40. He saved two when Tsonga hit a backhand return long and a forehand into the net, but he could not win the third as Tsonga attacked the net off a forehand to strike a smash winner. In the next game, Tsonga saved one break with a powerful forehand approach, which Federer could not scramble back. The set was decided on a tie-break.

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Federer took a 4-2 lead in the tie-break courtesy of a forehand volley, after both players made edgy starts. He then hit a drive volley winner for a three-point cushion. But Tsonga came back by winning three straight points, until Federer's sixth ace of the match took him to his first match point chance at 6-5. Tsonga kept his nerve and fired a mid-court forehand for a winner, then hit an unreturned serve for his first set point opportunity at 7-6. Tsonga jumped all over Federer's second serve, hammering a forehand return to the Swiss' feet. Tsonga hit 18 winners in the set and won 10 of his 15 net points.

The quality of tennis in the deciding set improved with every game. Tsonga came through hold for 3-3, with his never-say-die brand of tennis, when he hit three forehand winners, while Federer continued to clinch routine service holds.

The pressure, of serving second in the set, looked to weigh heavily on Tsonga's shoulders at 3-4. He fought back from 0/30 with three straight points, but then committed two forehand errors to gift Federer a break point opportunity. Tsonga saved it by following a forehand to the net and hitting a volley winner. Two points later, facing break point again, he came to the net and executed a perfect back cross-court angle that left Federer motionless. Federer made it third time lucky for a 5-3 lead, when Tsonga over-balanced while running for a forehand that he hit wide.

Federer closed out his 64th match win of the season (64-12 overall) with a hold to love, finishing with a forehand volley winner, and leapt in the air in celebration. He has a 6-1 record in year-end finals, losing only to David Nalbandian in the 2005 title match. This year, he became the event's oldest titlist - Ilie Nastase was 29 when he won in 1975.

"I thought I played well," said Federer. "Look, I thought Jo played well. Could I have won it easier? I guess. I had it in my hands. I had a chance to go a double break in the second [set]. I had chances to serve it out. I had chances in the tie-breaker. Yeah, it wasn't meant to be. I had to go through the third set, which was tough, but eventually I made it, which felt probably even better going through three sets. The relief was amazing. The joy, of course, as you can imagine, was great."

Read DEUCE Magazine - Tsonga: The Pugilist

Tsonga, 26, was attempting to become the first Frenchman to win the title. He hit 42 aces this week and has struck an ATP World Tour season-best 825 aces, ahead of John Isner's 811. Tsonga received prize money of $740,000 and 800 points as runner-up.

"Today I fought all I can," said Tsonga. "I'm just happy tonight because I had a good week. Of course, to win is better but I gave everything. Tonight I can look [at] myself in the mirror and say, 'Yeah, you fought enough.'

"They [the crowd] supported me a lot. "It was really fair from the English crowd. He was better than me in the first set. Also in the second set. But I took the first set point in the tie-break."

Tsonga finished the season with a 55-24 match record (27-17 in tie-breaks). He won two ATP World Tour titles at the Moselle Open in Metz (d. Ljubicic) and the Erste Bank Open in Vienna (d. del Potro). The Frenchman was also runner-up at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (l. to Soderling), the AEGON Championships at The Queen's Club (l. to Murray) and the Rogers Cup in Montreal (l. to Djokovic).

The evening final was watched by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, among other well known names, in a capacity 17,500-strong crowd.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 08:58 AM
DAVIS CUP 2011

Spain clinched its fifth Davis Cup by BNP Paribas title on Sunday, when Rafael Nadal defeated Juan Martin del Potro 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(0) in Seville to give the host nation a 3-1 victory over Argentina. The rubber lasted four hours and eight minutes.

"We gave everything, it was a very emotional victory at the end of a tough year," Nadal told the host television broadcaster. "Winning in this way, we are very grateful to all the people of Spain. It was the best atmosphere I have experienced in my career."

Watch Nadal Interview | Watch del Potro Interview

World No. 2 Nadal has a 20-1 record in singles rubbers for Spain, who lifted its third trophy in four years. Spain hold the World Group record for the longest run of wins (21) by a nation at home. Spain's last home loss was in 1999 (l. Brazil), which was also the last time it lost a Davis Cup tie on clay.

Argentina was bidding to become the first South American country to lift the Davis Cup title. It was the fourth time (also 1981, 2006, 2008) it has finished runner-up. Spain first participated in Dwight Davis' competition in 1921. It also won the title in 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2009.

Watch Match Highlights Online | View Photo Gallery

Del Potro took a 3-1 lead when Nadal committed three groundstroke errors, but the 23-year-old Argentinean immediately came under pressure in the next game. He saved two break points with an unreturned serve and a fortuitous net cord winner off a forehand. Del Potro continued to overpower Nadal, firing clean winners off anything short. But once Nadal moved his opponent around and hit close to the lines, the Spaniard dictated the points.

Nadal recovered from 0/40 to deuce at 1-4, but made two costly errors to be broken and give del Potro an opportunity to serve for the set. Del Potro tightened up, falling to 0/40 and - after saving four break points - eventually, on his third set point chance, he struck a backhand crosscourt winner off a poorly placed Nadal drop shot. Del Potro hit 18 winners and committed 15 unforced errors in the 63-minute set, while Nadal could only convert one of eight break point opportunities.

Del Potro won his seventh straight game by breaking Nadal to 30 in the first game of the second set. But Nadal, by winning five straight points to break back for 1-1, grew in confidence and the balance of power shifted in the pair's 10th meeting. Nadal began mixing up his service placement to keep del Potro guessing. At 3-4, del Potro saved one break point, as Nadal began to made inroads on return of serve. Two games later, Nadal found his range in baseline rallies and broke del Potro to 30 to clinch the 57-minute set with a smash winner. Nadal, who leapt in the air to celebrate, dropped eight points on serve and hit 10 winners. Del Potro made 21 errors.

From 1-1 in the second set to 3-1, 40/0, in the third set, covering one hour of play, Nadal did not drop a point on his serve. The streak ended when he mis-timed a forehand long of the baseline. Nadal looked every inch a six-time Roland Garros champion, when he broke del Potro for 2-0 with two straight forehand winners down the line, after del Potro had run around backhands.

Questions over del Potro's movement to his left surfaced in the sixth game, when he dropped to 30/40. Although the World No. 11 - with heavy strapping on both thighs - saved the break point, a moment of brilliance from Nadal sealed a 5-1 lead. Del Potro attacked the net off a deep forehand stroke, but Nadal hit a running forehand winner down the line to get the crowd at the Olympic Stadium on its feet. Argentina's bench looked shell-shocked. Nadal held to love to clinch the 43-minute third set, having won 16 of his 17 service points.

Read DEUCE Magazine: Nadal - The Good Fight

The match looked to be moving away from del Potro when, in the first game of the fourth set, he was broken to 15 after hitting a forehand drive volley long. Nadal took a 2-0 lead, before del Potro staged a resurgence. Three groundstroke errors from Nadal, saw del Potro break to 30 for 2-2. Nadal's dip in concentration gave life to thousands of Argentinean supporters courtside. But in an nine-minute game to follow, Nadal dominated long baseline rallies to force del Potro into hitting a forehand long.

Del Potro was not finished. Incredibly, he regained the form that clinched him the first set. Winning 10 of the next 11 points, with aggressive tactics and clinical play at the net, he won three games in a row for a 5-3 lead. Del Potro came to within two points of winning the set, but at 30/30 he hit a double fault. On break point, del Potro struck three volleys before Nadal scrambled back a forehand winner. It was the set's sixth break of serve.

Nadal then broke del Potro's serve to 30, when the Argentine hit his 52nd error of the rubber. At the match ticked over the four-hour mark, del Potro made one final push. Nadal saved one break point at 15/40 with a gutsy backhand drive, which del Potro dive-volleyed wide. But he struck a powerful forehand winner on his second opportunity to take the set to a tie-break.

Nadal improved to 20-9 in tie-breaks in 2011 (139-85 lifetime) with a flawless finish, ending with his 26th forehand winner. He committed 20 unforced errors in the final three sets. Overall this season, Nadal compiled a 69-15 match record and won three tour-level titles.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:05 AM
HOPMAN CUP 2012

The Czech Republic has won the Hyundai Hopman Cup for the second time with top seeds Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych going right through the week unbeaten in singles ending with the Final inside the Burswood Dome on Saturday against France's Marion Bartoli and Richard Gasquet.

World No. 2 Kvitova finished off her outstanding week and debut in Perth by beating world No. 9 Frenchwoman Bartoli 7-5, 6-1 in the women's singles to give the Czechs a winning start and then the seventh ranked Berdych finished the job beating former world No. 7 Gasquet 7-6, 6-4.

It is the Czech Republic's second Hopman Cup title after Jana Novotna and Petr Korda won the sixth tournament in 1994 by beating Germany's Anke Huber and Bernd Karbacher in the Final.
Now in the nation's eighth appearance at the Hyundai Hopman Cup, Kvitova and Berdych have added their names to the list of champions and also made the Czech Republic just the sixth country to win the Cup at least twice along with the USA (six times), Slovak Republic (three), Spain (three), Switzerland (two) and Germany (two).

It has been an outstanding week in Perth for the Czech pair who now both have every reason to have confidence of contending for the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne at the Australian Open.
Kvitova is fresh off an amazing 2011 that included a Wimbledon crown, the Fed Cup and being the ITF World Champion and WTA Player of the Year, and now her 2012 has got off to an outstanding start.
This week she has beaten defending American Hopman Cup champion Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova, world No. 1 from Denmark Caroline Wozniacki and then in the Final France's Bartoli.
"It was a really good match (against Wozniacki) but today I played much better against Marion and it’s always tough to play with someone at the top," Kvitova said.

"It’s really good to win at the beginning of the season and of course I have to say thank you to Tomas because without him we wouldn’t win."You played really unbelievable and it was an honour to play with you. And of course with our team, with them it’s always really fun. It’s really enjoyable in Perth and of course I have to say thank you to Hopman Cup."

Berdych was playing for the Czech Republic at the Hopman Cup for the third time and also went through undefeated in his men's singles matches with American Mardy Fish, Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov, Denmark's Frederik Nielsen and then France's Gasquet in the Final.

"It couldn’t be better, it was an extremely great week and first of all I need to congratulate my partner. She won all she can and I just add some winnings again and now we can be standing here and have such a nice trophy so it was really good week," Berdych said.

"I think it was possibly the best Final that could come of those two Groups and we are happy for that. We would like to congratulate them as well to get the Final and wish them both the best of luck for the rest of the season, for the Australian Open and all of the weeks. I think everybody enjoyed it, we had the best time on court and I hope the people liked it."

France also had a tremendous week in Perth, though, as Bartoli and Gasquet got their nation into the Hopman Cup Final for the second time, but the French are still chasing that elusive first title.

Bartoli might have lost tight encounters with Kvitova and world No. 5 Li Na, but did beat Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova and Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues impressively.

Gasquet has this week shown the form that saw him reach the world No. 7 ranking in 2007 by beating Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, Spain's Fernando Verdasco and China's Wu Di.

The attendance for Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIV, which will be the last at Perth's Burswood Dome before the tournament moves to the new Perth Arena, was 8365 to take the total for the week to an impressive 72,776.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:06 AM
DOHA 2012

Third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga captured the Qatar ExxonMobil Open title Saturday, defeating countryman Gael Monfils 7-5, 6-3 in the first all-French final in Doha. The tournament was celebrating it's 20th anniversary. "At the beginning of the match, it was a bit difficult because he broke me very early. It was tough. But in my head, everything was right," said Tsonga.

"I said, 'Okay, I'm one break down, but I will continue to play my game. I will make him run a lot.' So I hit a lot of shots to make him run. I think it was the good solution because then, after that, he was maybe a bit tired. After that, I was better than him. That's why I maybe won today."

The fourth-seeded Monfils broke Tsonga in the opening game of the match, handing the World No. 6 just his third break of serve in the tournament. But after Tsonga won the first point on Monfils’ serve, the match was suspended for a little over a half hour as fog caused slippery conditions on the baseline.

When the final resumed, Monfils consolidated the break, and kept his advantage until 5-3, when Tsonga wrestled the momentum away from his compatriot. Making use of delicate play at the net and a forceful forehand return, Tsonga won 16 of the final 19 points, winning four straight games to clinch the set. He won all five points when he came forward and converted both of his break points opportunities. Monfils struck seven winners to 14 unforced errors, and claimed just 30 per cent of his second serve points. "I think I had some opportunities in the first set, and I was maybe a bit less aggressive tonight to finish this first set," Monfils said. "And then I think he played better and better."

Tsonga continued his level of play, despite tumbling at the end of fourth game of the second set. He shook it off and on the next point, ran down a Monfils lob before stumbling at the back of the court. His efforts drew a smile from Monfils and a roaring applause from the crowd. Trailing 2-3, Monfils gifted Tsonga the lone break of the set with a forehand unforced error. Tsonga went on to close out the entertaining encounter in one hour and 57 minutes to win his eighth title. "I learned even when you are one break down, you don't need to panic," said Tsonga. "You need to stay yourself, stay really relaxed and play your game... I reacted really well. I played good tennis [and] I'm just really happy to win."

With the victory, Tsonga became the third Frenchman to lift the Doha trophy, following triumphs by Nicolas Escude in 2004, and Fabrice Santoro in 2000. He improved his FedEx ATP Head 2 Head record against Monfils to a 3-1 mark, and upped his final record to 8-5. "It's really good for me because I played a lot of matches [this week]," Tsonga said. "I will leave this tournament with a lot of confidence, and it's good for me for the next tournament, which will be Melbourne."

Monfils was bidding to win his fourth title, and fell to 4-12 in title matches. "I think the conditions were a bit tough, but it was for both of us," said Monfils. "Today I was maybe less powerful than I was during this week, because I think Jo also played different. He was playing a bit soft and then changed the rhythm, [hitting] a bit hard and mixing it up with some slice."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:07 AM
BRISBANE 2012

Andy Murray captured his 22nd ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the Brisbane International by beating third seed Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-1, 6-3 in front of his new coach, former World No. 1 Ivan Lendl.

World No. 4 Murray earned $74,370 in prize money and 250 South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking points, while No. 15-ranked Dolgopolov was presented a cheque for $39,165 and 150 points.

"I served pretty well again," said Murray. "It got close in the second set and I stayed focused. He was just going for his shots [and] hit quite a few winners but I didn’t let it get to me. It's good because I could easily have lost second round against [Gilles] Muller but I managed to fight my way through and played three very good matches. I felt like I was moving well right at the end of the week."

Top seed Murray broke twice in the 26-minute first set and did not lose a point in his first three service games. The 24-year-old Scot won nine straight games from 2-1 in the first set to 4-0 in the second set.

Third seed Dolgopolov won 45 per cent of his service points. Murray, who was broken six times in five matches (41 of 48 service games) this week, is now 3-0 lifetime against Dolgopolov. The final lasted 67 minutes.

Murray is now 22-9 lifetime in title matches. He has reached the Australian Open final the past two years.

"I couldn't move much on my right leg," admitted Dolgopolov. "It was tough to go right and push from it. I just tried to do my best and still stay on the court because the stadium was full and you don't want to pull out of something like that."

Dolgopolov, 23, was one of 10 first-time ATP World Tour titlists last season, when he lifted the ATP Studena Croatia Open trophy at Umag (d. Cilic). He also reached the Brasil Open final at Costa do Sauipe (l. to Almagro).

Over the course of the week, 92,802 people visited the Queensland Tennis Centre to watch the tournament.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:08 AM
CHENNAI 2012

Fourth seed Milos Raonic picked up his second ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the Aircel Chennai Open with a hard-fought 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 7-6(4) victory over top seed Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.

Raonic earned $71,900 in prize money and 250 South African Airways 2012 ATP Ranking points with victory in three hours and 14 minutes, while Tipsarevic picked up $37,860 and 150 points.

"It is only my second title," said Raonic. "It is an awesome feeling. I created a lot of opportunities... one in each set. Tipsarevic took it away in the first set. But I took my opportunities in the second and third. My serve is a big factor in my game... in 99 per cent of my matches. My job is to take care of my serve."

Tipsarevic came under pressure at 1-2, when he saved four break points, but didn't suffer any problems thereafter. Raonic dropped just three points on serve and hit 10 aces in his first six service games en route to the tie-break. Tipsarevic took a 5-3 lead in the tie-break, which proved decisive to clinch the 61-minute set. Raonic had dropped four points on serve overall.

In the second set, Tipsarevic got himself out of trouble on three occasions. From 15/40 in the first game and by winning four straight points from 0/30 at 2-2 and 15/40 at 3-3. Raonic almost fell to 3-5, but saved two break points with big winners to keep the set on serve.

Once again, a tie-break was needed. After the first couple of points were exchanged, Raonic took control by opening up a 4-1 lead. He levelled the score on his second set point opportunity, having his 13 aces and won 30 of 42 service points in 69 minutes of high-quality action.

In a close decider, Raonic saved two break points in the first game. Tipsarevic saved one at 3-4, 30/40. In the third tie-break of the final, Raonic's greater service potency reaped dividends. He gained a 5-0 lead and soon tasted silverware for the second time (2-1 overall).

Raonic hit 35 aces and 76 overall at the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tournament. The 21-year-old Canadian won all 48 of his service games in four matches and also saved all 14 break points he faced during the week.

He is the first player to win an ATP World Tour title without dropping serve since Roger Federer at the 2008 Gerry Weber Open in Halle (49 games). Raonic is now 5-8 lifetime against Top 10 opponents.

"Guys like Milos are special players," said Tipsarevic. "It was a great game of tennis. Nobody knew till the end who would win. Unluckily for me it was I who lost. It was just a matter of a few points here and there. Hopefully next time I will get the better of him."

Tipsarevic drops to a 2-6 record in singles finals. Later in the day, he teamed up with Leander Paes to win his first ATP World Tour doubles title

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:08 AM
SYDNEY 2012

Jarkko Nieminen ended a six-year title drought on Sunday, defeating Julien Benneteau 6-2, 7-5 in an all 30-over final at the Apia International Sydney to win his second career trophy. "I tried to focus and win every point I could. I think I managed to do that pretty well," said Nieminen.

"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. 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."

After Benneteau broke the Finn in the first game, the match belonged to Nieminen. He converted four breaks of serve, and won 74 per cent of his first serve points to improve his undefeated record against the Frenchman to a 5-0 mark. "I had one of the best off-seasons," revealed Nieminen. "I stayed healthy and felt I was playing really good the whole of December, and practising hard. Maybe I'm more relaxed and experienced now, and don't have anything to prove with myself."

Nieminen is the first qualifier to win an ATP World Tour title since Sergiy Stakhovsky lifted the St. Petersburg crown in 2009. Nieminen’s previous triumph came at the Heineken Open in 2006, and this week’s ATP World Tour 250 event in Sydney was the 147th tournament he competed in since winning his first title in Auckland. He is now 2-10 in title matches.

Benneteau was bidding to win his first title, and fell to a 0-6 final record with the loss. He was aiming to become the first player over 30 to capture his first ATP World Tour title in nearly seven years, when Australian Wayne Arthurs, 33, won at Scottsdale in 2005. "It was a good week, but not the finish I wanted, as I hoped today I would win," Benneteau said. "Jarkko played very well, but I could have done better. It's a good start to the year. My goal is to win a tournament and to be a better player."

The two were contesting the first all 30-over final since 2007, when 30-year-old Carlos Moya topped 33-year-old Andrei Pavel to win the Umag trophy.

Nieminen later finished runner-up with Matthew Ebden in the doubles final to World No. 1 Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan. The American twins won 6-1, 6-4.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:09 AM
AUCKLAND 2012

World No. 5 David Ferrer successfully defended his Heineken Open title on Saturday, defeating Olivier Rochus 6-3, 6-4 to win his 12th ATP World Tour trophy. "It was a pretty tough match," said Ferrer. "I think in the second set, we played good tennis. I think the key was the difference with my first serve and his."

Ferrer lost serve just once, winning 83 per cent of his first serve points. He broke Rochus three times in his four break opportunities to win a record-tying third title at the event in one hour and 36 minutes. The Spaniard joins Onny Parun (1973, ’75-76) and Roy Emerson (1960, ‘65-67) as the only three-time champions. "I love to play here," Ferrer said. "To me, winning today was more special than the other times because players are more difficult and I'm older now."

With the victory, Ferrer improved to a 6-2 record against the 68th-ranked Belgian. Ferrer has won 52 of his past 53 matches against players ranked outside the Top 50, with his lone loss during the stretch coming to then-No. 239 Ivo Karlovic at the BNP Paribas Open last year.

Rochus was bidding to end a title drought dating back to 2006, when he triumphed in Munich to win his second crown. He drops to a 2-8 final record. Ferrer is now 12-14 in title matches. "I played a good final and I think the level was great," assessed Rochus. "It was very tough physically. There were a lot of long rallies. I'm happy with how I played today and throughout the week... He was just better than me in the crucial moments."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:10 AM
AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2012

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic captured his fifth Grand Slam championship title as he defeated No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 in an epic final contest at the Australian Open on Sunday night in Melbourne.

At five hours and 53 minutes, it was the longest-ever match at the Australian Open and the longest men's Grand Slam final on record, surpassing the previous record of four hours and 54 minutes when Mats Wilander defeated Ivan Lendl at the 1988 US Open.

In his acceptance speech, Djokovic said, "Rafa, you're one of the best players ever, one of the most respected players on tour. We made history tonight; unfortunately there couldn't be two winners tonight. I wish you all the best for this season and I hope that we will have many more finals like this."

It was the third successive Grand Slam final that Djokovic and Nadal have contested, and saw the Serb extend his winning streak over Nadal to seven straight matches. The pair clashed in six finals last season, with Djokovic prevailing in each one, including at Wimbledon and the US Open.

When asked whether it was the greatest win of his career, Djokovic said, "I think [it] comes out on the top because, just the fact, that we played almost six hours is incredible. I'm very proud just to be part of this history, part of the elite players that have won this tournament several times. I was very flattered to be playing in front of Rod Laver, in front of the all time greats, and in front of 15,000 people that stayed until 1:30 a.m."

The 24 year old Serb won his first major title at the Australian Open in 2008, defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and reclaimed the trophy at Melbourne Park last year with victory over Andy Murray. Last year’s victory proved to be the catalyst for one of the greatest seasons tennis has ever seen. The Serb went on to compile a 70-6 match record, taking in a career-best 10 titles, and finished as the year-end World No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.

In a pulsating contest on Rod Laver Arena, Djokovic rallied from a 2-4 deficit in the fifth set, to fight back and claim a dramatic victory. He continued to narrow the gap in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with the Spaniard to 14-16. Nadal had never previously lost a Grand Slam final after winning the first set.

Djokovic now has a 5-2 record in Grand Slam finals, with his two defeats coming against Roger Federer in the 2007 US Open final and against Nadal in the 2010 US Open final. He is just the fifth man in the Open Era to win three successive Grand Slam titles, joining Pete Sampras, Rod Laver, Federer and Nadal.

The Belgrade native had come through a marathon semi-final clash at Melbourne Park on Friday night, edging Andy Murray 7-5 in the fifth set after four hours and 50 minutes to notch his 400th tour-level win. He improved to a 32-5 event record.

The 25-year-old Nadal was bidding to win his 11th major title and his second trophy at the Australian Open, having beaten Federer in the 2009 final. He has also won a record-equalling six Roland Garros trophies, two Wimbledon crowns, and completed the career Grand Slam when he defeated Djokovic in the 2010 US Open final.

The Mallorcan, who had defeated his long-time rival Federer in four sets in the semi-finals on Thursday night, dropped to a 10-5 mark in major finals.

"Good morning everybody," joked Nadal as he started his runner-up speech at 1:50am. "Congratulations to Novak and his team, they deserve it, they are doing something fantastic, so congratulations. To start the season here and play this fantastic match against Novak is, I believe, a fantastic start."

In his post-match press conference, Nadal admitted, "I'm tired. Physically [it] was the toughest match I ever played. I think we played a great tennis match. It was, I think, a very good show. I enjoyed being part of this event and this match.

"I wanted to win, but I am happy about how I did. I had my chances against the best player in the world today. I played one against one. I didn't play at lower level than him for a long time, so that's a very positive thing for me. I am very happy about my mentality tonight.

"Yes, I had big chance for 5-2 [in the fifth set]. I had that easy passing shot with the backhand. I miss it, yes, but I was 4-3, 0/40 in the fourth [set], too. Anything can happen when the match is there."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:10 AM
MONTPELLIER 2012

Top seed Tomas Berdych defeated third-seeded Gael Monfils 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and five minutes to win the Open Sud de France title in Montpellier Sunday.

Berdych broke Monfils twice to take the opening set in 37 minutes, but Monfils converted the only break of serve in the fifth game of the second set, and went on to level the clash at a set apiece. Each player held their nerve until the eighth game of the final set, when Monfils tossed in his sixth double fault to give Berdych a 5-3 advantage. The Czech subsequently served out the match to beat Monfils for the second time. "I expected a tough final. I felt he was the best player on the other side of the draw," Berdych said.

"It was a close match, decided by one or two points. I'm happy that I was the one to become the champion and get the last break and finish it with my serve."

The seventh-ranked Berdych improved his final record to 7-6, winning his first indoor title since lifting the BNP Paribas Masters trophy in 2005. "It was a great week. It's a nice place to play tennis," said Berdych. "I was surprised to come to an indoor tournament with such a high level. It's great to have a title from here."

Monfils, the 2010 champion, fell to a 4-13 mark in title matches, losing his second final of the year after finishing runner-up to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha to begin the season. "I was really close today, maybe Tomas was a bit more successful at the end," assessed Monfils. "He really went for it more than I did and it worked.

"To me, overall it was a great week. I played solid tennis in all my matches, even today I am very happy with the way I played. It was great to be in the final here again, and play in front of my mom, aunt and friends. It is a great tournament, which I enjoy a lot, and I will come back to try to win the title again."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:11 AM
ZAGRAB 2012

Third seed Mikhail Youzhny captured his eighth title on Sunday, dismissing first-time ATP World Tour finalist Lukas Lacko 6-2, 6-3 in the PBZ Zagreb Indoors final. He followed up his singles victory by partnering Marcos Baghdatis to the doubles crown to become the first double winner this season.

The Russian did not face a break point in the match, winning 75 per cent of his service points. He broke the 97th-ranked Lacko three times, and served out the match at love to end a 16-month title drought dating back to his Kuala Lumpur triumph in 2010. "It feels really good, as it was my best match of the tournament, and that’s why I won today," said Youzhny. "It’s tough to compare my level today with previous years, it’s impossible. But for sure today was my best tennis of the week."

With the win, Youzhny remained undefeated against the Slovakian, defeating the 24 year old for the fourth time. He is now 8-10 in title matches, with four of his final victories coming on indoor hard courts. "I don’t want to think about my ranking. If I keep playing well, my ranking will come," stated Youzhny. "I’m just enjoying my game at the moment, that’s it. It’s a nice atmosphere in Zagreb, I feel comfortable here and really enjoy this tournament."

Lacko was bidding to beat his fourth straight seeded opponent, having knocked off No. 2 seed Alex Bogomolov Jr., seventh seed Robin Haase and No. 6 seed and 2007 champion Baghdatis en route to the final. "I was down 1-2 in the first set. I had an easy forehand winner down the line, and I missed it," recalls Lacko. "It was a crucial moment as he broke me that game, and he started to play too good. He was reading me well, so I didn't have control in the [match]."

Added Lacko, "I wasn't nervous. I didn't play my best. He was just too good today. If I take my four matches before, I was the one applying pressure, attacking most of the shots. Today was the opposite. I was under pressure."

In the doubles final, Youzhny and Baghdatis rolled past wild cards Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic 6-2, 6-2 in just 52 minutes. The Cypriot and Russian won 24 of their 26 first serve points, and broke the Croatians twice in each set to seal the victory.

Baghdatis takes home his first doubles trophy in his second title match, while Youzhny celebrates his ninth win in 12 finals. Both Dodig and Pavic were contesting their first doubles final. "It's been a pleasure to come back here to play this week," said Baghdatis. "I was last here in 2007 and it's been great to be back. Thanks to everyone for making it a great week, and Mischa for playing with me. Congrats to him on a great tournament."

Prior to Youzhny, the last player to win both the singles and doubles events at an ATP World Tour event was Andy Murray, who pulled off the feat at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in 2011, partnering his brother Jamie Murray.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:12 AM
SANTIAGO 2012

Top seed Juan Monaco ended a five-year title drought on Sunday at the VTR Open as he defeated first-time finalist Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-1 in an all-Argentine final in Vina del Mar.

The 27-year-old Monaco improved to a 4-8 record in ATP World Tour finals, with his three previous titles all coming in 2007 at the Copa Claro in Buenos Aires (d. Di Mauro), Poertschach (d. Monfils) and the bet-at-home Cup Kitzbühel (d. Starace). Since then he had recorded seven runner-up finishes, including twice at the VTR Open in 2008 (l. to F. Gonzalez) and 2010 (l. to Bellucci).

"Third time is lucky they say, so this time it’s true," joked Monaco. "I’m very happy to be champion again. I lost the last seven finals, so this is a very special moment for me. I’m very happy because I fought a lot, I practised a lot and I was thinking a lot about winning a tournament again. [It gives me] confidence and motivation."

In the first all-Argentine final on the ATP World Tour in four years, Monaco made a strong start, racing to a 4-1 lead before wrapping up the first set. He looked to be in command of the match as he established a 4-2 lead in the second set, but Berlocq fought back and levelled the match after dominating the tie-break. Monaco regrouped quickly, though, and broke serve twice in the decider to claim victory in two hours and 46 minutes.

"It was a hard final," assessed Monaco. "At the beginning I felt I was playing very well. Then in the second set I started playing a little bit nervous and he came back, fought a lot, and at that time played really well. I tried to be very focussed, tried to fight for every point like it was the last one and I started playing better every game."

Monaco had come into the VTR Open having played just one match in 2012, suffering a five-set first-round loss to Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Australian Open. He improved to a 4-1 match record on the year.

Berlocq, who celebrated his 29th birthday on Friday, had only dropped one set en route to his first ATP World Tour final, including victory over second seed Juan Ignacio Chela in the semi-finals. The right-hander was also later denied silverware in the doubles final as he and Spanish partner Pablo Andujar were beaten by Frederico Gil and Daniel Gimeno-Traver 1-6, 7-5, 12-10.

"I felt very good," said Berlocq. "I was very calm and I enjoyed it a lot. I think I did things well and played the match very well tactically. I think that if I continue this way I can continue achieving good results. Now I have to continue working and trying to reach this level of performance as many times as possible each year.

"It gives me a lot of confidence to be able to play at this level. It also gives me peace of mind and confidence to be able to play with the players at an equal level. All the players here are of good quality and even though I reached a final this week, every week is different and I have to continue being focussed and working hard."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:12 AM
ROTTERDAM 2012

Top seed Roger Federer lifted his first trophy of the season in Rotterdam Sunday, defeating Juan Martin del Potro 6-1, 6-4 in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament final. "In the first set, I was rock solid. I played great from start to finish," said Federer. "In the second set, it got tighter. I'm happy I was able to sneak it out."

Federer raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first set, converting both of his break point opportunities against the Argentine. After del Potro held to get on the scoreboard, Federer served out the 34-minute set.

Del Potro settled into the match in the second set, but was broken in the fifth game by the World No. 3. Federer was pressed on his serve by the 10th-ranked del Potro, but saved all seven break points he faced throughout the match to beat the former US Open champion for the ninth time in 11 FedEx ATP Head 2 Head meetings, claiming victory in one hour and 26 minutes. "He couldn't pull the trigger the way he wanted to," assessed Federer. "Just like yesterday, I had a good mindset. I really believed I was going to make it difficult for him, especially on the break points. I know the second set could have been a whole lot different."

With the win, the Swiss extended his streak of winning at least one ATP World Tour title each season to 12 years in a row. He has triumphed at the last five indoor-hard court events he has entered, dating back to the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, winning 24 consecutive matches in those tournaments. His last loss on the surface came at the hands of Gael Monfils in the BNP Paribas Masters semi-finals two years ago. "It's nice to pick up the momentum after the indoor season I had last year," Federer said.

"And then coming back here after seven years and going through this whole buzz in Rotterdam has been amazing, having a standing ovation every time I walked on and off the court. I think it was a great tournament all-around. I really enjoyed myself here and saved my best for last. That match with Davydenko was gigantic looking back now. I knew I had a chance if I got through that one. It all came together perfectly. I'll enjoy this tonight with my friends and family who are here."

The 23-year-old del Potro was bidding to win the ATP World Tour 500 event on his event debut. Federer improves to a 71-30 final record, while del Potro drops to 9-5 in title matches. "He played much better than me today," said del Potro. "I didn't take the break points when I had them. It's really difficult to beat Federer if you have the chances and don't take them. He was more confident and concentrated than me in the important moments and I think that was the key."

Following the trophy ceremony, Federer completed a press conference and six TV interviews in three different languages.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:13 AM
BRAZIL 2012

World No. 11 Nicolas Almagro defeated Filippo Volandri 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in Sao Paulo Sunday to repeat as champion at the Brasil Open 2012. "This was not my best match here in Brazil, as I was tense and nervous," admitted Almagro. "But once again, I had control of my emotions, which is what I have always demanded, controlling the important moments. I think it's good to win a tournament and be able to think that I can still play a little better."

The top seed fired 18 aces, winning 88 per cent of his first serve points. On his first match point, Almagro converted his fourth break of serve against the Italian to clinch the crown in two hours and two minutes. The Spaniard improved to a 7-3 record against Volandri, winning his fifth match in a row over the 30 year old. "I am happy. I am on a cloud, winning a tournament three times, and twice in a row," said Almagro. "It's hard. I got here and all I want is to continue working to keep improving in my career."

Almagro is the first wild card to win an ATP World Tour event since American Ryan Sweeting captured the US Men's Clay Court Championship trophy in Houston last year. All 11 of Almagro’s career titles have come on clay courts, and the victory marked his third triumph at the ATP World Tour 250 event, with successes in 2011 and 2008. When asked to select which one of the three stood out, Almagro said, "It is a hard question. I think all titles are equally important in your career. In 2008, it was an amazing tournament. I managed to beat Carlos Moya in a tough final. Then last year, it was the beginning of a run that I really could not have dreamed. I won in Brazil, I won Buenos Aires, and I was very close to winning Acapulco.

"It is always difficult to win two years in a row and this year was just as hard, because it was my third crown. Every title has a great place in my heart and is very difficult to choose one. I take all three and I hope that next year will be four."

Volandri was looking to end a title drought dating back to his win in Palmero six years ago. "I think I played another very good match today," said Volandri. "I tried my best and fought a lot. I think in the third set, I was playing better than him but he was serving unbelievable.

"This result is more than what I was expecting this week. It gives me a lot of confidence to keep on pushing through. If I am consistent, I can play with all the players, especially on clay."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:13 AM
SAN JOSE 2012

Defending champion Milos Raonic became the first two-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season when he defeated unseeded Denis Istomin 7-6(3), 6-2 in the SAP Open final on Sunday in San Jose.

Raonic led the tournament with 61 aces, winning 86 per cent of first serve points and was only broken once (41 of 42 games held). "I think I served pretty flawlessly throughout the week," he said. "I feel like I’m a much better tennis player than I was last year. I feel last year I was sort of playing probably higher than my potential. This year, I felt like I came in a much better player and I played well. First of all, it’s great to win it the first time. But coming back and being able to defend it means so much as well."

In the final, games went with serve before Raonic raced to a 6-1 lead in the opening set tie-break, eventually closing it out 7-3. He converted both break point opportunities in the second set to seal his third ATP World Tour title in 79 minutes. Raonic had won the Aircel Chennai Open (d. Tipsarevc) in the opening week of the 2012 season.

Istomin, aiming to become the first player to win his maiden ATP World Tour title this year, had no answer to the big-serving Canadian in the first meeting between the pair and was full of praise for his opponent. "I won just four points on his serve, which makes it very difficult to win the match. I knew he was a great server and a good player. It’s very difficult to return," he said.

Winning 90 per cent of first service points and 94 per cent on second serve, and facing no break points throughout the match, World No. 32 Raonic becomes the first player to win back-to-back titles here since Andy Murray in 2006-07.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:14 AM
MEMPHIS 2012

Austrian Jurgen Melzer capped off a stellar week at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships, relegating fourth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic to runner-up status for a second straight year at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament with a 7-5, 7-6(4) victory Sunday.

Melzer became the first 30 year old to clinch the Memphis crown since Ivan Lendl in 1991, and improved to a 4-7 mark in ATP World Tour finals. He also won the indoor hard-court titles in Vienna in 2009-10 and the clay-court tournament in 2006 at Bucharest.

"Of course it’s a relief to win a tournament, especially a 500; I haven’t won one before," said Melzer. "After a tough season last year, it’s obviously something nice. I played a really good match today, I kept my head in the game. I knew it was tough. He’s probably the best server on tour at the moment. Sometimes you just walk left to right without doing anything, but I felt like when the ball was in play and when I had my chances, I played really solid."

The former World No. 8, who had recorded wins over top seed John Isner and No. 3 seed and former finalist Radek Stepanek this week, broke in the 11th game before serving out the opening set. Raonic went up 4-1 in the second set, but Melzer drew level at 4-4 and proceeded to close out the one-hour, 37-minute win in the tie-break.

"After the match against John, I felt this could be my tournament because I’ve been really playing well and things have been going together," he said. "I’ve been going for lines when it was important and especially the big points I’ve been playing well the whole tournament. This is confidence, this is what you need. In the end, it’s one or two points and I’ve played those better than the other guys this week."

Raonic had won 19 straight sets coming into the final, losing serve just once in 41 games. He fired 22 aces in the final to take his week’s total to a tournament-high 88.

"He neutralised my serve better than anybody else the last two weeks, so a big part of it is getting a lot of free points to not getting that many," said Raonic. "You have one mentality set on why the free points aren’t coming, like the last few times, and that was pretty much all due to credit to him. I just didn’t catch on early enough.

"There wasn’t really much I could do a lot of times in the matches. He was pretty much taking it to me. I felt like he was the one dictating more than I was, so he was taking that away from me. He was playing very close and inside the line, while I felt I was quite far behind, so I was the one doing most of the running."

Similar to 2011, the 21-year-old Canadian had come to Memphis straight from his title win at the SAP Open in San Jose. Last year, he was edged out by Andy Roddick in a 7-5 third set. "It doesn’t feel like it’s too far out of my grasp," said Raonic. "It’s like somebody dangling a piece of cake in front of my face and then taking it away at the last second. I’ll definitely be back."

He was attempting to win his third title of the ATP World Tour season, having opened the season with the hardware at the Aircel Chennai Open (d. Tipsarevic)

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:14 AM
BUENOS AIRES 2012

World No. 5 David Ferrer halted Nicolas Almagro’s 10-match win streak, overcoming the defending Buenos Aires champion 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win the Copa Claro title on Sunday. "This is a very nice and happy moment," Ferrer said. "To win here is very special as it is a tournament that I really like."

After losing the opening set, Ferrer controlled the remainder of the final clash, facing just one break point. He broke Almagro three times, including twice in the third set to increase his undefeated reign over his countryman to a 9-0 mark. "At the beginning, I was limited by Nicolas," assessed Ferrer. "He served well, hit stronger, and was better then me. I knew that I had to improve. I ended very stable and Nicolas had more ups and downs."

Ferrer is the second two-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season, joining Milos Raonic. The 29 year old began his year by repeating as champion at the Heineken Open in Auckland (d. Rochus). He improved to 13-14 in title matches, collecting his seventh clay-court crown.

Almagro was aiming to win back-to-back titles during the Golden Swing for the second year in a row, having successfully defended his Brasil Open 2012 trophy in Sao Paulo last week (d. Volandri). He dropped to a 15-4 season record. "In the second set, I had chances but after, it all became more and more difficult. But I never lost confidence in my game. I think that David was a fair winner and he has proven this by the huge level of game he showed during the week."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:15 AM
OPEN 13 2012

No. 4 seed Juan Martin del Potro captured his first title of the season at the Open 13 Sunday, defeating Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4 in Marseille to lift his 10th career ATP World Tour trophy.

Del Potro put 73 per cent of his first serves in play, winning 36 of 40 points. He broke Llodra once in each set to wrap up the final victory in 83 minutes. The Argentine increased his undefeated record against the 2010 titlist to a 3-0 mark, having also claimed their first-round encounter at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam last week. "Llodra has a very difficult game to play against. He hits drop shots, he slices, so it's not easy to play against him," said del Potro.

"All finals are special. Many things come to your mind... I was 0/30 down in the last game. I was really nervous. I didn't make a double fault since the Davydenko match and I had one at 5-4, serving for the match, so you could see how nervous I was. I'm really glad I won another tournament here in France, so it's amazing for me."

The win gives del Potro his first indoor crown, after finishing runner-up in his previous three indoor title matches. He improved his final record to 10-5, taking home his first title since winning the Estoril Open (d. Verdasco) in 2011. "When you win a title, it's special. You really have to celebrate it," believes del Potro. "I think I am getting closer to the best players in the world. I'm in the Top 10 now. I beat Berdych last week and Tsonga this week. If I keep working, staying at this level, step by step, I'll get closer to the top players."

Llodra was appearing in his first final since hoisting the AEGON International trophy in Eastbourne two years ago. The loss was just his third in 18 matches at the ATP World Tour 250 event. "Juan Martin played a great match and didn't give me any opportunities on his serve. He was impresive on his serve," said Llodra.

"I was a bit less strong with the most important parts of my game like my serve and my volley. He served well and we know the quality of his ground strokes so there wasn't much I could do. Therefore, I don't have any regrets. He was just better than me even though I kept fighting until the end."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:15 AM
DELRAY BEACH 2012

Seventh seed Kevin Anderson defeated qualifier Marinko Matosevic 6-4, 7-6(2) at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships Sunday to win his second career title.

Though Anderson was unable to capitalise on any of his eight break point opportunities in the second set, he took command of the tie-break to seal the win in one hour and 58 minutes. "Both of us were a little nervous at the start of match, so I had to find my rhythm," said Anderson. "I think at the end, I felt I was mentally composed throughout [the tournament]. I didn’t let any patches of bad tennis affect my mindset [this week]."

Anderson improved to 2-1 in title matches, adding to his victory on home soil in Johannesburg (d. Devvarman) last year. The South African has a 10-4 record this season. "It feels fantastic. It's my first one in the United States, which is great," Anderson said. "I feel apart from South Africa, this is my new home. My wife Kelsey was here for the weekend."

Matosevic was contesting his first ATP World Tour final. The 173rd-ranked Australian was bidding to become the second qualifier to finish in the winner’s circle in 2012, with Jarkko Nieminen achieving the feat at the Apia International Sydney in January. "My energy levels were pretty low," said Matosevic. "I just couldn’t serve well today, but credit to Kevin. He was the better player today.

"I’ve been training really hard. People have been telling me hard work pays off, and I guess in some small way, a little bit paid off this week. Before the week, if you told me that I’d make the final, I’d be the happiest guy in the world. Then when you get there and you play the match, I feel like I was just a few points from winning the match or turning the match, but I just couldn’t do it. It can only help me I guess."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:16 AM
DUBAI 2012

World No. 3 Roger Federer won his fifth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title in the 20th edition of the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tennis tournament. The Swiss defeated No. 4 Andy Murray 7-5, 6-4 in the final on Saturday evening.

The 30-year-old Federer has won the title five times in 10 years, having previously triumphed in 2003-2005 and 2007. He also finished runner-up in 2006 against Rafael Nadal, and lost to Novak Djokovic in last year’s final.

Federer won his 72nd tour-level title, and his second in three weeks having triumphed at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. del Potro) two weeks ago. The Swiss improved to a 72-30 mark in tour-level finals.

"It's great. There is no substitute to confidence," declared Federer. "I've played great. It's not just that I've taken my chances. I really thought I played a good tournament here. I played a great tournament in Rotterdam. The end of last year was exceptional, so it's nice to also win a tournament outdoors now. That gives me hope that I can carry it over to Indian Wells and Miami."

Sixteen-time Grand Slam champion Federer has been on a remarkable run of form in the past six months, winning 33 of his past 35 matches since losing in the semi-finals of the US Open (l. to Djokovic). Taking in four titles, including victory at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (d. Tsonga), Federer’s only defeats in that period have come against Nadal in the Australian Open semi-finals and to John Isner in the Davis Cup first round.

Playing Murray for the first time since November 2010 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Federer fended off two break points when trailing 15/40 in the sixth game. The Swiss then put Murray under pressure in the 11th game, and though denied from 0/40, he converted his fifth break point in the game before serving out the first set.

Capitalising on his momentum, Federer broke to lead 3-1 in the second set as Murray struggled to find the form that had seen him dispatch World No. 1 and three-time defending champion Djokovic in the semi-finals a day earlier. The Scot rallied, though, and won three straight games to earn a 4-3 lead. However, his reprieve was shortlived as Federer benefitted from more errors to break in the ninth game and served out victory in one hour and 36 minutes.

"The match was close I think in both sets," said Federer. "I just gave myself more opportunities than Andy did overall. I felt really good out there tonight. I felt calm knowing what I wanted to do. I think the surface, I used it to my advantage, which in the last year's final I couldn't or didn't. I think that was a big thing tonight as well."

The 24-year-old Murray was bidding for his second ATP World Tour title of the season, having won his 22nd career trophy at the Brisbane International in January. The Dunblane native was playing his first event since reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open, where he was beaten in five sets by Djokovic.

"I think second set he played better than me," said Murray. "For sure I made a few too many mistakes in the second, and he was playing a lot more aggressive than in the first set. But overall it was a good week. It was perfect preparation for the stretch over in America. Got through very tough matches against top, top players, so it was good."

The final was attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Patron of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:17 AM
ACAPULCO 2012

World No. 6 David Ferrer triumphed at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel for the third straight year Saturday, dismissing countryman Fernando Verdasco 6-1, 6-2 to notch his 15th successive win in Acapulco.

The top seed entered the match 3-6 against Verdasco on clay, but took control from the beginning. He won 88 per cent of his first serve points and broke the No. 8 seed twice in each set to seal the win in 70 minutes, improving to 18-1 on the year. "I am very, very happy. I played my best match of the week tonight," stated Ferrer.

"I felt I was very solid and my game went really well. As Fernando hits so hard, I knew I had to be solid and counter him and I think I did it very well, especially at the beginning. I also know Fernando didn't play his best tennis today but that's tennis. You have good days and sometimes bad days."

Ferrer is just the second player to win three titles in a row at the ATP World Tour 500 event, joining Thomas Muster, who lifted four consecutive crowns from 1993-1996. The Spaniard, now 14-14 in title matches, is also the first three-time winner in 2012, having successfully defended his title at the Heineken Open in Auckland (d. Rochus), and winning the Copa Claro in Buenos Aires (d. Almagro) last weekend. "I am very proud to have won in Acapulco for a third consecutive time," Ferrer said.

"I don't think too far ahead and take my schedule week by week. Now I have two important tournaments coming up in Indian Wells and Miami, with a few points to defend in Miami. It will be great if I manage to do well, but if not, it is not a big deal. I will keep on working hard."

Verdasco was hoping to win his first title since capturing the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell trophy in 2010. He dropped to 5-12 final record. "I want to apologise for having played so bad. I am extremely disappointed I wasn’t able to have the fight I was expecting to have," said Verdasco. "I just couldn’t keep the ball in the court today. It's always tough to lose a final, but losing it that way hurts a lot more. I want to congratulate David and all his team because he is a wonderful champion and once again he proved it here tonight."

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:17 AM
INDIAN WELLS 2012

Roger Federer equalled Rafael Nadal’s record of 19 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles after defeating American John Isner 7-6(7), 6-3 on Sunday in Indian Wells. He became the first player to claim four BNP Paribas Open titles, adding to the three straight he won from 2004-06.

"When it all pays off after a bit of a scare early on in the week and you get the title and the emotions are going, it's a wonderful feeling," he said. "I remember the days when I won three years in a row here, and I enjoyed myself over here.

"It's been a long time since I have been this successful here, even though I have had some really good matches here in the past, but it's nice taking it all the way and getting victories. I was just really happy and not relieved because I was just extremely proud of my performance this week."

Federer was the first to come under pressure in the final, needing to fight off two break points early on. After waiting out a 12-minute rain delay following the fifth game, both players easily held until Federer earned his first set point on Isner’s serve at 6-5. Isner held to force a tie-break, and fought off two more set points at 6-5 and 7-6 before he put a volley into the net on Federer’s fourth opportunity.

The Swiss stepped up his play an extra notch in the final set. He lost just one point on serve and won the final four games to close the door on the 6’9” Isner after one hour and 21 minutes.

The title was Federer’s third straight on the ATP World Tour, following his triumphs at the ATP World Tour 500 tournaments in Rotterdam and Dubai, and extended his winning streak to 15 straight matches. Since a loss in the US Open semi-finals, Federer has won 39 of his past 41 matches. He avenged his two losses - to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open semi-finals and to Isner in Davis Cup action - this weekend.

Federer had admitted he was not completely healthy at the start of the week, and needed to overcome Milos Raonic and Thomaz Bellucci in three-set matches before decisively defeating Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals.

"I played with an attitude maybe of, well, I can only win here," he said. "I don't favor myself because I have not felt great. It would be a surprise to come through. That's how it feels now. I was able to come through, and so convincingly at the end is amazing. I've really played amazing these last three matches in particular. I couldn't be more happy. They were really great wins."

Isner had reached his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final by outlasting World No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals. The victory guaranteed that the 26-year-old North Carolina native would break into the Top 10 for the first time on Monday.

"It was a great experience for me," he said. "The whole week was a lot of fun. Felt like right from the get go I was going to have a good week, but I didn't want to overthink it. I definitely took it one match at a time. I certainly played well all week, and obviously today it did not go my way.

"I don't really feel like necessarily I played my best, but that's what Roger does. If I have any shot to beat him I'm gonna have to play my best. That wasn't the case today. He was too strong. All the credit goes to him."

The BNP Paribas Open set an attendance record of 370,406, breaking last year's mark by more than 20,000.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:18 AM
MIAMI 2012

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic repeated as champion at the Sony Ericsson Open Sunday, defeating 2009 titlist Andy Murray 6-1, 7-6(4) to triumph for the third time at Crandon Park.

"Any title is big, and it means a lot," said Djokovic. "I've won three times here. I think that says enough about how I feel playing in Miami. I love the crowd... I have been really playing well in the last couple of years here, so this is going to be very encouraging for me prior to the clay-court season."

Djokovic converted two of his eight break point opportunities and won 70 per cent of his service points. He closed out the second set tie-break on his first match point to seal the win in two hours and 18 minutes, becoming just the third male to lift three trophies in Miami (Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras).

"When he feels the chance, he always grabs it," Djokovic said. "Luckily for me, I came out with some good serving when I needed to. I think I served over 70 per cent of first serves in, which was really important today to get a couple of free points on that serve and set up a good second shot. I [did] that when I needed to."

The Serbian captured his 11th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, moving into a tie with Sampras for fourth place on the all-time list. He successfully defended a Masters 1000 title for the first time to win his 30th tour-level title and second this season, following his victory at the Australian Open (d. Nadal).

"I feel that being No. 1 and having the best year of my career in 2011, I'm playing at the peak of my form and I'm playing the best tennis that I have played," said Djokovic. "So I have to use that as much as I can, coming into every tournament that I play. The competition is getting stronger, I believe. Everybody is so professional nowadays. So that makes it even tougher for anybody to win a title. But I'm ready for it."

The 24-year-old Djokovic is the first player to win the tournament without losing a set since accomplishing the same feat in 2007, when he beat Guillermo Canas to pick up his first Masters 1000 trophy. He is also the first top-ranked player to finish in the winner's circle since Roger Federer won back-to-back trophies in 2005-2006.

Murray was bidding for his second title of the season and dropped to 5-8 against Djokovic.

"I didn't return well today, which is normally one of the best parts of my game. That was the difference, in my opinion," said Murray. "[I was] not getting into enough of his service games because I missed too many returns. If I was able to get into more longer rallies on his service games, then maybe it would have been a different result in the second set."

The tournament broke its all-time attendance record, with 326, 131 fans turning out for the two week event.

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:19 AM
HOUSTON 2012

Fourth-seeded wild card Juan Monaco knocked off second seed John Isner 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to capture the US Men’s Clay Court Championship trophy Sunday in Houston.

Monaco broke Isner twice in the first set, ending the American’s run of 45 successive service holds at the ATP World Tour 250 event. The Argentine saved eight of nine break points against his serve to claim victory in two hours and 28 minutes, notching his first win in three meetings with Isner.

“I think we played a great final,” said Monaco. “The first set, I played really well, and then he came back in the second set. In the final set, it was a battle. We fought until the last point. I served pretty well in the last game, so I'm happy for that.”

The 16th-ranked Monaco is 11-2 on clay in 2012, adding to his triumph at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar (d. Berlocq). With his first title on US soil, the 28 year old will equal his career-high South African Airways ATP Ranking of No. 14 on Monday.

“This is a great moment in my career. I've worked very hard to be here,” Monaco said. “I have the clay-court season in Europe now, which is very important for me. This tournament is going to bring me a lot of confidence.”

Isner was bidding to win his first trophy of the year, having also finished runner-up at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (l. to Federer). He dropped to 0-2 in clay-court title matches.

“I came out of the gates slow. I wasn't quite there,” admitted Isner. “It took a while to get warmed up and engaged in the match. I got better as the match went on.

“After the first set, the quality from both of us picked up a lot. I had some things go right in the second set. I saved a number of break points. But I had some things go against me in the third set. He was pressuring me pretty well all day. All in all, it was a good effort and was the best match I played all week. That's encouraging. I was a little tired, but I didn't feel it at the end.”

Chirag
04-18-2012, 09:19 AM
CASABLANCA 2012

Third seed Pablo Andujar defeated seventh-seeded countryman Albert Ramos 6-1, 7-6(5) in a rain-delayed final to successfully defend his Casablanca title at the Grand Prix Hassan II on Sunday.

"I'm very happy, as this is very special to me. I didn't think that I could win here twice in a row,” said Andujar. “It was difficult with the three rain delays.”

Andujar capitalised on all four of his break opportunities, winning 47 per cent of his return points to triumph in one hour and 46 minutes. He is yet to drop a set in his three tour-level meetings with Ramos.

“Albert was a bit nervous at the beginning and I played very well during the first set,” Andujar assessed. “The second set could have gone in both directions. It wasn't easy to remain calm in the end.”

The 26-year-old Andujar improved to a 2-3 final record, with all of his title match appearances coming on clay. He is 9-0 in Casablanca, taking 18 of the 20 sets he’s played at the ATP World Tour 250 event.

Ramos was contesting his first ATP World Tour final and dropped to a 14-10 season record.

Chirag
01-26-2014, 04:43 PM
MONTE CARLO 2012

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal clinched his eighth successive Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title on Sunday, dismissing top-ranked Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 to end a seven-match final losing streak to the Serb.

"It's very important to break that situation," said Nadal. "It's important to win a tournament another time. Especially [this] tournament. [Breaking] that situation [and] winning a Masters 1000, one of my favourites, [makes] everything perfect today."

The 25-year-old Nadal broke a tie with Roger Federer for the most ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns, lifting his 20th trophy. It’s his first triumph since winning a record-tying sixth Roland Garros title in June 2011.

"To start the clay-court season winning here is an amazing feeling," Nadal said. "This tournament is very special for me. My level of tennis was high during the last four matches, since the second round."

The Spaniard, who did not drop a set all week, broke Djokovic’s serve in the third game courtesy of a backhand error, and had his opponent under more pressure in the seventh game. Djokovic saved a break point to hold for 3-4, but Nadal broke down his defences again in the ninth game to clinch the opener as the Serb hit wide.

Nadal ran away with the second set, racing to a 4-0 lead before Djokovic capitalised on his lone break point opportunity to get on the scoreboard. Nadal converted his fifth break in the ensuing game, and served out the match to claim victory in one hour and 19 minutes.

"He took his opportunities [in the] first set and made a break, and that's it," said Djokovic. "I didn't make him play at all. I just was out there trying to put the ball in the court."

Djokovic was bidding to win his third title of the season, having captured his fifth Grand Slam championship over Nadal at the Australian Open, and finishing in the winners’ circle at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami (d. Murray). It was an emotional week for Djokovic, who learned on Thursday that his grandfather had passed away.

"It's been a tough week, not just for me but for everybody in my family," Djokovic said. "We're going through this together. In the end, I played the final and I'm really happy for that."

Chirag
01-26-2014, 04:44 PM
BARCELONA 2012
World No. 2 Rafael Nadal captured the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell trophy for the seventh time on Sunday as he defeated fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 7-6(1), 7-5 in the final. He was contesting his 69th tour-level final and won his 48th title.

It is the fourth time that Nadal has beaten Ferrer in the final of this ATP World Tour 500 clay-court tennis tournament. He has won his past 34 matches at the event and lifted the trophies from 2005-2009 and 2011-2012.

"It's almost unimaginable to win here seven times," said Nadal. "It's a special tournament for me, at home in my club. To win at home in front of the people you know is always more special. I played at a very high level to win in Monte-Carlo and now Barcelona without losing a set, but I've been playing at a high level from the beginning of the year starting in Australia.

"The emotions are always high, but probably each year they get a bit higher as you are one year older and you don't know how many chances you are going to have left."

Nadal was made to work very hard for his 14th win in 18 meetings with Ferrer. The top seed rallied from an early break down in the first set and was forced to save five set points in the 12th game. He then stepped up to dominate the tie-break and clinch the first set after 93 minutes.

The Mallorcan looked to have a decisive lead when he broke for 3-1 in the second set. But the resilient Ferrer hit back to win four of the next five games to earn a chance to serve for the set. He was unable to convert, though, and Nadal broke serve to love in the 12th game to prevail in two hours and 40 minutes.

Victory marked Nadal’s second ATP World Tour title in as many weeks. Last week he ended a 10-month title drought by winning his eighth successive Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters trophy (d. Djokovic). He is the first player in the Open Era to win two ATP World Tour tournaments seven times.

"It was a very equal match," reflected Nadal. "He didn't let me play my best level in the first set. I feel sorry for David and hope he can win here one day because he deserves it. Of course I am very happy to win two titles in a row and to start the clay court season like this."

The 25-year-old Nadal is on a 21-match winning streak on clay since losing to Novak Djokovic in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia last May. He bounced back from that defeat to win his 10th Grand Slam championship at Roland Garros (d. Federer).

World No. 6 Ferrer was bidding to win his fourth ATP World Tour title of the season, following victory in Auckland (d. Rochus) and two wins on clay in Buenos Aires (d. Almagro) and Acapulco (d. Verdasco). The 30 year old had saved three match points to edge Feliciano Lopez in the quarter-finals and overcame Milos Raonic in two tie-breaks in the semi-finals.

It is the 12th time in 13 attempts that Ferrer has lost to a Top 10 player in an ATP World Tour final; he dropped to a 14-15 record in title matches.

"I had chances in both sets; he played better in the important moments," conceded Ferrer. "It's always hard to lose a final, but especially today it's hard because of the way it happened. It came down to small details, but Rafa deserved it.

"Overall I'm happy with my week. I played my best match of the week today, but to win against Rafa I had to do more. I played a bit too conservatively on the set points in the first set. It's difficult to lose my fourth final. It was a very good tournament for me."

Chirag
01-26-2014, 04:45 PM
BUCHAREST 2012
World No. 12 Gilles Simon triumphed at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy for the third time on Sunday as he defeated first-time finalist Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-3.

The Frenchman had clinched the title on his previous two visits to Bucharest in 2007 (d. Hanescu) and 2008 (d. Moya) and improved to a 15-1 mark at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament.

"It’s great," said Simon. "I played a great match today. It was very difficult; Fabio played well and I had to run a lot today. You really have the feeling that you are never in control of the game. I’m always happy when I win a tournament like this because sometimes people think it will be easy when you’re the No. 1 seed, but on the court it’s very close every time. I’m very proud to win this tournament for the third time and to bring the trophy back home."

The top-seeded Simon clinched the first set after five breaks of serve had been exchanged and broke Fognini’s serve twice more in the second set to claim victory in one hour and 50 minutes. He saved 10 of the 12 break points he faced. It was his fourth win in four meetings with Fognini.

The 28-year-old Simon captured his 10th ATP World Tour title and fifth on clay. He has won at least one ATP World Tour title every year since 2007. The right-hander improved to a 21-10 match record on the season, having also reached the semi-finals in Brisbane (l. to Dolgopolov), Montpellier (l. to Monfils) and last week on clay in Monte-Carlo (l. to Nadal).

The No. 57-ranked Fognini was attempting to become the first player this season to win his maiden ATP World Tour title. En route to the final, he had beaten fifth seed Marcos Baghdatis and No. 6 Andreas Seppi.

The 24-year-old Italian, who was sidelined earlier in the season with a foot injury, dropped to a 6-6 match record in 2012.

"I’m upset because I lost the final," said Fognini. "I had my chances, but he has played more finals than me and is more experienced. Maybe next time I will have the chance to win the tournament. It’s been a good week. I’m happy that I played great tennis; it was just my third tournament after the injury."

Chirag
01-26-2014, 04:46 PM
MUNICH 2012
Fourth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber captured his second title at the BMW Open on Sunday, defeating No. 3 seed Marin Cilic 7-6(8), 6-3 in Munich.

Kohlschreiber saved seven of the eight break points he faced, including all four against his serve in the second set, to seal the final victory in one hour and 49 minutes. He secured his fifth win in eight meetings with Cilic to lift his first trophy of the season.

"I think we had a tight and great first set. I was a little more lucky in the important moments," Kohlschreiber reflected to ATPWorldTour.com. "Maybe that was the key to the whole match. I had a good start in the second set, making a break and I held it until the end."

The German improved to a 17-6 record at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament, adding to his triumph over Mikhail Youzhny in 2007. He is now 4-2 in title matches, and became the first two-time German winner at the event. In addition to winning € 71,900 in prize money, Kohlschreiber takes home a brand new white BMW Z4 sDrive28i and two business class tickets to South Africa courtesy of South African Airways.

"It's tough to find the words when you win your home tournament," said Kohlschreiber. "The win at the BMW Open in 2007 gave me a great start in my career. Now, in the later stages of my career, it's an amazing feeling to win in front of my home fans."

Cilic finished runner-up for the second time, having lost to Youzhny in the 2010 final. He was bidding to win his first clay-court crown in three finals, and fell to an overall final record of 6-7.

"I didn't find a rhythm like I had in the days before. I think that had an impact during the match," Cilic said. "I had four or five set points in the first set. I felt the whole time I was trying to catch him. Today's conditions were pretty heavy, so I needed to find a good balance with everything. It's unfortunate losing in the final for the second time, but I'm happy with the week. I'm going to put this final behind me and look forward to Madrid."

Chirag
01-26-2014, 04:47 PM
BELGRADE 2012
Second seed Andreas Seppi dismissed first-time ATP World Tour finalist Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-2 at the Serbia Open 2012 Sunday to win his first title of the year in Belgrade.

"I think my play was really solid this week," Seppi assessed. "Maybe yesterday, the first set was under my expectations, but the rest was very good, so I can be very happy about this victory."

The Italian won 67 per cent of his second serve return points to break Paire five times, wrapping up the final victory in 71 minutes.

"I was stressed and tired today," Paire said. "It's disappointing that I couldn't win any easy games with my serve after leading 3-1 in the first set. My first serve percentage was very low and that's why he was able to attack all the time.

"I only had hard matches against tough players this week. I'm not used to playing so many hard matches against great players in a row. It was a great week for me but of course I'm disappointed that I couldn't do better in my first final. I have my birthday in two days and this would have been the perfect gift."

Seppi improved to a 2-1 record in title matches, adding to his triumph at the AEGON International in Eastbourne (d. Tipsarevic) last year. He is 7-2 on clay this season.

"My goal is to be back into the Top 30. My highest ranking is 27," said Seppi. "At the beginning of the year, I said I wanted to try and get back there. I'm a little closer now. I'll just try to do it match by match and see if I can manage it by the end of the year."

The 96th-ranked Paire was bidding to become the lowest-ranked player to lift an ATP World Tour trophy in 2012, as well as the first player this season to capture his maiden tour-level title. The Frenchman had defeated three seeded players en route to the final.

"I'm looking forward to the coming weeks," said Paire. "I have no points to defend in the next three months and that makes it very interesting. I saw this week that I can beat great players and I hope that I can continue like this."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 02:51 AM
ESTORIL 2012
Top-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro successfully defended his Estoril Open title on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over second seed and 2007 runner-up Richard Gasquet of France in 88 minutes. It was the first No. 1 seed versus No. 2 seed final in four years (Federer-Davydenko) at the Estadio Nacional. The final

Del Potro became the third player in the 23-year-old history of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament to win back-to-back titles. He joined Spaniard Albert Montanes (2009-10), who he beat in this year's quarter-finals, and former World No. 1 Thomas Muster (1995-96).

The 23-year-old Tandil native earned €71,900 in prize money and 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points, while Gasquet went home with €37,860 and 150 points. It was del Potro's 11th tour-level title (11-5 lifetime and 4-0 on clay) and second title of 2012 after the Open 13 in February.

"I felt I played well really well today," said del Potro. "I felt it was my best match of the week, so I am very glad for that to get another title in Estoril.

"I play really aggressive all the time and I felt really confident on my forehand. I grew in confidence every game. It is important for me. I played my best to beat Gasquet.

"I am getting closer and closer to my best form. I have worked really hard at home and now I have another important tournament next week to improve further. If I play as well as I did today over the coming days, I will be happy."

Del Potro, who beat Gasquet in this year's Marseille quarter-finals, broke his opponent to love in the opening game. Gasquet came under further pressure at 1-3, when del Potro's power from the baseline forced one break point opportunity at 30/40. Gasquet saved it by charging the net for a forehand volley winner.

While del Potro experienced few problems in holding serve, the reverse was true for Gasquet. At 2-4, the Frenchman saved two break points, but del Potro's consistency in long baseline rallies continued to force Gasquet into several errors. Del Potro regularly had Gasquet striking his groundstrokes from three yards behind the baseline.

The World No. 12 sealed the set with a love hold in 54 minutes. In four service games he'd lost seven points on serve. Gasquet had lost 20 of his service points.

Del Potro broke in the first game of the second set, converting his third break point chance with a forehand winner down the line into space. He took a 4-1 lead, with yet another powerful forehand winner and went onto record his fourth straight win in five minutes over Gasquet. It was del Potro's 27th match win of 2012 (27-6 record).

Del Potro dropped 22 games in four matches en route to the title. He held serve 33 of 35 games and won 15 of 34 return games during the week.

The 25-year-old Gasquet dropped to 6-9 in ATP World Tour finals (2-5 on clay). He finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the 2007 Estoril Open final.

"He played very well, he's very powerful, has a great a service, a great forehand and backhand," said Gasquet. "He deserved this win. He played better than me. He's very tall and has a good second serve and was hitting the ball very well. He was the better player today.

"It's always disappointing to lose a final. [In the others finals I have lost] I lost five times to Djokovic, [Roger] Federer, now del Potro. They were better than me.

"It's good for me to reach a final. It was a good tournament to prepare for the clay season. I get confidence from this tournament."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 02:52 AM
MADRID 2012
Roger Federer will return to No. 2 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings on Monday after winning a record-equalling 20th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title on Sunday in Madrid. The Swiss defeated Tomas Berdych 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open.

"It’s been a great spell and I couldn’t be more happy right now coming off a break winning right away," said Federer, who was playing his first tournament since early April. "It’s always an ideal scenario for what’s to come."

The 30-year-old Federer tied Nadal’s short-lived record for most ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies. The Spaniard clinched his 20th title last month at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (d. Djokovic). Federer is the all-time leader with 258 Masters 1000 match wins and won his first of the coveted trophies in Hamburg in 2003.

Federer’s return to No. 2 will see him hold the position for the first time since the week of 14 March, 2011. The Basel native has been in blistering form over the past eight months. Since losing out to Novak Djokovic in the US Open semi-finals, Federer has compiled a 45-3 match record and has lost prior to the semi-finals just once in nine tournaments (l. to Roddick 3rd Rd in Miami).

Federer captured an ATP World Tour-best fourth title of the season, adding to triumphs in Rotterdam (d. del Potro), Dubai (d. Murray) and Indian Wells (d. Isner). He was contesting his first clay-court tournament of the year, and was extended to a third set tie-break in his Madrid opening match against Milos Raonic.

“I was worried about getting through the first round and was not even thinking about who was going to be my second round opponent," he said. "I was very realistic coming into this event. Confidence is coming back. I was away and it didn’t take much for me to get my confidence back, especially now that I’ve been playing so well for the past nine months."

Berdych made the better start to the final, breaking straight away for a 2-0 lead. The Czech was denied a set point chance in the eighth game, but closed it out on serve in the following game. Federer looked set to level the match after an early service break in the second set, but squandered a set point in the ninth game as Berdych fought back to level. A double fault from the Czech proved costly in the 12th game, though, as Federer broke once more to steal the set.

After saving two break points at the start of the third set, Federer broke through in the eighth game courtesy of successive double faults from Berdych, who had just rallied from 0/40 with three aces. However, Berdych again hit back, breaking immediately to level up at 5-5. The Czech’s lives ran out in the 12th game. He recovered from a 0/40 deficit, but could not deny Federer on his fourth match point as he prevailed in two hours and 38 minutes.

"It was tough. I was almost down the entire time," admitted Federer. "Finally I got the break in the third, and then he broke back. Things got tough again. I played great. It's always special winning a title 7-5 in the third. The crowd was amazing so I'm very happy."

It was Federer’s 11th win in 15 meetings with Berdych. He came into the clash with the Czech player having lost three of their past five matches, including defeat in the 2010 Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Federer triumphed in Madrid for the third time in five finals. The right-hander lifted the trophy for the first time in 2006 (d. Gonzalez), when it was an indoor hard-court tournament, before regaining the trophy in 2009 (d. Nadal) on clay. He was runner-up in 2007 (l. to Nalbandian) and 2010 (l. to Nadal).

World No. 7 Tomas Berdych was bidding to win his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown, following victory in Paris in 2005. This season’s Montpellier champion (d. Monfils) dropped to a 7-7 record in tour-level finals. He had been in impressive form throughout the week at La Caja Magica, storming through to the final without dropping a set, including victories over Fernando Verdasco and Juan Martin del Potro.

"I would just say that it was a very close game," assessed Berdych. "You sometimes need to make those small adjustments to win a match like this, but it wasn't my case today.

"The week was great until the last day," he continued. "Right now I am really upset and I am sad because of how I finished it. I lost the final but in a couple of hours I am going to see it in a more positive way. I had a great week, I beat a lot of great guys and made it to the finals."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 02:52 AM
ROME 2012
Rafael Nadal will return to World No. 2 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings after winning the Internazionali BNL d’Italia title for the sixth time on Monday in Rome. In a re-match of the 2011 final, the Spaniard defeated World No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-3 after rain had washed out play on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Nadal lifted the trophy at the Foro Italico for the sixth time, following triumphs in 2005-2007 and 2009-2010. Victory also marked a record-breaking 21st ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown for Nadal. The Spaniard had broken new territory with victory at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in April, before Roger Federer drew level with success at the Mutua Madrid Open last week.

Federer’s victory in Madrid had also seen Nadal displaced as World No. 2 as the Swiss returned to the Top 2 for the first time since the week of 14 March, 2011. It means Djokovic and Nadal will be seeded Nos. 1 and 2 at next week’s Roland Garros.

"I am happy that I won in Rome without losing a set against the best players in the world like [Tomas] Berdych and [David] Ferrer and Djokovic," said Nadal. "I will have this trophy in my bedroom. It is a dream. [I have] the confidence I am playing well and this comes when I play at the right level. Hopefully I will keep playing like this."

Nadal now goes into Roland Garros, where he will attempt to lift the trophy for the seventh time, with a 16-1 record on clay this season. He has been victorious in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona (d. Ferrer) and now in Rome, while his lone defeat came in Madrid at the hands of Fernando Verdasco.

After losing seven times in a row against Djokovic between the 2011 Indian Wells final and this year’s Australian Open title match, Nadal has now beaten the Serb twice. He stopped the run of defeats with a straight-sets victory in Monte-Carlo and leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 18-14.

Djokovic was under immediate pressure from Nadal below brighter skies at the Foro Italico on Monday. The Serb saved two break points in his opening service game before Nadal converted his fourth opportunity to lead 3-2. Djokovic immediately recovered the service break, but was broken by Nadal again in the 11th game, after a scintillating exchange at the net, and the Spaniard sealed the opener.

Nadal was quick to capitalise on his momentum, taking advantage of an increased unforced error count by Djokovic and dominating from the baseline as he broke in the first game of the second set. Djokovic squandered four break back points in the following game, and another in the fourth game, before surrendering the match in the ninth game after two hours and 20 minutes with his fourth double fault.

The 24-year-old Djokovic was bidding to win the Rome title for the third time, following victories in 2008 (d. Wawrinka) and 2011. He also finished runner-up to Nadal in the 2009 finale. The Belgrade native has captured two tour-level titles this season, retaining his crowns at the Australian Open and Miami (d. Murray), and goes into Roland Garros with a 30-5 match record.

"He is always the favourite, even if I win against him seven times; he is the best player in the world on this surface," said Djokovic. "I think that the match today was quite close, even if he won in straight sets. If you don’t use the opportunities against Rafa he gets momentum. I made a lot of errors which should not happen when you play against Nadal. I will go to Paris with confidence and I played a great week."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 02:53 AM
NICE 2012
Spain's Nicolas Almagro successfully retained the Open de Nice Côte d'Azur title on Saturday without dropping a set all week. It is the third time in his career he has won an ATP World Tour tournament in successive years (also Valencia Open 500 in 2006-07 and the Abierto Mexicano Telcel at Acapulco in 2008-09).

The third seed improved to 12-5 lifetime in ATP World Tour finals after he beat American qualifier and World No. 216 Brian Baker 6-3, 6-2 in 70 minutes on the French Riviera.

"I played my best tennis in two years here," said Almagro. "I am very happy with my serve and my forehand. I moved on the court very, very well. Today, was one of those matches you want to keep in your mind for the rest of the season, because I couldn't have played much better. Today was amazing. I am happy with my form, my tennis and my team. We will aim to keep working hard, so I play, in future, as I did today."

Almagro, who is currently No. 14 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, improved to 35-11 on the season, which includes one other trophy success at the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo (d. Volandri).

The 26 year old received €71,900 in prize money and 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points, while Baker took home €37,860 and 150 points.

"It was a really tough match," admitted Baker. "He always seems to play pretty well. He didn't make many unforced errors and I think he seemed to have a high first serve percentage. He wasn't just trying to get them in, he was going for a lot. I was struggling to return his serve. I didn't feel like I played that poorly. I was a little sore and a little tired, but he was definitely the better player.

"I should have changed where I stood in the court [to return serve]. I should have returned further back to give him another look. I did it at the end of the second set and it worked better. It was tough out there and he played really well."

Bake saved two break points en route to 3-3 in the first set, but Almagro won the next three games to wrap up the 35-minute set. Almagro won 80 per cent of his service points in four games.

Almagro broke Baker's serve in the fourth and eighth games of the second set and went onto clinch victory. He hit 11 aces overall and converted four of nine break point opportunities.

First-time ATP World Tour finalist Baker, aged 27, was sidelined for nearly six years after five surgeries (three hip, one elbow, one sports hernia) before returning to competitive tennis in July 2011 at the Pittsburgh Futures event while unranked.

"It was a great week," said Baker. "Every time you go onto court you want to win. I am a competitor, I hate losing. But, when you look at the week as a whole, it has been an unbelievable week. I hoped to qualify at the start of the week and win a match or two, before going to Roland Garros. I obviously did much better. I think even in the qualifying, I felt as if I was playing pretty well. I won my three matches easily and knew I was playing good tennis."

Almagro said, "[Baker] lost the final today, but he is back, he is playing very good. I think if he plays as he did this week, then he will win many, many tournaments."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 02:54 AM
WORLD TEAM CUP 2012
Serbia has won the Power Horse World Team Cup in Dusseldorf for the second time.

Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki, who were part of the 2009 title-winning squad, helped Serbia to a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic with victories in the singles rubbers on Saturday.

World No. 8 Tipsarevic got Serbia off to a fine start at the Rochusclub with a 7-5, 7-6(8) win over Tomas Berdych in one hour and 57 minutes to break a three-match losing streak against the World No. 7. Tipsarevic, 27, has a 26-11 season record and is now 8-2 at the championship.

"We both played very solid. I was a bit lucky at the end of both sets," said Tipsarevic. "In the second set, his string broke on a very important point, but I felt I deserved to win. I was the better player today in the crucial moments of the match."

Berdych agreed with Tipsarevic's assessment, stating, "I think it was a pretty solid game today but unfortunately there were a couple of things that were a bit unlucky on my side. But that’s how it is in tennis."

In the second rubber, Troicki battled back from a slow start to overcome Czech Radek Stepanek 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and eight minutes to clinch the team title for Serbia.

"I would say that it was not such a great match from both of us. It was more tactical," Troicki said. "I knew he was a bit more tired than me. I was using that and at the end I played good. I also want to thank Janko. He won all of his matches and he helped me a lot today with the pressure. I also want to thank Nenad and Miki. It was great."

"In the beginning, I was the better one," believes Stepanek. "I had more control over the game, I was active. But I think the previous days just slowly got me. I got slower on my legs and I didn’t have good positioning on the final shots."

Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic then teamed up to complete a clean sweep for Serbia with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Berdych and Frantisek Cermak in the doubles rubber, which lasted 54 minutes.

Red Group champions, Czech Republic, went 3-0 in round robin play this week and were attempting to capture its third title and the first since 1987. They also won the title in 1981. Blue Group winners, Serbia, also went 3-0 in group play and earned its second trophy on the Dusseldorf clay.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 02:54 AM
FRENCH OPEN 2012
Two-time reigning champion Rafael Nadal made Roland Garros history on Monday, defeating top-ranked Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 in a rain-delayed final that spanned two days to capture his seventh title in Paris, breaking a tie with Bjorn Borg for the most trophies in tournament history.

"For me it is a real honour. Borg is one of the greatest in history, one of the more charismatic players in history," Nadal said in a post-match interview with John McEnroe. "The comparison with the great Bjorn is fantastic. He's always been very nice to me, so I have to say thanks."

Added Nadal in his press conference, "For me, it is a real emotional day, winning another time here. Sure, the seventh is important because I am the player who has more today, but like I said yesterday: that's after. For me, the important thing is to win Roland Garros even if it's the first, second, third, or seventh [time]. That's what makes me very happy. [I'm] very happy [with] the way that I played today, because I played much more aggressive."

With his 11th Grand Slam crown, Nadal moves into a third-place tie with Borg for the most major singles championships in the Open Era. He also becomes just the 10th player in Open Era history to win 50 titles on the ATP World Tour, with 36 of his successes occurring on clay.

Djokovic was bidding to join Rod Laver as the only men’s player to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time since 1969, having topped Nadal in the previous three major finals. He was aiming to become the first man since Jim Courier in 1992 to win back-to-back titles at the Australian Open and Roland Garros. The loss snapped his 27-match Grand Slam winning streak and he dropped to a 5-3 record in major finals. The World No. 1 had won two five-set thrillers during his run to the final, rallying from a two-sets-to-love deficit against Andreas Seppi in the round of 16, and edging Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a five-set quarter-final clash after saving four match points.

"I could easily have lost the match in fourth round or even more against Tsonga, but I managed to come to the final for the first time in my career. I should be happy about that," said Djokovic. "I thought we played a fantastic match where people hopefully enjoyed yesterday and today, and I was even surprised with the number of people who attended this match today. It was a working day, but it was still a full stadium. It's beautiful. These matches make you feel like all the work that you put into it is worth [it]."

In a tussle between the Top 2 players in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, Nadal was the more consistent player in the first two sets, overcoming cold, heavy conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier to lead 6-3, 5-3 before rain interrupted the final.

After a 34-minute rain delay, Nadal broke Djokovic with a stunning backhand pass to take a two-set lead. He seemed to be in command of the match, after breaking Djokovic to move ahead 2-0 in the third set. But the Serbian dug in to win six consecutive games, claiming his first set in 11 attempts against Nadal in Paris. Djokovic continued to control the momentum early in the fourth set, holding a 2-1 break advantage before rained halted play for the day.

When play resumed Monday, Nadal immediately broke back to level at 2-all after his netcord opened up the court for a routine winner. After five more service holds, a brief delay stopped play, before Djokovic held to 5-all. But Nadal stepped up in the final two games, holding in a tight game for a 6-5 lead, and then ripping a forehand winner at 30-all in the ensuing game to set up championship point. Djokovic then tossed in his fourth double fault to send Nadal to his knees, who wrapped up the final victory in three hours and 49 minutes.

Entering the final, Nadal was the first man in the Open Era to reach five Grand Slam finals without losing a set. He is now 5-0 in those tournament runs, and four of those triumphs have come at Roland Garros. The 26 year old has won 52 of his 53 matches in Paris, with his only blip coming at the hands of Robin Soderling in the round of 16 three years ago.

Since falling to Djokovic in the longest Grand Slam final clash in history at the Australian Open to lose his seventh consecutive title match to the Serbian, Nadal has won three straight meetings, all coming in clay-court finals. He beat Djokovic at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Rome and Monte-Carlo. With Sunday's victory, Nadal increased his FedEx ATP Head 2 Head series lead over Djokovic to a 19-14 mark.

"I had lost three Grand Slam finals in a row to him," Nadal said. "That's why it was important for me to win, and this is why I was a bit more nervous and there was a lot of emotions."

Note: Frenchman Max Decugis won eight Roland Garros titles in 1903-04, '07-09, '12-14. But the French championships did not invite international players to compete at the tournament until 1925.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 02:55 AM
HALLE 2012
Former World No. 2 Tommy Haas won the Gerry Weber Open title for the second time on Sunday in Halle as he defeated good friend and five-time former champion Roger Federer 7-6(5), 6-4.

“I don’t have many words to say really, except that it is an amazing feeling to win another title in Germany,” said Haas. “[Winning] my thirteenth title was a goal of mine to maybe achieve in the next coming months, years or however long I am going to play. To have somebody across the net like Roger is a real honour for me. To have that picture with the winning trophy and Roger next to me is something really special, something I’ll obviously never forget. I’m just really happy and proud.”

The German had lifted the trophy in 2009 with victory over Novak Djokovic and ended a nine-match losing streak against Federer to win his 13th ATP World Tour title. He has won eight ATP World Tour finals in a row, with his last defeat in a title match coming against Andre Agassi in Rome in 2002.

“It’s probably up there if not the sweetest one considering the injuries, considering not knowing how much longer it would really go or if I can actually get back to a certain level,” Haas said. “Then seeing how I played this week on grass here and beating Roger. It’s probably up there.”

The 34-year-old Haas started the season ranked outside the Top 200 after undergoing hip surgery that kept him out for 14 months between late February 2010 and May 2011. He had returned to the Top 100 at No. 87 with the help of a semi-final showing in Munich (l. to Cilic) and a third-round effort at Roland Garros (l. to Gasquet), and is now projected to leap to around No. 51 after earning 250 South African Airways ATP Rankings points.

Coming into the final, Haas had not beaten Federer since the 2002 Australian Open fourth round. Haas recovered from 1-3 down in the first set, levelling in the sixth game before prevailing in the subsequent tie-break. He then broke Federer in the ninth game of the second set after chasing down a drop shot to hit a backhand winner and served out the match in one hour and 35 minutes.

“I should never have lost the first set. So, obviously that hurt,” said Federer. “He got momentum after that. He started to serve a bit better. I missed a few more forehands and missed a few chances earlier on in the second. So, it was a tough match for me to lose really... He was aggressive, he was maybe the more inspired player out there today. And that’s why he deserved to win.”

The 30-year-old Federer was bidding to win his sixth title in Halle. Having won the title between 2003-2006 and 2008, he finished runner-up to Lleyton Hewitt in the 2010 title match and has a 39-5 event record.

Federer opened his grass-court campaign fresh from reaching the semi-finals at Roland Garros (l. to Djokovic). He was looking to win his fifth ATP World Tour title of the season, following victories at Rotterdam, Dubai, Indian Wells and Madrid.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 02:56 AM
QUEENS 2012
World No. 25 Marin Cilic won his seventh ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the AEGON Championships capping a strong return from injury.

The 23-year-old Cilic was sidelined for the first seven weeks of the year due to a knee injury, but has come back strongly to compile a 15-9 match record. The Croatian was a finalist at the BMW Open in Munich in May (l. to Kohlschreiber) and two weeks ago reached the third round at Roland Garros (l. to del Potro).

"I played good today and came here to play four, five matches," said Cilic "I won them and pretty comfortably in those first two or three. I’m feeling really good and I think my form is on the spot where it should be."

The Queen’s Club trophy marks Cilic’s first grass-court title and first piece of silverware since triumphing at the St. Petersburg Open (d. Tipsarevic) last October. He had only dropped one set en route to the final of this ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tournament, needing three sets to defeat Sam Querrey in Saturday’s semi-finals.

The final ended in unusual circumstances, resulting in the default of Argentine David Nalbandian. With the score at 6-7(3), 3-3, Nalbandian was stretched wide to the forehand side. After seeing that his forehand had landed wide, resulting in a break of serve for Cilic to lead 4-3, Nalbandian kicked the front of a three-sided sponsor’s advertising board, which surrounds the linesman’s chair. The front board struck the linesman’s left leg, leaving his shin bloodied.

After consulting with umpire Fergus Murphy, tournament supervisor Tom Barnes awarded the match to Cilic by default due to unsportsmanlike conduct from Nalbandian.

ATP Supervisor Tom Barnes spoke to the media after the match and confirmed the reason for the default. "It's [for] unsportsmanlike conduct, and the supervisor has the authority to declare an immediate default. Once I saw the injury [it] was not a judgment call. I didn't have any other option."

Barnes confirmed that Nalbandian would forfeit all rankings points and prize money earned at the tournament.

Brad Drewett, ATP Executive Chairman and President, said: "It’s an unfortunate situation for everyone involved, the spectators, the tournament, the sponsors, the players and the linesman. David certainly did not mean for this to happen, however the rules are very clear in a situation like this and causing injury to someone is an automatic default for any player."

"I made a mistake and I apologise," said Nalbandian. "I feel very sorry to the guy. I didn't want to do that. This is a bad situation for everybody that I really apologise for."

"I’m definitely very sorry to finish the tournament like this, especially in the final where we both I think played good tennis," said Cilic. "He was playing also some great rallies and in those last two games it was extremely interesting with making two breaks one of each side. So I think it was good tennis today."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 02:56 AM
DEN BOSCH 2012
World No. 6 David Ferrer lifted his fourth trophy of the season Saturday in 's-Hertogenbosch, defeating qualifier Philipp Petzschner 6-3, 6-4 at the UNICEF Open.

“I'm very, very happy. I've won two times here,” said Ferrer. “This is special for me because grass is maybe my worst surface. On a clay court or hard court, my game is more adapted.”

Ferrer won 78 per cent of his first serve points and broke the German three times to seal the final victory in 69 minutes, winning the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head 2 Head meeting.

“Today was a tough match. The key was with my serve,” assessed Ferrer. “I served very good all the match. I played my best match of this week. I was more consistent than in my last matches.”

The Spaniard evened his ATP World Tour final record to a 15-15 mark, celebrating his second grass-court title in 's-Hertogenbosch after winning in 2008. He leads all players with 43 tour-level victories this season and added to triumphs in Auckland (d. Rochus), Buenos Aires (d. Almagro) and Acapulco (d. Verdasco).

Petzschner was appearing in his third ATP World Tour final, aiming to end a title drought dating back to his first success in Vienna four years ago. The 145th-ranked Petzschner entered the tournament on a seven-match losing streak with a 3-10 record in 2012. He will jump to around No. 100 with his run this week when the South African Airways ATP Rankings are updated.

“I think he played a great match. He deserved to win the tournament and he was the best player here,” Petzschner said. “I made too many mistakes today. If I want to beat him, I have to play at my highest level. But I'm happy with the week. I played really good tennis.”

The 28 year old announced he would donate a portion of his prize money to UNICEF during the trophy presentation.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 02:57 AM
EASTBOURNE 2012
Sixth seed Andy Roddick dismissed reigning AEGON International champion Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-2 in Eastbourne Saturday to match Roger Federer’s streak of winning at least one ATP World Tour title in 12 straight seasons.

“I wanted to keep alive winning one tournament a year for 12 years. I know three or four people have done that,’ Roddick said. “I need to remind myself of those numbers just to [remember] this is a what-did-you-do-last-week-type sport? So looking back on that, maybe I need to look at those a little bit more and realise that I've done this for a long time pretty well.”

The American wild card won 55 per cent of his return points to break Seppi five times. Roddick clinched the trophy on his first championship point to claim victory in 72 minutes. He improved to 2-0 against the third-seeded Seppi.

“I don't remember the last time I got broken twice and won 3 and 2. I felt real good,” said Roddick. “My returns this week were close to as well as I have. I was able to close well. I started off not serving great and then made an adjustment. I think I served 90 per cent in the second set, which is a pretty strong number, especially given the conditions.”

The triumph marks Roddick’s 31st career title, with five of them coming on grass. He is the first American to finish in the winners' circle this season.

Entering Eastbourne, Roddick has lost a career high six consecutive matches. With his win in the semi-finals, Roddick became the 19th player to reach 600 career wins, joining Federer as the only active players to achieve the feat.

“The thing that makes sports great is there is no script,” Roddick said. “You can draw it up, and it rarely works out the way this week has. I think, as I've gotten older, I guess I've learned to appreciate this a little bit more... I went from a six-match losing streak to all of a sudden winning a tournament. It is a 180-degree turnaround.”

Seppi was aiming to successfully defend a crown for the first time. The Italian dropped to a 23-17 season record, highlighted by his title victory in Belgrade (d. Paire) and fourth-round showing at Roland Garros (l. to Djokovic).

Chirag
01-28-2014, 02:57 AM
WIMBLEDON 2012
Roger Federer will return to World No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings on Monday after winning a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon crown with victory over Great Britain’s Andy Murray.

Watched by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, the 30-year-old Swiss defeated the fourth-ranked Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday in the final of The Championships, which lasted three hours and 24 minutes.

“Today was unique because of playing Andy,” said Federer. “Obviously, being able to play or finish a match under the roof, I don't think that's ever been done before here for a final. So that's been different, as well. I'm happy I got a victory today, but obviously it was very, very special."

Federer joined William Renshaw and Pete Sampras as the only seven-time winners at the All England Club, adding to his triumphs in 2003-2007 and 2009. He has a 66-7 record at the grass-court Grand Slam and was contesting his eighth final, with his only defeat coming to Rafael Nadal in 2008.

Federer also extended his own record by winning a 17th major singles title. It was his first Grand Slam crown since defeating Murray in the Australian Open final in 2010. He won his first major trophy at Wimbledon in 2003 (d. Philippoussis).

When Federer returns to World No. 1 he will tie Sampras’ all-time record of 286 weeks in the top spot. At 30 years and 335 days, he is the second-oldest man to hold the No. 1 ranking, behind Andre Agassi who was 33 years and 131 days old. He was dethroned from the top spot by Nadal on 7 June 2010.

"This year, I guess, I decided in the bigger matches, to take it more to my opponent instead of waiting a bit more for the mistakes," said Federer. "This is, I guess, how you want to win Wimbledon, by going after your shots, believing you can do it, and that's what I was able to do today. It's special.

"This one hasn't quite sunk in yet for some reason. I guess I was trying to be so focused in the moment itself that when it all happened I was just so happy that it was all over and that the pressure was gone basically."

Federer has a 46-4 match record on the season and has won four ATP World Tour titles. Only David Ferrer has won more matches this season with 47 victories. The Basel native was victorious in Rotterdam (d. del Potro), Dubai (d. Murray) and at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells (d. Isner) and Madrid (d. Berdych).

The 25-year-old Murray was bidding to end Great Britain’s 76-year wait for a male Grand Slam champion; since Fred Perry triumphed at the 1936 US championships. The Scot tasted defeat in a Grand Slam final for the fourth time, having finished runner-up to Federer at the 2008 US Open and the 2010 Australian Open, and to Novak Djokovic at the 2011 Australian Open.

“I thought I played a pretty good match,” said Murray. “[There was] a lot of close shots, a lot of close games, a lot of break points here and there. He played very, very well the last two sets especially. When the roof closed, he played unbelievable tennis.”

Murray dropped to a 32-10 record in 2012, highlighted by winning the title in Brisbane (d. Dolgopolov) and reaching the finals in Dubai and Miami (l. to Djokovic). He was also a semi-finalist at the Australian Open, falling to Djokovic in five sets.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 02:58 AM
NEWPORT 2012
Top-seeded American John Isner successfully defended his grass-court title at the Campbell’s Hall Of Fame Tennis Championships with a 7-6(1), 6-4 victory over former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt on Sunday in Newport.

Isner takes home $68,220 and 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points as the champion, while Hewitt earns $35,920 and 150 points.

“It feels very good,” said Isner. “It’s never easy coming to a tournament where in a previous year you won it. There’s a lot of pressure on you. You don’t do well, your ranking’s going to drop… I did well, I defended those points and I kept my ranking where it’s at. More importantly than that, I gained a lot of confidence from this week just as I did last year. I had a great, great summer last year. I hope to have much of the same this year.”

After both players failed to capitalise on their one break point chance in the opening set, Isner built a 4-0 lead in the tie-break and closed it out on his first of five set points.

He broke Hewitt in the third game of the second set, and after the Australian saved one match point on serve in the ninth game, Isner clinched the victory with his 16th ace after one hour and 32 minutes.

“I’m always very confident going into a tie-break,” stated Isner. “I kept my head this whole week very well. I honestly could’ve lost in the first round, I was down break points in the third set against a really big server. That’s how tennis is sometimes. I kept my head and I was able to persevere.”

Isner extended the American title streak at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament to four straight years. In 2011, he had broken the “Casino Curse” in Newport by becoming the first top seed to win the title since the inaugural edition in 1976.

The 27-year-old North Carolina native has now won four titles from 11 finals. He was contesting his third final on as many surfaces this season, following his runner-up finishes on hard court at the BNP Paribas Open (l. to Federer) and on clay in Houston (l. to Monaco).

Hewitt, 31, lost for the first time in a grass-court final (7-1). He was bidding to win his 29th singles title and first since 2010, when he defeated Roger Federer in Halle.

He had come to Newport at No. 233 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, after being sidelined nearly four months due to toe surgery. He was making his sixth main draw appearance of the season and first in Newport since his debut in 1998.

“It’s done a lot of good [for my confidence],” Hewitt reflected. “A lot of positives have come out of this week. Grass is a tough surface to come back on after any kind of surgery, and especially foot surgery, where my movement is such a big thing, because on grass you’re in the wrong positions a lot of the time. You’ve got to have that confidence in your footwork.

“Even at Wimbledon, I didn’t feel totally comfortable with my footwork and it’s taken matches and practice and a lot of time over the last week-and-a-half here in Newport and I feel like that’s starting to come, which is a good thing, not only for the Olympics in a couple week’s time, but obviously looking forward to the US Open and the rest of the year.”

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:01 AM
STUTGART 2012
Top seed Janko Tipsarevic captured his first ATP World Tour clay-court title on Sunday with a hard-fought 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 victory over second seed Juan Monaco of Argentina at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart.

Tipsarevic was presented a cheque for €64,700 and earned 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points, while Monaco took home €34,080 and 150 points. It was the pair’s fourth meeting (2-2 overall).

Tipsarevic also won a Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 BlueEFFICIENCY in diamond white metallic. "I don’t want to call it a deal, but I have pretty solid car at home, so I don’t need it," said Tipsarevic. "But my wife [Biljana] and I had our anniversary a couple of days back. She also had her birthday. So I promised her the car, if I won the tournament. The points go to me."

Both players exchanged early service breaks, before Tipsarevic broke Monaco for a second time in the ninth game en route to wrapping up the first set in 51 minutes.

Tipsarevic looked set to win his third ATP World Tour title after he dropped only two of his service points to move into a 4-0 second-set lead. But Monaco won five straight games to rattle the 28-year-old Serbian. At 5-6, Tipsarevic fell to 0/30 but fought back to 30-all, only to see Monaco convert his first set point opportunity and ensure a tense finale.

The deciding set went with serve to 2-2, when Monaco hit his first double fault of the match on the second of Tipsarevic’s break point chances. After two hours and 21 minutes of play, with Tipsarevic serving at 3-2, 0/30, the final was suspended due to rain at 5:03 p.m. local time.

Upon the resumption, Monaco broke back for 3-3, but Tipsarevic ran through the next three games to record his 36th match win of the season with victory in two hours and 36 minutes.

“It wasn’t an easy match to play, considering the balls were flying everywhere," said Tipsarevic. "It wasn’t really easy to be aggressive, but I felt I was the better player in the third set. I had a huge chance at 4-0 up in the second set, but instead of being more aggressive, I became passive. Luckily, I managed to come back.”

It was the first time the top two seeds in Stuttgart had reached the final since 1996, when Thomas Muster beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

“I feel great," said Tipsarevic. "I honestly still don’t believe I won the title, considering that in almost every match I was hanging to lose. There were a lot of ups and downs. I think my mental attitude was the key for me, fighting from the first to the very last point. I think that is one of the reasons why I managed to win the title.

With victory, World No. 8 Tipsarevic became the last member of the Top 10 to win a title this year. He is now 3-6 lifetime in ATP World Tour finals. In January, he lost to Milos Raonic in the Aircel Chennai Open title match.

Monaco, who dropped to 5-9 in tour-level finals, picked up two titles earlier this year at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar (d. Berlocq) and the US Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston (d. Isner). He has a 26-10 season mark.

“I never gave up and kept fighting," said Monaco. "I had a few chances and got back into the match. In the final set, he played better than me and really deserved to win. I tried my best, but today wasn’t my day. He is a nice guy."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:01 AM
BASTAD 2012
Top seed David Ferrer won his fifth ATP World Tour title of the season on Sunday after he beat his Spanish compatriot and second seed Nicolas Almagro 6-2, 6-2 in 68 minutes at the SkiStar Swedish Open.

“It has been the best season of my career, I have won five titles," said Ferrer. "I have never done this well and I am very happy for that. I work hard, I always fight every match and every year I try and improve on my game.

Ferrer now leads Almagro 11-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, after the third all-Spanish final in Bastad (1975, 2007).

Ferrer, who dropped one set in four matches en route to his 16th ATP World Tour title (16-15 overall), earned €64,700 in prize money and 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points. Almagro received a cheque for €34,080 and won 150 points.

In a battle between two former Bastad champions, 2007 titlist Ferrer took a 4-2 lead in the first set, then broke Almagro to 15 in the eighth game to clinch the opener after 31 minutes of play. Ferrer won 20 of his 29 service points against Almagro, the 2010 winner, in the second set. The World No. 5 improved to a 51-9 match record on the season.

World No. 10 Almagro, who also lost to Ferrer the Copa Claro final in February, dropped to a 12-6 record in ATP World Tour finals and to a 43-14 match record in 2012.

“Last year I played really good tennis," said Ferrer. "I am a better player than in 2007 when I won here. I work to improve my game. I don’t work to be in the Top 4. I work to be a better player and nothing else.

“I think the Top 4 are amazing players, and they are better than everyone else at this moment. I don’t think about the Top 4, I think about me and the Top 10.

“I got some good results on the grass courts and now I have won here in Bastad. Of course I have confidence [going into the London Olympics]. I will have two days of relaxing and then next week I will practice on grass.”

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:02 AM
UMAG 2012
Second seed Marin Cilic captured his second crown of the season on Sunday at the ATP Vegeta Croatia Open Umag, dismissing No. 4 seed Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-2 to become the first home winner in Umag since 1990. He did not drop a set during his title run.

“It’s a real privilege to be among these champions,” Cilic said. “It was really special this week. I played great tennis and I was enjoying every moment in my matches. I’m really glad I won for my supporters, my team and myself.”

Granollers led 4-2 in the first set before Cilic went on a torrid stretch, winning nine consecutive games. The World No. 15 capitalised on five of his seven break points and won 51 per cent of his return points to claim victory at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court event in one hour and 32 minutes. With the win, Cilic has defeated the Spaniard in five of their six FedEx ATP Head 2 Head meetings.

“Marcel is a really dangerous player, so it was not easy in the beginning. He was playing really well and not giving me too much,” said Cilic. “After I found some solutions, I kept with him and played great tennis. It was maybe my best match of the week. I had a streak of winning nine games in a row, so that was amazing. It helped me to relax and know that I was on the right path.”

The 23-year-old Croat improved to an 8-7 final record. He celebrated his third triumph on home soil, adding to the back-to-back titles he claimed at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors in 2009 and 2010. In June, he lifted his first grass-court trophy at the AEGON Championships in London.

Granollers was bidding to win his first title of the year and dropped to 3-2 in ATP World Tour title matches.

“I think Marin was much better than me. He played a very good match,” said Granollers. “I was up 4-2 in the first set but I did not close out the set. Marin started to play better and better. The second set, I didn’t know how to win a point. I congratulate him on how he played.”

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:02 AM
HAMBURG 2012
Argentina’s Juan Monaco will break the Top 10 on Monday after winning his third ATP World Tour title of the season on Sunday with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over home favourite Tommy Haas in the final of the bet-at-home Open - German Tennis Championships 2012 in Hamburg.

Monaco will join fellow Tandil native Juan Martin del Potro in the elite Top 10 after earning 500 South African Airways ATP Rankings points. It is his first victory at an ATP World Tour 500 tournament. Runner-up Haas received 300 ranking points and €97,635 after suffering his first defeat in an ATP World Tour final since 2002.

"It's amazing [to break the Top 10], it's a dream come true," declared Monaco. "I will always remember this great week because it's very important for me and my team. It was a big goal we had pre-season when we were practising very hard."

The 28-year-old Monaco has compiled a 31-10 match record in 2012, with 24 of those wins coming on clay. He won two titles earlier in the season at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar (d. Berlocq) and the US Men's Clay Court Championship in Houston (d. Isner) and reached the final at last week’s MercedesCup in Stuttgart (l. to Tipsarevic).

In his fifth meeting with Haas, Monaco improved to a 4-1 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series as he clinched victory in two hours. The third seed lost serve three times, but countered by breaking Haas five times from nine opportunities. He is the first Argentine to win the Hamburg title since Guillermo Coria in 2003 (d. Calleri).

"I can't complain about the way I played today," said Monaco. "I was 4-1 down in the first set, but I never gave up. I was fighting every point, very focussed and very motivated to win this tournament. I think it was very important to win the first set. In the last two games of the match I think I played very well."

Monaco improved to a 6-9 mark in ATP World Tour finals. He won his first three titles in 2007, before ending a seven-match losing run in finals by triumphing in Vina del Mar in February. All six of his titles have come on clay. He now travels to London to represent Argentina in the Olympic Games, to be held on grass at Wimbledon.

"To change the courts is not going to be easy for me, but I have five days for practice to be with the guys there," said Monaco. "So, let’s see how it goes. This tournament will bring me big confidence and I’m feeling great, no injuries. So, I will try my best in London."

The 34-year-old Haas was bidding to win his second ATP World Tour title on home soil this season. Last month, the German topped Roger Federer in the final of the Gerry Weber Open to win his first trophy in three years.

The Hamburg native has mounted a resurgence in the South African Airways ATP Rankings this year, having started outside the Top 200 following hip and elbow surgery in 2010. Having started the week at World No. 49, he is projected to climb to around No. 35 on Monday.

"He played a tremendous match," said Haas. "All credit to him. He performed really well, especially when it came down to the big points. I tried to play my best; I thought I played really well throughout the match. Having the crowd support really lifted me to another gear, but it just wasn't enough today.

"I really didn't know if I was going to be able to get this feeling one more time, especially here in Hamburg. To have experienced another week like this with getting to the final is obviously another dream week for me."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:03 AM
GSTAAD 2012
World No. 60 Thomaz Bellucci won the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad trophy for the second time on Sunday as he upset top seed Janko Tipsarevic 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-2 in the final.

The Brazilian won his first ATP World Tour title as a qualifier in Gstaad in 2009 (d. Beck) and a year later added a second trophy to his tally with victory at the VTR Open (d. Monaco), then held in Santiago.

"Gstaad is very special for me because I won my first title here three years ago, which was a surprise and unexpected," said Bellucci. "For me to win one more time here is very special. I feel very comfortable here, like I’m playing at home."

The unseeded Bellucci received 250 South African Airways ATP Rankings points and €64,700, while Tipsarevic earned 150 rankings points and €34,080 in prize money.

The No. 8-ranked Tipsarevic was bidding to win his second ATP World Tour title in as many weeks, having won his first clay-court crown last week at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart (d. Monaco). He dropped to a 1-2 finals record in 2012, having also finished runner-up to Milos Raonic at the Aircel Chennai Open in January.

"I would like to congratulate Thomaz on a successful tournament and a great final," said Tipsarevic. "I felt the first two sets could have gone either way and he was just a better player than me in the third set. This was my first time in Gstaad and I honestly don’t know why; I should have come and played here more often. It’s an amazing event and a great tournament. Even though I lost in the final, I had an incredible two weeks with the win in Stuttgart and the final here."

In his third meeting with Tipsarevic, Bellucci avenged the defeat he suffered in last week’s Stuttgart semi-finals by rallying from a set down to clinch victory in two hours and 24 minutes. He converted five of his 11 break points and struck 10 aces, limiting Tipsarevic to just six points on his serve in the final set.

"It was very tough losing the tie-break, having led 6-1," reflected Bellucci. "I was playing very well, but on the set points I was too nervous. I miss-hit a lot of balls and I was very disappointed. I was very focussed after this, which was the key of the match, because if I had lost serve at the start of the second set it would have been very difficult to win. I’m very happy I got the focus to win two more sets."

The 24-year-old Bellucci recorded his fifth win over a Top 10 player, with all of those victories coming in clay-court contests. He improved to a 3-1 record in ATP World Tour finals.

Both Bellucci and Tipsarevic will now travel to London to compete in the Olympic Games, to be held on grass at Wimbledon.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:03 AM
ATLANTA 2012
Fourth seed Andy Roddick overcame a slow start to charge past World No. 63 Gilles Muller 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 in the BB&T Atlanta Open final on Sunday to win the first event of the Emirates Airline US Open Series. The 29-year-old American has won 11 of his past 12 matches.

“I know by now the score of a set is irrelevant. Whether it’s 7-6 or 6-1, it still counts the same,” said Roddick. “With most other sports, you get way up in the first quarter and it actually means something in regards to the rest of the game.

“In tennis, it’s not really the case too often, with the exception of momentum. You just try to start over and put some holds together. I was able to [slide] out the second set and I think he might have gotten a little tired in the third.”

Roddick is bidding to win his third Series, having finished atop the Bonus Challenge Standings in 2005 and 2006. He defeated Muller for the fourth time in five meetings and celebrates his second triumph this season, following victory at the AEGON International in Eastbourne over Andreas Seppi. The World No. 27 improved to a 32-20 final record.

“I’ve won 32 times now and every one of them, I’ve never assumed I was going to win again,” said Roddick. “I’ve always appreciated it... I go through the process of playing, work hard, and hope that I can put myself in position enough times to create some success.”

Muller blazed out of the gates in the first set, converting two of his three break points and winning 10 of 11 first serve points to clinch it in 33 minutes. Serving at 5-6 in the second set, Muller saved four set points to get into a tie-break, but Roddick snatched the momentum with a double mini-break to force a third set.

Yet to break Muller in the match, Roddick capitalised on both of his opportunities in the deciding set to take a 5-2 lead and served out the match to love to seal the win in two hours and 14 minutes.

“I played very well in the first two sets. At the end of the second set, I got very tight,” Muller said. “I felt like I was in a position to win that match. I was too nervous to close it and then Andy started to play better. He started to return my serves and put a lot of balls in the court. And I started to miss a lot. Maybe I lost the belief in myself to win that match too quickly.”

The left-handed Muller is the 10th different player this season to lose in a final when attempting to capture a first career ATP World Tour title. There were 10 first-time winners in 2011. He was appearing in his first tour-level final since the 2005 Farmers Classic in Los Angeles, dropping to a 0-3 record in title matches.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:04 AM
KITZBUHEL 2012
Dutchman Robin Haase retained his bet-at-home Cup Kitzbühel title on Saturday in a rain-interrupted final against Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.

Third seed Haase improved to 9-0 lifetime at the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tournament with a 6-7(2), 6-3, 6-2 victory over top seed Kohlschreiber in two hours and eight minutes.

"I didn't feel too much pressure even if I was the defending champion," said Haase. "I was a bit nervous in the first match against [Philipp] Oswald. From the quarter-finals on, I started a bit nervously before calming down and winning.

"I'm happy I won here again. I don't think many players have won here twice. It doesn't happen too often nowadays. I'm very proud of that."

By capturing his second ATP World Tour title, Haase won €64,700 in prize money and 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points. Kohlschreiber, who is now 4-3 lifetime in title matches, received €34,080 and 150 points. On Monday, Kohlschreiber will make his debut in the Top 20 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings.

Kohlschreiber was the dominant player in the first set, but could not convert any of his six break point opportunities. He held his nerve in the tie-break, before a heavy rain shower suspended play for more than one hour.

Upon the resumption, World No. 42 Haase dropped eight points on his serve in the second set, before taking an early lead in the decider. Kohlschreiber fought hard, saving five of seven break points, but Haase’s greater firepower helped him to his 18th match win of the season. Last year, the 25 year old beat Albert Montanes for the title.

Both players will now travel to London for the Olympic Games Tennis Event, which is underway at the All England Club, Wimbledon. Haase will play No. 16 seed Richard Gasquet of France, while Kohlschreiber is set to face Slovenian Blaz Kavcic.

"I will fly to London tonight at 9 p.m.," said Haase. "Against Gasquet, I have to play with confidence and serve well."

Kohlschreiber dropped to a 36-17 match record on the season, which includes one ATP World Tour title at the BMW Open in Munich (d. Cilic).

"The last two days were very intense,” said Kohlschreiber. “It was a great tournament and [I have had] a great season so far.

"It's a bit tough right now, but I'm still happy since I reached the Top 20 with my performance this week and I played very well here."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:05 AM
LOS ANGELAS 2012
Second-seeded American Sam Querrey captured his third title at the Farmers Classic, defeating first-time finalist Ricardas Berankis 6-0, 6-2 on Sunday in Los Angeles. He has now won 13 straight matches at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament.

“I feel like I always play well here,” said Querrey. “I grew up kind of playing around this area and I’m really comfortable out there on the courts. It’s fun to play in front of my friends and family. It all came together this week, and especially today.”

By titling at the second event of the 2012 Emirates Airline US Open Series, the 24 year old moves into a first place tie with countryman and last week's Atlanta champion Andy Roddick atop this summer's Bonus Challenge standings. Querrey won the US Open Series in 2009.

The Southern California native joins four-time champions Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors as the only players in the Open Era to have won three or more Los Angeles titles. Querrey claimed back-to-back titles in 2009-10, but missed last year's event after undergoing wrist surgery in June.

In his first final appearance since winning the Farmers Classic two years ago, Querrey needed a mere 18 minutes to wrap up the first set. He won the first nine games of the match, facing down double break point at 2-0 in the second set, before Berankis managed to get on the scoreboard.

Querrey saved one more break point in the seventh game with an ace and broke his 141st-ranked opponent for a fifth time to clinch the victory. At 14 games and 51 minutes in duration, it was the shortest ATP World Tour final this season.

The American is projected to move 20 spots in the South African Airways ATP Rankings to No. 37 with his victory. He improves to a 7-5 mark in ATP World Tour finals and to an 18-15 season record.

“I’m hoping I can just keep this up and play well the entire summer and keep going,” he said. “I’ve got Washington D.C. next week, so I’m just trying to continue to ride the train and hopefully play well all the way through the US Open.

“I’d love to be seeded at the Open, that’s one of my goals. I’m going to be pretty close after this week so hopefully with a few more good weeks I can make it into the Top 32 and be seeded there. And I’d love to get back into the Top 20, where I was a year-and-a-half ago, so that’s my big goal right now.”

Berankis, the first Lithuanian-born player to reach an ATP World Tour final, became the 11th different first-time title hopeful to lose in a title match this season.

“My nerves were playing me in the first set, that’s for sure,” admitted Berankis. “I didn’t play as I would like to play. But in the second set, a couple games here and there, I loosened up a little bit. The crowd helped me very much to relax because of the support I got here; I really wasn't thinking [there would be] this kind of big support for me. Even though I was nervous, I enjoyed my first ATP final, and I’m looking very much forward to another tournament.”

Prior to qualifying for the BB&T Atlanta Open last week, the 22 year old had not played a tour-level match in nearly a year. He had been sidelined with a pelvis stress fracture for four months before coming back on the Challenge circuit.

Including his qualifying matches in Los Angeles, the former junior World No. 1 had played 13 matches over two weeks. Though he admitted that fatigue had set in a bit, Berankis added, “But the thing that I’m happy with is my body – no pains, feeling good. Of course, tired a little bit mentally and in the whole, but on the whole I feel great.”

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:05 AM
OLYMPICS 2012
Andy Murray became the first British man to win a singles gold medal in 104 years on Sunday at the London 2012 Olympics Tennis Event.

The third-seeded Scot defeated top seed Roger Federer of Switzerland 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 56 minutes on Centre Court at Wimbledon, just four weeks after he lost The Championships final to the same player.

Murray admitted it was "the biggest win of my life. This week's been absolutely incredible, I've had a lot of fun. I felt so fresh on the court today. I didn't feel nervous really at all, apart from at the beginning of the match. The support's been unbelievable."

The 25-year-old Murray follows in the footsteps of John Pius Boland (1900), Laurence Doherty (1904), Josiah Ritchie (1908 outdoors) and Arthur Gore (1908 indoors) as male Olympic singles gold medallists representing Great Britain.

"It's definitely different," he said. "I've won an Olympic gold medal. I haven't won a Grand Slam. I know how this feels and it feels great. I've lost some tough matches in some tough finals and that's hurt me a lot. I think tennis in the Olympics is getting better each time it's played, because all the top players are playing now. For me it's the biggest win of my life.

"I'll never forget it. I'm able to deal with the situations better now. I felt much more comfortable on the court. They (the crowd) helped me get a few extra miles an hour the last couple of serves. I went for some big serves and I got them."

Switzerland’s Rene Fasel, a member of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and International Tennis Federation (ITF) President Ricci Bitti presented the medals in an on-court ceremony.

Tim Henman, who won the 1996 Atlanta Olympics silver medal with Neil Broad in the doubles event, said, "There has been such confidence going through the British team in all sports.

"I watched the athletics last night - the rowers, the cyclists - and Andy wanted to be a part of that. He didn't want to be a silver medallist. He wanted to continue the gold rush, if you like. It's an amazing day and a huge stepping stone in his career."

Earlier in the day, eighth-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro won the bronze medal with victory over second seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia on Court One at the All England Club.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:06 AM
WASHINGTON 2012
Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov handed 34-year-old Tommy Haas his first loss in nine finals contested on U.S. soil, rallying past the German 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-1 on Sunday at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.

With victory at the ATP World Tour 500 tournament, the third event of the summer hard-court swing, Dolgopolov moves into a second-place tie with Atlanta champion Andy Roddick in the US Open Series Bonus Challenge Standings. Querrey, last week's Los Angeles champion and a semi-finalist in Washington, stands atop the leader board with 95 points.

"For sure, I’m very happy, and especially winning a match like that [which is] really tight, goes up and down, the rain breaks," said Dolgopolov. "I’m really happy with myself that I stayed concentrated and was in the match in all the three sets."

The fourth-seeded Haas was broken for just the second time this week with No. 2 seed Dolgopolov taking a 4-3 lead in the first set, but immediately got back on serve. Players briefly left the court due to a light shower after the ninth game, and returned to play two more games before heavy rainfall halted the match.

The final, which had begun at 4 p.m. local-time, resumed around 7:45 p.m. and Haas took the first set tie-break after capitalising on his fourth set point opportunity. He faced down four break points on serve in the second set, before Dolgopolov broke to draw level at one set apiece. The Ukrainian limited Haas to just one game in the decisive set, closing out the victory after two hours and 15 minutes.

"He was giving away more free points than he did in the first set and throughout the tournament when I watched him play," Dolgopolov said. "I think it was a part of him, a part of it being the final, a part of my game. Everything helped it to go wrong for him. He helped me a little bit in the last game of the second set. In the third set he was a bit frustrated, so it was really good I got an advantage at the start of the set."

Dolgopolov, 23, claimed his second ATP World Tour title (2-2 in finals), following last year's triumph in Umag. He is projected to move from No. 25 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings up to No. 16/17 with his first ATP World Tour 500 title.

Haas, who dropped to a 13-11 mark in title matches, was appearing in his third final in his past five tournaments. He won the grass-court title in Halle with victory over Roger Federer and finished runner-up to Juan Monaco on clay in Hamburg.

He is the fourth player this season to appear in finals on all three surfaces, joining Federer, David Ferrer and John Isner.

"Not only here, but I’ve proven [myself] a couple months ago winning a title in Halle and getting to a final in Hamburg two weeks ago and getting to a final here," said Haas. "It’s been unbelievable.

"Obviously I’m a little bit frustrated right now still. I thought I had some chances to win this title and I really wanted it. It’s always tough to lose, even when you had a great week, but you just have to let it sink in and overall, I’m really proud to get here to a final and play really solid tennis. I just hope I can stay injury-free and keep going and try to keep it moving."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:19 AM
TORONTO 2012
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic retained his Rogers Cup crown on Sunday in Toronto, dismissing No. 14 seed Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2. It marked the Serbian’s first title since he successfully defended his trophy at the Sony Open Tennis in Miami (d. Murray).

Though he matched his 2011 performance with victory, Djokovic cannot usurp Roger Federer for No. 1 when the South African Airways ATP Rankings are updated on Monday. The 25 year old was contesting his 48th tour-level final, improving to 31-17, while upping his record in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals to 12-9.

“It's a big tournament, one of the biggest we have in tennis. I'm very happy to be in this position,” said Djokovic. “I truly did not expect myself to win this tournament after the emotional losses in the Olympic Games. I really took it hard. I tried to bounce back and recover; I've done great, I have to say.”

With his victory, the Serbian entered the 2012 Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge Standings at No. 2, trailing Los Angeles champion Sam Querrey, whom he defeated in the Toronto third round. Gasquet, meanwhile, moved into a third place tie with four other players at 70 points.

Djokovic became the third player in the Open Era to win at least three titles at the Rogers Cup, joining six-time former champion Ivan Lendl and fellow three-time titlist Andre Agassi. In addition to his triumph last year, Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in the 2007 title match.

The top-seeded Djokovic capitalised on each of his three break points against Gasquet, while saving all four on his serve to clinch the final victory in 62 minutes. He improved to 7-1 versus Gasquet and has taken their past 11 sets played.

“I'm not one of the biggest servers in the game, that's for sure, but I always try to focus on the second shot after the serve,” Djokovic said. “I’ve been working on the efficiency of my first and second serve, but also trying to be aggressive in the first ball. It's been working exceptionally well throughout the whole week.”

Gasquet was looking to lift his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy on his third opportunity. He finished runner-up in Toronto six years ago to Federer and lost to the Swiss in 2005 at Hamburg. Gasquet was bidding to become the first Frenchman to win the event since its inception in 1881.

“It was a tough match,” said Gasquet. “It’s a big tournament. I felt a little bit more pressure. It's tough when you have Djokovic in front of you and you are not playing your best tennis. It's very difficult. He's going all the time with his backhand very early, so he's an incredible player. He played much better than me for sure.”

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:20 AM
CINCINNATI 2012
World No. 1 Roger Federer became the first player in the Open Era to win five Cincinnati trophies, defeating second-ranked Novak Djokovic 6-0, 7-6(7) in Sunday’s Western & Southern Open final. It was the first Top 2 final in Open Era history at the event.

“I'm obviously very happy. If I remember correctly, this was the first win here I had also after I had twins, right? So it's great coming back here,” said Federer. “I've been able to win five. It's obviously incredible because I remember the first few here I struggled. Now looking back it's just unbelievable. Plus this was probably the best week ever here in Cincinnati for me never dropping my serve and all that stuff and beating Novak in the final. This was very sweet. No doubt about it.”

Federer tied Rafael Nadal for the most ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns with 21, adding to triumphs in Indian Wells (d. Isner) and Madrid (d. Berdych) this season. He is 6-2 in finals this year and celebrates his first title since capturing his 17th Grand Slam trophy at Wimbledon (d. Murray). He is guaranteed to stay No. 1 through the US Open, regardless of results at Flushing Meadows .

Djokovic was appearing in his fourth final in five years at the tournament, but dropped to 0-4 in those matches. He was bidding to become just the fourth player since 1990 to win the Canada-Cincinnati double after defeating Richard Gasquet in last week’s Rogers Cup final in Toronto.

Neither player had dropped serve entering the match, but Federer broke Djokovic in the opening game and stormed to a one-set lead in just 20 minutes. Federer converted three of his four break points, while Djokovic tossed in four double faults to lose the first bagel set in 28 meetings with Federer (82 sets).

The 25-year-old Serbian settled into the second set to force a tie-break, and held set point at 7-6. But Federer wiped it away with an aggressive tactic at the net and cracked back-to-back forehand winners to claim victory in 80 minutes. Federer was not broken en route to his title run and improved to 16-12 against Djokovic.

"He started very solid from serve," assessed Djokovic. "He was using it very efficiently and putting a lot pressure on my serve. Made a lot of double faults and didn't find my rhythm. Set was over in 20 minutes. I played better in the second. I thought it was very even, and then when I had the chances I didn't use them. I didn't step into the court, and he deserved to win."

With his showing this week, Djokovic vaulted ahead of Sam Querrey for first place in the 2012 Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge Standings. Djokovic will win the series unless Querrey goes on to claim the Winston-Salem Open title.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:20 AM
WINSTON SALEM 2012
American John Isner successfully defended his Winston-Salem Open title, saving three championship points before defeating second-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(9) on Saturday.

It is the second time that the 27 year old has retained a title, first accomplishing the feat earlier this summer at the grass-court tournament in Newport (d. Hewitt). He has compiled an 18-3 mark starting with that title run, taking his season record to 41-15.

"It’s a great feeling. Both my titles this year are the exact same titles I won last year," said Isner. "Defending a title is not easy. There’s pressure on you coming into the tournament so I think for me to do that, at both Newport and here in Winston-Salem, it should help me a lot going forward in the coming years. I’m absolutely thrilled.

"It was a very good match, an incredible atmosphere. It was a lot of fun to play out there. There were certainly some tense times all throughout the match. At times probably wasn’t the prettiest of tennis, but I was able to gut it out and am very, very proud of that."

Berdych secured the first set in 34 minutes with two breaks as the third-seeded Isner managed to win just 54 per cent of his service points, but was unable to maintain the momentum in the second. The Czech dropped serve in the opening game, while Isner proceeded to lose just five service points total, drawing level with an ace on set point.

For a second straight day, Isner - who knocked out top seed and World No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semi-finals - prevailed against a Top 10 player in a third-set tie-break. He saved three match points at 6-5, 7-6 and 9-8 for World No. 7 Berdych, and clinched the match after two hours and 26 minutes on his second championship point.

World No. 10 Isner, who fired 22 aces in the final, improves to a tour-best 35-13 in tie-breaks this season and to a 10-0 match record at this ATP World Tour 250 tournament. He has now won five ATP World Tour titles from 12 finals, while Berdych drops to a 7-8 record.

"I hope it’s going to be enough time to put this match from my mind and keep all those matches before - and those before were pretty good. Even this one was not bad until the end. It just happens," said Berdych. "I won a couple of matches, which was the goal and the [reason] why I wanted to come here. I made it pretty successful, but still one I was missing, so it will take some time. Next week, already Monday or Tuesday, I’m starting in New York so it’s not much time to think on the past but to be ready for what’s happening there."

Both players next head to the US Open. Isner will be looking to reach the quarter-finals for a second straight year; the highest seed in his quarter is World No. 5 David Ferrer. Berdych could face Roger Federer in the quarter-finals, but has never advanced past the Round of 16 in nine previous appearances in Flushing Meadows.

"Last year it served me very well. I won here and made the quarter-finals, lost to Andy Murray in a very tough match," said Isner. "I’m heading to New York filled with confidence. I’ve played very well since my first round loss at Wimbledon. I’ve only lost three matches, so I’m heading into New York feeling good about myself."

Isner moves up to No. 2 in the 2012 Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge Standings with his triumph Saturday, while Berdych finishes in a sixth-place tie with American Mardy Fish. World No. 2 and defending US Open champion Novak Djokovic clinched the Series on Friday following Sam Querrey's loss in the Winston-Salem semi-finals.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:21 AM
US OPEN 2012
Buoyed by winning the longest-ever tie-break in a US Open title match, Andy Murray became the first British man since 1936 to taste Grand Slam victory after outplaying defending champion Novak Djokovic in an epic five-set US Open final Monday.

Djokovic rallied from a two-set deficit and four falls to the court surface to force a decider, but Olympic champion Murray, who like his coach Ivan Lendl had suffered agonising defeats in his first four major finals, would not be denied.

In a pulsating match that will be long remembered for gruelling side-to-side baseline exchanges that drew loud gasps from energised New York fans during points, both players produced inspired performances in difficult, blustery conditions. Murray was at his best when he upped his aggression from the baseline, and both players dazzled with dogged defense, exceptional court movement and a series of protracted baseline rallies, several of which topped 30 strokes.

"It was incredibly tricky conditions," Murray said during the trophy presentation. "After the third and fourth sets it was tough mentally for me... Novak is so, so strong. He fights till the end in every single match and I don't know how I managed to come through in the end.

"It was close to five hours and I've had some really long and tough matches. I just managed to get through."

"It wasn't to be. I want to congratulate Andy for his first Grand Slam," Djokovic said. "He absolutely deserves it. I gave it all. It was another tremendous match to be a part of."

ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett praised Murray after the final, saying, "Andy's breakthrough Grand Slam victory is not only a tribute to his exceptional talent but also a deserving reward for his hard work and perseverance."

At January's Australian Open, Djokovic defeated Murray 7-5 in the fifth set in a match that lasted 4 hrs., 50 mins.

By winning his first major, Murray joined Juan Martin del Potro (2009 US Open) as the only players to break the Grand Slam dominance of Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The trio has won 29 of the past 31 majors dating back to 2005 Roland Garros.

Murray, who needed six set points to win a 24-minute first-set tie-break 12-10, broke through for his first major title in his fifth Grand Slam final with a 7-6(10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Djokovic. At 4 hrs., 54 mins., the match equalled the longest US Open final in history.

Cheered on by countryman Sir Sean Connery and fellow actor Kevin Spacey, Murray initially dealt with the frustrating wind better than Djokovic and in the fifth set produced aggression from the baseline that his supporters knew would eventually lead him to Grand Slam glory.

The victory propelled Murray to No. 3 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings ahead of Nadal. Following his gold medal performance at the London Olympics (d. Federer) and his first run to the Wimbledon final (l. Federer), Murray has put himself into position to challenge for the year-end World No. 1 ranking.

After winning the first set, Murray had the weight of numbers on his side. In the past 13 encounters between Murray and Djokovic, the winner of the first set had gone on to win the match. And 18 of the past 20 US Open men’s finals had been won by the winner of the first set.

There were nervous moments, however, as Murray squandered a 4-0 lead (and later 5-2 lead) in the second set before he broke Djokovic at 6-5 to shore up the second set.

Chasing his fourth consecutive hard court Grand Slam title, Djokovic dropped serve five times in the opening two sets but then steadied to win the third and fourth sets for the loss of just five games. However, the Serb dropped his opening two service games of the fifth set as Murray raced to a 3-0 lead. Those seven breaks of serve equalled the number of breaks he had surrendered in his six matches leading into the final.

Murray held his nerve to close out the fifth set 6-2.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:22 AM
ST PETERSBURG 2012
World No. 45 Martin Klizan captured his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday as he defeated Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the St. Petersburg Open. He is the first Slovakian to win a tour title since Dominik Hrbaty triumphed at Marseille in February 2004.

After 11 failed attempts earlier in the season, Klizan is the first player to win his maiden ATP World Tour title in 2012. He has dropped just one set throughout the campaign, battling to a three-set win over top seed Mikhail Youzhny in three hours and 49 minutes in Saturday’s semi-final.

Klizan is set to rise to around a career-high World No. 33 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings as a result of his victory, having earned 250 ranking points and $70,365 in prize money. Fognini received 150 ranking points and $37,060.

The third-seeded Klizan showed no ill-effects from his marathon semi-final as he raced to a 4-0 lead to take the first set in his first meeting with the fourth-seeded Fognini. Four service breaks were exchanged at the start of the second set before Klizan took a decisive step in the seventh game. He reeled off the last three games of the match to claim victory in 69 minutes.

"It's always very difficult to play a tournament after Davis Cup," admitted Klizan. "I've played many matches and it was a tough Davis Cup for us, so it was a very, very tough week this one. I was really ‘dead’ yesterday after the match, but I've played really solid this week and I'm very happy to win my first title. I hope I can get more points at the end of this season."

Until two months ago, Klizan had never won back-to-back tour-level matches. However, since the end of July he has reached the semi-finals in Kitzbuhel (l. to Haase), won an ATP Challenger Tour title in San Marino and knocked out World No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga en route to a fourth-round showing at the US Open (l. to Cilic).

"I said last year that I would like to be Top 100 by the end of this year and I've already done it," said Klizan. "Now I've been Top 50, Top 40, maybe I can be Top 30 at the end of the year. I hope I can be healthy and still with enough power to play until the end of the season. I've played many, many great weeks."

The 25-year-old Fognini was contesting his second ATP World Tour final having also finished runner-up to Gilles Simon at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Bucharest. The Italian dropped to a 22-20 match record on the season.

"It's horrible to play a final like this," said Fognini. "I've played two finals this year. Simon in Bucharest was a really great final; we played one hour and 50 minutes and I lost. On the court today he played his best tennis ever and I did not play my best tennis for sure."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:22 AM
METZ 2012
World No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga stormed to a repeat victory at the Moselle Open in Metz on Sunday, dismissing Italy’s Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-2 in just 50 minutes. One year ago, Tsonga had beaten Ivan Ljubicic in the final of this ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tournament.

Victory for Tsonga takes the Frenchman to 2,905 points in the Race For London. Tsonga is currently just within the qualifying positions for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with four places still up for contention.

In an emphatic serving display, the top-seeded Tsonga surrendered just six points behind his delivery and fired seven aces. He converted four of his six break point chances on Seppi’s serve to improve to a 3-1 lead over the Italian in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

"I had a complete match with no gaps, as opposed to yesterday," said Tsonga. "Of course, it's a lot easier when I can make a difference in two or three shots. If I had to define this week, I would simply say it was a perfect one."

The 27-year-old Tsonga captured his ninth ATP World Tour title and second of the season, following victory at the QatarExxonMobil Open in Doha in January (d. Monfils). The right-hander, who has a 45-17 match record this year, was also a semi-finalist at Wimbledon (l. to Murray), Marseille (l. to del Potro) and Winston-Salem (l. to Isner).

"This is the first time I have been able to defend a title," said Tsonga. "So it's even more special that it's here at the Moselle Open, where I am the ambassador."

The 28-year-old Seppi was bidding to win his second title of the season after triumphing in Belgrade (d. Paire). He also finished runner-up to Andy Roddick in the Eastbourne final and dropped to a 2-3 mark in ATP World Tour finals. He suffered his 49th loss against a Top 10 player in 55 attempts.

"I want to congratulate Jo because he played too well today," said Seppi. "His serve was impressive and there's very little I could do. Unfortunately, this is the way it goes sometime indoors, matches go by really fast without being able to do anything. It was a great week for me and overall I am happy to have reached the final here."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:23 AM
THAILAND 2012
Richard Gasquet won his seventh ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the Thailand Open.

The second seed beat his fellow Frenchman and No. 4 seed Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-1 in Bangkok to earn $99,645 in prize money and 250 South African Airways ATP Rankings points.

Gasquet last won an ATP World Tour title in May 2010 at the Open de Nice Côte d’Azur (d. Verdasco). It was his second Asian title, following success at Mumbai in 2007.

"I played against a French player who is also my friend so of course it a little bit strange but for me it's a title and I've had some tough matches this week so I’m very happy to win," said Gasquet.

"The people here are very nice, the crowd was very nice. The night I played against [Grigor] Dimitrov it was late, but the people stayed and cheered for me so it's more reason for me to come back next year and defend my title."

Simon started strongly, breaking Gasquet’s serve in the opening game. But Gasquet broke back, then again at 4-2 and in the eighth game to capture the 30-minute set. Simon, the 2009 champion, won nine of his 23 service points.

Gasquet broke Simon for a 3-1 lead in the second set, then in a hard-fought sixth game before closing out his 17th ATP World Tour final with a hold to 30 for victory in 69 minutes.

It was the second all-French ATP World Tour final of the year, after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated Gael Monfils in January at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha.

Former World No. 7 Gasquet is now 6-0 lifetime against Simon in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and improves his chances of competing at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 in London from 5-12 November.

World No. 19 Simon, who beat Viktor Troicki in the final three years ago, won just 42 per cent of his service points in his 13th final (10-3 overall). He received $52,390 and 150 South African Airways ATP Ranking points.

"I was playing some of the best tennis I ever played yesterday [against Janko Tipsarevic] and today I just couldn't play at all. Thierry [Tulasne] was here to watch, but it was our last week together so I really wanted to win."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:24 AM
KUALA LUMPUR 2012
Argentina's Juan Monaco stepped up his bid to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday with victory in the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur final.

Second seed Monaco defeated seventh seed Julien Benneteau of France 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in just over three hours to lift his fourth ATP World Tour title of the year and improve to a 37-15 match record.

Monaco received $153,440 in prize money and earned 250 South African Airways ATP Rankings points with victory in his 16th ATP World Tour final (7-9 overall).

"I celebrated with my team in the locker room and tonight I'll have Malaysian food with my team," said Monaco. "It has been nice to be in this city and win the trophy. It feels very good. When I win a title, I think of my family and my team, as they believe in me, they have supported me and we have worked hard to win tournaments.

"I think we played a great match, with a lot of ups and downs. I got a little nervous when I had chances, but I never gave up, particularly in the 12th game of the first set. He surprised me a little bit with his comeback in the second set. In the final set, I knew I had to be more aggressive and I am happy the way I finished the match."

The 28-year-old Monaco has also won titles this season at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar (d. Berlocq), the US Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston (d. Isner) and the bet-at-home Open - German Tennis Championships in Hamburg (d. Haas). He also finished runner-up at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart (l. to Tipsarevic).

Benneteau took a 2-0 lead in the first set, while Monaco squandered four break point opportunities in the second game. Monaco, who got back on level terms at 2-2, opened up a 5-3 lead and had two set point chances but Benneteau bounced back. In a lengthy 12th game, which featured 10 deuce points, Benneteau saved four more set points to frustrate Monaco, who ultimately clinched the set after 81 minutes of play.

Benneteau, determined not to fall to 0-7 in finals at the 199th tournament of his career, fought back in the second set by creating an early service break. Monaco broke back, but Benneteau remained cool on serve, winning 19 of his 29 service points, to level the score-line with a second service break.

In the deciding set, Monaco broke to 15 for a 4-2 lead. Benneteau saved one match point at 2-5, but Monaco was not to be denied his 37th match win of the year. Monaco hit six aces and won 61 per cent of his service points overall.

"I'd like to relax now and enjoy the victory," said Monaco. "It isn't easy to win tournaments, but I will focus on the next challenge and go to Tokyo tomorrow."

World No. 34 Benneteau had been trying to become the first player aged 30 plus to capture his first ATP World Tour title since Australian Wayne Arthurs (33) won in Scottsdale in March 2005.

"I was very focused on this game, because I wanted to win this final," said Benneteau. "The fans were great; there was a lot of French in the crowd. It was a nice atmosphere and the game was a good level."

The 30-year-old Benneteau earned $80,815 and 150 South African Airways ATP Ranking points. He also finished runner-up to Jarkko Nieminen in the Apia International Sydney final in January.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:24 AM
BEIJING 2012
Novak Djokovic won his third straight China Open title on Sunday.

The top seed recorded his sixth straight victory over third-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(4), 6-2 in one hour and 42 minutes for the 32nd trophy of his career (32-19 in finals). It was his 40th hard-court match win of the season.

“I am planning to come back to the China Open next year,” said Djokovic. “It's been one of my most successful tournaments. This is where I love to play. I love the conditions and, as I mentioned before, I have lots of support from the fans who are very loyal and very nice.

Djokovic is now 14-0 lifetime at the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tournament in Beijing. It was the fifth time he has three-peated at a tournament (also Australian Open, Dubai, Miami and Canada).

Djokovic earned $530,570 in prize money and 500 South African Airways ATP Ranking points to increase his lead to 1,490 points over Roger Federer (8,920) in the South African Airways ATP Rankings Race To London.

When asked about the battle to clinch the year-end World No. 1 ranking, Djokovic said, “That's the target. This will definitely help me in that race, but it's still quite open. There are still tournaments to come, big ones. Shanghai, obviously the first 1000 event that is next week. I want to try to get as far as I can in the tournament, obviously taking one match at a time as I always do.”

Tsonga, who is hoping to join Djokovic at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London next month, received $239,200 and 300 points after competing in his 15th ATP World Tour final (9-6 overall).

Tsonga got off to a strong start, with an early service break, but Djokovic worked his way back into a high-quality first set. At 5-5, the clash was in the balance, but Djokovic stepped up in the tie-break to open up a 3-0 lead. Tsonga fought back, but he hit a backhand slice into the net to hand Djokovic the 65-minute opener.

In the second set, Djokovic converted the first of his two break point opportunities at 1-1, 15/40, when Tsonga hit a forehand wide. Tsonga was broken again to 15 at 1-3, when he struck a forehand into the net. Djokovic went onto capture his fourth title of the season and improved to a 65-11 match record.

“I think the first set was really even, and maybe a couple points decided the winner there," said Djokovic. "We both had our chances aside those breaks that we converted…I managed to hold my nerves in the end. When you're getting to the second set with the set advantage, mentally it is much more encouraging for you and then you try to play on that confidence run that you have. I made that early break in the second [and] I felt much more comfortable on the court.”

Tsonga is now 1-9 against Top 10 opponents this year. His last win over Djokovic came in January 2010 in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

“I think it was a good match,” said Tsonga. “I missed maybe something in the middle of the first set. I was a break up, and I was playing well. But then he played solid. It was really difficult to control him. I just tried to play my game, to be aggressive, but against a player like this, for the moment, my level is not high enough, and it's not enough to beat him.

“I'm happy because I played good tennis here. It was a great tournament for me. I hope I will continue to improve like this and I will try another time to beat these guys next week.”

In Tsonga’s last tournament, he retained the Moselle Open title in Metz (d. Seppi) on 23 September. He has a 48-18 season record (29-9 on hard courts).

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:25 AM
TOKYO 2012
Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese player to win the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships title on Sunday.

Eighth seed Nishikori defeated sixth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-0 in two hours and nine minutes to lift his second ATP World Tour trophy. It was the youngest final in 58 tournaments on the ATP World Tour this year.

“I have not been able to play well in Japan until now, so I always thought perhaps I was not mentally strong enough to do so,” Nishikori said in a translation. “But the match against Berdych, something changed. I was able to play much better yesterday and today as well. On one side of my mind, I cannot believe I won the tournament, but at the same time, I feel that I’m happy I was able to do this.”

Brad Drewett, the ATP Executive Chairman and President, said, "I would like to offer my congratulations to Kei Nishikori on becoming the first Japanese man to win the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships title in Tokyo.

"Kei is a terrific player who is already a star at home in Japan and among the Top 20 players in the world. I’m sure this historic win over a very difficult field in Tokyo will give him great confidence and we look forward to seeing all that he can do. Kei has a very bright future on the ATP World Tour and we couldn’t be more proud of him."

Nishikori took a 3-1 lead in the first set, before Raonic found his range on serve and fought his way back. Nishikori was unable to convert two set point opportunities on Raonic’s serve at 6-5, but kept his nerve in the tie-break.

Raonic responded by breaking Nishikori in the eighth game of the second set. Nishikori swept through the decider, converting three of his six break point chances en route to a his first trophy since February 2008 at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (d. Blake). Raonic won just nine of his service points in the third set.

The 22-year-old Nishikori received $308,130 in prize money and 500 South African Airways ATP Ranking points, while 21-year-old Raonic earned $138,920 and 300 points. The two were squaring off for the first time.

“He attacks on his returns and goes up to the net quickly. And he is willing to take risks. I watched him play Murray,” said Nishikori. “Despite the break in the first game, there were some dangerous moments in the first set. I tried to stay aggressive. I was able to continue doing so and was able to get the final set 6-love.”

Raonic, who was bidding to capture his third ATP World Tour trophy of the title, was hoping to rise to No. 10 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings Race To London. He drops to a 43-17 match record on the year.

“He just played too well. There’s not too much I could do,” said Raonic. “He played better than me and deserved to win. [In the third set], he started playing well, was reading me a bit more, and a few mistakes starting coming from me.”

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:25 AM
SHANGHAI 2012
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic saved five match points as he edged two-time defending champion Andy Murray 5-7, 7-6(11), 6-3 in a an exhilarating 3hr., 21min., contest in the Shanghai Rolex Masters final on Sunday.

Since losing to Murray in last month’s US Open final, the 25-year-old Djokovic has compiled a perfect 10-0 record, winning back-to-back titles at the China Open (d. Tsonga) in Beijing and now in Shanghai. The Serb has an ATP World Tour-leading 70 match wins this year, also taking in titles at the Australian Open (d. Nadal), the Sony Open Tennis in Miami (d. Murray) and the Rogers Cup in Toronto (d. Gasquet).

Djokovic clinched his seventh different ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title and 13th overall. He has reached six Masters 1000 finals this season, adding to his victories in Shanghai, Toronto and Miami with runner-up showings at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (l. to Nadal), the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (l. to Nadal) and the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati (l. to Federer).

His results this season have left Djokovic locked in battle with Roger Federer for the year-end No. 1 South African Airways ATP Ranking.

"I'm trying to focus now on the end of the season," said Djokovic. "I need to play well indoors. I need to try to stay consistent with my results and eventually get a shot at No. 1 of the world. It's my biggest objective in this moment. It's something I'm aiming for. Obviously this is going to be a huge confidence boost and is going to help me in the race for No. 1. As I said, it's still not done. I still have to play well indoors."

In a first set featuring seven breaks of serve, Murray finally gained the upper hand as he broke for a 6-5 lead before closing out the opener. The Scot then broke Djokovic for a 4-3 lead in the second set and looked poised for victory as he led 5-4, 30/0.

The Djokovic fightback began in the following point. He hit a ‘tweener to claw his way back into an exchange that Murray was winning and clinched it with a drop shot. Murray had his first match point at 40/30, but a forehand winner from Djokovic thwarted the Scot. Murray then hit a forehand long on a break point for Djokovic to surrender his advantage.

A pulsating tie-break followed, with Murray squandering four more match points at 6-4, 8-7 and 10-9 before Djokovic converted his fourth set point with a forehand winner to send the contest into a deciding set.

Murray fended off a break point in the fifth game of the third set, but could not keep Djokovic at bay in the seventh game as the Belgrade native engineered a 4-3 lead. Murray saved two match points on serve down 3-5, but Djokovic converted his third opportunity to claim a memorable victory. Djokovic extended his lead over Murray to 9-7 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

"It's difficult to judge who was better because it was so close throughout the whole match," said Djokovic. "We had so many rallies in three and a half hours; for a best-of-three set match it is a very long time. Could have easily gone the other way. He was five match points up. When I faced those match points, I tried to focus on each individually. He was so close to the victory that I cannot say I was the better player."

The 25-year-old Murray was bidding to win the Shanghai title for a third year in a row and saw his perfect record at the event come to an end (12-1). The Dunblane native had beaten World No. 1 Roger Federer in the semi-finals and was attempting to beat the ATP World Tour’s Top 2 at the same event for the second time this year, having also done so en route to claiming the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

"It was a disappointing one to lose," said Murray. "I've lost tougher matches than that before in the biggest events. So I'm sure I'll recover from it pretty well.

"The second set, I probably played a little bit better. But he came up, served very well on the match points. The one match point I had on my serve, he hit the forehand onto the edge of the line. On the game where I served for the match, he also came up with some good shots.

"It's not like I threw the match away. I didn't make any real glaring errors or anything. When I had my chances, he just served very well and hit a couple of lines when he needed to.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:26 AM
VIENNA 2012
World No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro strengthened his bid to qualify for the year-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday, defeating qualifier Grega Zemlja 7-5, 6-3 to capture the Erste Bank Open title in Vienna.

“I’m so happy. It’s important to have a good end of the year,” said del Potro. “I’m looking forward to keep improving, keep playing well at the same level as I had here. I also look forward to London. I’m looking better to qualify there. We have two big tournaments coming next week. They have the chance to get points also, so it will be very interesting to see how we are going.”

Del Potro entered the tournament at No. 7 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings Race to London. He is aiming to return to the season finale at The O2 for the first time since 2009, when he finished runner-up to Nikolay Davydenko. Del Potro celebrates his third trophy of the season, following triumphs in Marseille (d. Llodra) and Estoril (d. Gasquet). The 2011 Vienna finalist takes home €87,870 and 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points.

Zemlja was looking to win his first ATP World Tour title in his debut tour-level title match. The 70th-ranked qualifier enjoyed a surprise run to the final, notching his first Top 20 win in an upset over No. 3 seed Tommy Haas in the quarter-finals and following it up with his maiden Top 10 victory over ninth-ranked Janko Tipsarevic, the second seed, in the semi-finals. Zemlja earned €46,280 and 150 points.

“I am satisfied with the way I played. I did my best,” said Zemlja. “I felt I played really well the first seven games. Maybe I wasn’t serving my best, but I was fighting till the end. I think Juan played really well from 4-4 (in the first set), to 3-0 (in the second set). He was serving really good.

“I’m happy with how I played all week. I just have to continue with that. Also, I still have two Challengers to play at the end of the year. I have to get motivated to play the same level as I did here.”

In a tense opening to the final, both players struggled to hold serve. Del Potro led 40/0 in the first game, but the Slovenian No. 1 created a break point opportunity. Del Potro wiped it away to hold. In the fifth game, the Slovenian No. 1 broke the Argentine to become the first player to win a game on del Potro’s serve in the tournament. Zemlja took a 4-2 lead, before London contender del Potro found his rhythm to fight back to 4-4. Del Potro saved three break points in the ninth game. Zemlja cracked at 5-6, when he lost the first three points. Del Potro clinched the first set in 64 minutes.

From there, del Potro never looked back, beginning the second set with a routine service hold and an immediate break of serve. He finished the one-hour-and-41-minute contest with 10 aces and won 82 per cent of his first serve points. Del Potro did not face a break point in the second set.

“I didn’t have a very good start to the match. I made a lot of errors and I was nervous because it was a final,” del Potro said. “I tried to find a way to play aggressive. In the second set, I broke early and that gave me confidence to play the final like I was expected. I was a little lucky to survive from 2-4 down in the first set.”

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:26 AM
STOCKHOLM 2012
Czech Tomas Berdych took a big stride on Sunday in improving his chances of qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

"London is always a goal every season," said Berdych on his bid to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. "You have to play well the whole year to qualify. It will be special for me, if I make it for the third year in a row. I then hope to do well for Czech Republic in the Davis Cup final at home."

The second seed beat top-seeded Frenchman and fellow London contender Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 29 minutes to capture the If Stockholm Open title.

The last Czech to win the title was Ivan Lendl in 1989 (d. Gustafsson). It was the first time the top two seeds contested the Stockholm final since 1991, when No. 2 Boris Becker beat No. 1 Stefan Edberg in five sets.

Berdych won his eighth ATP World Tour title in his 16th final. He received a cheque for €87,870 and earned 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points. Tsonga, who dropped to 9-7 lifetime in finals, picked up €46,280 and 150 points.

Tsonga saved two match points at 4-5, 15/40 in the deciding set, but Berdych made it third time lucky to improve to 6-11 this year against Top 10 opponents with his second ATP World Tour title of the year (also Montpellier). He held 40 of his 43 service games during the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tournament.

"It feels pretty good to have won a second title this season," said Berdych. "When I was 2-4 down in the second set, I remained positive and focused on my game. Against Jo you have to stay positive until the last point. I am happy that I was able to turnaround the match and that’s what makes this title special."

Tsonga, who was making his tournament debut this week, dropped to 2-2 in title matches and to 53-20 this year. Berdych, who also beat Tsonga in the recent Shanghai Rolex Masters quarter-finals, improved to a 57-19 season mark.

"I feel bad, because it was a good final and a close score," said Tsonga. "I think we played a great match and had many opportunities, but he played well. I tried to play my best tennis today. Of course, I am trying to qualify for London, I am not there yet and I need to earn more points."

Berdych is No. 6 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings Race To London and Tsonga is at No. 8. Only three singles berths remain up for grabs at the season-ending championship, to be held at The O2 in London, from 5-12 November. Juan Martin del Potro, the No. 7-ranked player, won the Erste Bank Open title in Vienna earlier today.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:27 AM
MOSCOW 2012
Italian Andreas Seppi clinched his third ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the Kremlin Cup.

The second seed defeated fourth-seeded Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-3 in two hours and 13 minutes. It was the first time in the 23-year history of the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tournament in Moscow that an Italian and Brazilian had reached the final.

"It is very special to win this title as I remember Yevgeny [Kafelnikov] winning so many times here and he was my idol growing up,” said Seppi. "I saw him a few times this week but I was too shy to ask him anything.

"It has been a great season for me, winning titles is so special, now I have won on all surfaces and that means a lot."

Seppi, who also won the Serbia Open 2012 title at Belgrade (d. Paire) in May, received a cheque for $121,500 in prize money and earned 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points. Bellucci, who lifted the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad trophy (d. Tipsarevic) in July, picked up $64,000 and 150 points.

Seppi is the first Italian to win two ATP World Tour titles in a season since Davide Sanguinetti in 2002 (Milan, Delray Beach). He will be at around No. 22 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings on Monday.

In the pair’s third meeting, the 24-year-old Bellucci broke serve for a 3-1 lead and went onto wrap up the first set in 31 minutes, having hit eight aces and won 21 of his 28 service points. Seppi had lost just five of his 19 points.

Bellucci appeared on course for the title when he broke for a 4-2 lead, but at 4-5 Seppi converted the first of his seven break point opportunities in the match. Bellucci, who beat Seppi in straight sets at 2011 Roland Garros, broke back to 30 only to lose his own serve to love when he served for the title for a second time. In the tie-break, Seppi overcame a mini-break and some big serves from Bellucci to level the score-line.

Seppi lost just 16 of his service points in the deciding set, converting two of six break point opportunities to improve to a 37-25 match record on the season.

"It was tough today to come back from a set and a break down," said Seppi. "He was serving very well at the beginning. I kept trying and that put some pressure on him. He could not close out when he served for the match twice and that gave me confidence. I started to play more relaxed and more aggressive."

Bellucci saved 10 of 14 break points and hit 13 aces in total, but dropped to a 25-20 season mark. He was also looking to become the first left-hander to win the Kremlin Cup title since Goran Ivanisevic (d. Kafelnikov) in 1996.

"I just did not play at the same level as I was before when I served for the match," said Bellucci. "Maybe I got too nervous. It was still a good effort from me this week, my first indoor final, it was a good match and he played well.

"I finished my semi-final at 11 o'clock last night and at 2 a.m. I was still awake. It was not easy to recover but still I almost won in two sets."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:27 AM
VALENCIA 2012
David Ferrer continued his remarkable year by capturing a career-high sixth ATP World Tour title on Sunday, when he won his third Valencia Open 500 trophy.

The top seed added to his 2008 (d. Almagro) and 2010 (d. Granollers) titles with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine in one hour and 49 minutes.

Ferrer celebrated by hugging his great friend Juan Carlos Ferrero, who he partnered to the doubles semi-finals this week. He has now won the same number of titles in 2012 as Roger Federer.

"It's always very difficult to play at home," said Ferrer. "I knew it would be more difficult to win the title again. He's a very talented opponent. I played aggressively and it went well for me. I want to dedicate the victory to Juan Carlos Ferrero on his farewell. He has given me the opportunity to grow as a person and as a player."

Ferrer, who improved to 17-15 lifetime in ATP World Tour finals, received €342,850 in prize money and 500 South African Airways ATP Ranking points, while Dolgopolov picked up €154,570 and 300 points. Dolgopolov is now 2-2 in title matches.

Ferrer got off to a strong start, creating break point opportunities in all three of Dolgopolov’s service games at the start of the final. Ferrer broke serve in the fourth and sixth games, finishing the set in 34 minutes, having won 19 of his 28 service points.

Dolgopolov, who is travelling without a coach, opened up a 3-0 lead in the second set, which he won in 30 minutes to set up a tense decider. At 3-3, Ferrer managed to recover from 15/40 to hold serve and broke Dolgopolov to 30 at 5-4 to record his 67th match win of 2012 (67-14).

"I couldn't take advantage of my opportunities in the third set," said Dolgopolov. "He took his chances and broke my serve with new balls. I'm happy to have reached the final, but maybe today I played worse. I enjoyed the tournament a lot."

Dolgopolov, who won 65 per cent of his service points and hit six aces, was appearing in his third ATP World Tour final of the season. A winner of the Citi Open at Washington (d. Haas) in August and runner-up at the Brisbane International (l. to Murray) in January, Dolgopolov is 34-24 on the year.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:28 AM
BASEL 2012
Juan Martin del Potro captured his fourth ATP World Tour title of the season on Sunday at the Swiss Indoors Basel. He is the first Argentinean to lift the trophy since Guillermo Coria in 2003.

Second seed del Potro defeated the top seed and hometown favourite Roger Federer, a five-time titlist, 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(3) in two hours and 45 minutes to add to his Erste Bank Open title (d. Zemlja), which he won seven days ago in Vienna.

"It was an unbelievable final, the match was really close," said del Potro. "After six losses, it was a big win for me. I was fighting all the time. I got lucky in the end, but I felt that I played a really good match.

"I was focused on my defensive game, keeping the ball in play and building my confidence in order to break his serve. It was tough for both of us. I want to enjoy this title, then get ready to play in Paris and London."

The 24-year-old del Potro beat Federer for the first time since November 2009 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and is now 3-13 lifetime against the World No. 1, who drops to 76-33 in finals.

Del Potro received a cheque for €337,900 and earned 500 South African Airways ATP Ranking points, while fellow Barclays ATP World Tour Finals qualifier Federer picked up €152,350 and 300 points for finishing runner-up in his ninth Basel final (5-4 overall).

Federer was looking to capture his 77th title, which would have drawn him level at No. 3 in the Open Era titles list with John McEnroe. Federer has won 875 matches during his career (also level with McEnroe).

Del Potro won 20 of his 25 service points and hit four aces in his first five service games. He broke Federer to 15 for a 3-2 lead that he maintained to win the 35-minute opener.

Del Potro continued to serve well in the second set and could have taken a 6-5 lead, if he had broken Federer at advantage in the 12th game, but the set was decided on a tie-break. Federer won four straight points from 1-1 and went onto wrap up the 64-minute set to level the score-line at one-set apiece.

Federer could not convert two break points at 2-1 and one point at 3-3 in the deciding set. In the tie-break, del Potro took a 4-2 lead and went onto improve to an ATP World Tour-best 17-1 record indoors this year. He is now 6-12 this year against Top 10 players in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.

"I thought overall I played pretty good," said Federer. "He got off to a bit of a better start, but it was close. He served well at the beginning, which made him the better player in the first set. The second set was close. He didn’t play a very good tie-break and then I had my chances early on in the third. I couldn’t break, despite doing the right things, but then I didn’t play a good tie-break myself.

"He has been playing really well this season. I have played him seven times. Every time, I can see he is extremely tough. He has been making the right improvements throughout the year. He is, basically, right there again."

Federer has a 69-10 match record on the season, highlighted by six titles including Wimbledon (d. Murray). Del Potro is now 13-5 in tour-level finals and improves to a career-best 62-14 season mark.

Despite his loss in the final, Federer continued the tradition of serving up pizza to ball boys after the doubles title match ended.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:29 AM
PARIS INDOORS 2012
World No. 5 David Ferrer won his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title on Sunday at the BNP Paribas Masters as he ended qualifier Jerzy Janowicz’s giant-killing run with a 6-4, 6-3 victory in Paris-Bercy.

The 30-year-old Ferrer is the first player outside the Top 4 to win a Masters 1000 title since Robin Soderling defeated Gael Monfils two years ago in the Paris final. Ferrer had previously finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal in the finals of the Internazional BNL d’Italia in Rome in 2010 and the 2011 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, and to Andy Murray at the 2011 Shanghai Rolex Masters. Going into the final, he had recorded the most match wins at Masters 1000 level (123) without winning a trophy.

Ferrer now goes into next week’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on the back of successive ATP World Tour titles, having triumphed last week at his hometown tournament, the Valencia Open 500 (d. Dolgopolov). The Spaniard has won an ATP World Tour-best seven titles this season and compiled a 72-14 match record.

"It was a dream for me to win here in Paris-Bercy," said Ferrer. "I had never won a Masters 1000 [title], and I took my chance, because it was not Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic. I played very good these [past] two weeks. It is very important because it was the best season of my career, and I will try to improve my game."

Ferrer received 1,000 South African Airways ATP Rankings points and €479,000 in prize money, while Janowicz earned 600 ranking points and €234,865.

World No. 69 Janowicz missed the chance to break Ferrer in the ninth game and the Spaniard was quick to take advantage of his opportunity in the following game, claiming the first set as Janowicz overhit a forehand.

Breaks were exchanged at the start of the second set, with Janowicz mounting a short-lived fightback to lead 2-1. Ferrer broke decisively in the sixth game, having fended off two break point chances in the previous game, and went onto close out victory in 87 minutes.

The 21-year-old Janowicz had come through two qualifying matches before ousting five Top 20 players to reach the final (including two Top 10 wins over No. 3 Andy Murray and No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic). He was the first Polish player to contest an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final and the first qualifier to reach a final at this level since Guillermo Canas at the Sony Open Tennis in Miami in 2007.

Having started the year at No. 221 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, Janowicz is set to crack the Top 30 at around No. 26 on Monday.

"This was his fifth match; this was my eighth match. I was really tired. I was actually exhausted almost," admitted Janowicz. "I'm only human, and I'm still happy about this final. David played today really good tennis. It was good enough to beat me today. He's a really experienced guy. He didn't get nervous."

"I’ve got a lot of confidence right now. I learned if you have big heart and you want to do something amazing and you’re going to fight for this, you have a big chance to make it."

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:29 AM
ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS 2012
Novak Djokovic captured his sixth title of the season on Monday, ending another stunning year with his second Barclays ATP World Tour Finals trophy. The top seed defeated second seed and six-time champion Roger Federer 7-6(6), 7-5 in two hours and 15 minutes in London, which saw a record 263,229 spectators watch tennis at The O2.

Ashok Vaswani, Chief Executive of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, presented Djokovic the singles trophy and a cheque for $1,760,000 as an unbeaten champion in five matches this week. ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett also congratulated the two-time year-end World No. 1, who also earned 1,500 South African Airways ATP Rankings points. World No. 2 Federer, now 6-2 lifetime in finals at the season-ending championships, received $800,000 and 800 points. Djokovic now trails Federer 13-16 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. It was only the fourth time in the 43-year history of the event that the World No. 1 has met the World No. 2 for the title.

“It's very satisfying for my team and myself to conclude this fantastic season with a [Barclays ATP] World Tour Finals win,” said Djokovic. “I never got to the finals of this tournament in London. The furthest I got is semi-finals a couple years ago where I lost straight sets to Roger. I wasn't really feeling this surface very well in past couple of years. But this year has been different. I got motivated, got a little bit more physically fresh. I wanted really to fight and I really wanted to get as far as I can in this tournament. Winning all the matches I played makes it even more special.”

The 25-year-old Djokovic is the ninth player to win the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at least twice. He beat Nikolay Davydenko for the 2008 title in 2008, when the event was held in Shanghai, China. Djokovic completes the 2012 season with a personal-best 75-12 match record. He also improved to 50-5 on hard courts and to a 24-10 mark against Top 10 opponents.

“I was playing really great tennis throughout the whole week. Tonight, whenever I needed to, to I came up with some really good shots. [I] really focus myself to get every ball back in the court. So I cannot be more thrilled than I'm feeling now.”

Wearing a regal purple-coloured shirt, Federer was relaxed and composed right from the start of the pair’s 29th meeting. Having practised with Severin Luthi, the Swiss Davis Cup captain, three hours earlier, Federer’s game was fluent as he played on the baseline to dictate the early exchanges. Djokovic, by contrast, found himself pinned in the Ad court, leaving half the court exposed. Through the first four games, Federer had hit six forehand winners, having broken Djokovic to love for a 2-0 lead.

“I was just trying to hang in there,” said Djokovic, on being 0-3 down in the first set. “It's not the first time that Roger [has] started against me so well. I've experienced before his aggression, really trying to put his mark on the match. I didn't know in which direction the match would really go, but I tried to convince myself that I would make a turnaround and I will fight."

In a seven-minute fourth game, Djokovic withstood a stern examination to stay in touch. Perspiring heavily, he conjured up the confidence and discipline to break back for 2-3, after Federer hit a backhand long at 30/40. In the eighth game, lasting nine minutes and 20 seconds, Federer committed six unforced errors, mainly on his forehand wing, and failed to convert four game points before Djokovic broke serve. Both players were deliberately engaging one another in backhand rallies as each attempted to establish their baseline dominance.

“I think there were too many [turning points] to really pinpoint one because any one of them, obviously, could have thrown the match into a different direction again in the first, and in the second, too,” admitted Federer. “More so in the first maybe because there were more twists and turns. Maybe [I have] a bit of regret because I had the lead twice, first before him.”

Federer fortuitously capitalised on a lapse in concentration to break back and the set was decided on a tie-break. Interestingly, Federer had won the first set on 20 occasions in their previous clashes. This time, Djokovic was in the ascendancy. Federer recovered from a 0-2 deficit and saved set point at 5-6 in an extraordinary rally, which saw the Swiss lunge and showcase his athletic prowess for a forehand winner, hit close to the net, past a motionless Djokovic. Federer mis-timed a backhand at 6-6 and Djokovic clinched the set in 72 minutes with his 11th winner, a forehand into space. The Serbian has never lost to Federer after winning the first set.

Federer regrouped immediately. The two-time reigning champion battled to win his fourth break point in a 14-minute opening game to the second set, as Djokovic committed five unforced errors to lose his serve. Federer won his service games was relative ease until the eighth game, when Djokovic created one break point opportunity. Although he failed to convert it, he was left to rue missing a short forehand that had bounced up off the net.

Djokovic stayed in touch and then benefitted from four straight errors, after Federer led 40/15 and two set point chances. Fired up, Djokovic screamed in celebration as he levelled at 5-5 after Federer struck a forehand long. Djokovic went onto win his third straight game as the pressure, and the crowd’s focus, shifted to Federer to remain in the match. Federer committed his 19th unforced error of the set (and 42nd of the final) at 30/30, as Djokovic gained championship point. Djokovic fired a backhand pass down the line at 30/40 and pumped his chest as a capacity 17,800 spectators erupted in applause. It was his 30th winner of the encounter. "I managed to deliver my best game when it was needed the most,” said Djokovic on the dramatic finale.

“Today we had times where we had longer rallies, we had times where we had shorter rallies,” said Federer. “Like I mentioned, I think we had some great stuff out there. It was good playing such points. I think the quality was good. I shouldn't have been broken as often as I was broken today. But then again, that obviously has something to do with Novak, as well. It was extremely close today.”

Djokovic improved to 34-19 in tour-level finals after going 5-0 in match play this week. He opened his fifth straight season-ending campaign on Monday, with a 7-6(4), 6-3 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. On Wednesday, he rallied past Andy Murray 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in their seventh meeting of year (leads 4-3) and on Friday beat Tomas Berdych 6-2, 7-6(6). In the semi-finals, he came back to defeat Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Federer, making his 11th appearance, was attempting to become the first player since Ivan Lendl to win three season-ending championship titles in a row (1985-87). The 2003-04, 2006-07, 2010-11 champion has a 42-9 tournament record. He was also looking to capture his 77th crown, which would have tied him at No. 3 with John McEnroe in the all-time title-leaders list.

This year, the 31-year-old Swiss compiled a 6-4 record in finals, including his seventh title at Wimbledon (d. Murray) and three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events. He had a 71-12 match record.

Chirag
01-28-2014, 03:30 AM
DAVIS CUP 2012
Radek Stepanek clinched the 100th Davis Cup final for the Czech Republic Sunday after defeating Spain’s Nicolas Almagro in the decisive fifth rubber in Prague. It is the Czechs’ second Davis Cup triumph, and their first as an independent nation, having won the coveted ITF men’s team trophy for the first time under the Czechoslovakia flag in 1980 in a team led by Ivan Lendl.

David Ferrer had drawn defending champion Spain level at 2-2 after defeating Tomas Berdych in straight sets, but Stepanek held his nerve to edge Almagro 6-4, 7-6(0), 3-6, 6-3 in three hours and 52 minutes.

"I was dreaming about it my whole life and now we're standing here as Davis Cup champions, it's amazing," said Stepanek. "I had a lot of chances in the second set. I was playing very aggressive today; I wanted to be the one who was more active. Even though I lost the third set, I had no doubt about my tactics. I came on the court with a mindset that I had to stay calm, hungry and concentrated. That's what I did tremendously well today."

Playing his third match of the weekend, having crucially won the doubles rubber with Berdych in four sets on Saturday to give the Czechs a 2-1 lead, Stepanek took the opening set against Almagro with a service break in the 10th game, attacking the Spaniard’s second serve to force an error.

Almagro put Spain back in contention in the second set as he fought off three break points on his own serve before breaking Stepanek to lead 3-2. The Murcia native’s lead was short-lived, though, as Stepanek hit back to level at 4-4. Almagro went onto save three set points, one in the 10th game and two in the 12th game, but he had no answer to Stepanek’s aggression in the tie-break. The 33-year-old Czech was rampant and a backhand winner won the breaker 7-0 for a commanding two-set lead.

Stepanek squandered a 0/40 chance on Almagro’s serve at the start of the third set and was made to rue his missed opportunity as the Spaniard broke for a 4-2 lead before going onto claim the set. Stepanek quickly extinguished Spanish hopes of a comeback, though, breaking for a 3-0 in the fourth set. Almagro saved a match point with a backhand overhead in the eighth game, but Stepanek closed it out on serve as Almagro netted a backhand.

Ferrer had kept Spanish hopes alive earlier in the day by producing a masterclass to dismiss World No. 6 Berdych 6-2, 6-3, 7-5. The 30-year-old Ferrer recorded an ATP World Tour-best 76th match win of the season and remained undefeated in Davis Cup play in 2012. Spain was contesting the Davis Cup final for the fourth time in five years and was bidding to win the title for the sixth time since 2000.

Chirag
03-03-2014, 03:31 AM
HOPMAN CUP 2013
Spain are the Hyundai Hopman Cup 2013 champions in the event’s 25th year after defeating Serbia 2-1 in the final at the Perth Arena.

In front of 12,518 people, the Spanish duo of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Fernando Verdasco combined to defeat Ana Ivanovic and world No.1 Novak Djokovic 6-4 7-5 in the mixed doubles to clinch the title. Spain has now won the Hopman Cup four times, they were also champions in 2010, 2002 and 1990.

For Medina Garrigues, there was elation at winning the title as a back injury threatened her tournament.

“It’s one of the best [wins], well I win a Roland Garros doubles it was really exciting also, but here I did not expect to get in the final and then win so I’m really happy,” said Medina Garrigues who played a key role in Spain’s victory, a sentiment shared by her on-court partner.

“I think she [played] a big part of this Hopman Cup,” said Verdasco. “She won three singles matches, unbelievable important and she play really good mixed to help me. I cannot win alone of course and like she is a really good doubles player and you can see it out there in the mixed.

“It was an unbelievable week. I enjoyed it a lot to play with her and an amazing doubles win … and one of the greatest moments of my career winning here today.”

The night started well for Serbia when Djokovic defeated Verdasco 6-4 7-5 to give Serbia the lead.

But in a tight women’s singles match, Medina Garrigues surprised the in-form Ivanovic 6-4 6-7(3) 6-2 to level the tie at 1-1. Medina Garrigues was at her defensive best, chasing down everything and forcing Ivanovic to work for every point.

The victory set up a tense mixed doubles match that would decide the winner of the mixed doubles teams event.

Spain drew first blood, breaking the Serbian duo in the third game only to be broken back the next game. But there was more to come – another two breaks for Spain and one for Serbia came as the Spaniards took the first set 6-4.

Both teams tightened their play in the second set but it was the Spaniards who looked the more convincing, their experience telling as they combined to repel the surging Serbians.

Chances to break in the second set were presented to each team, but the only break for the set came in the 11th game when the Spaniards found the combination to Ivanovic’s serve.

Medina Garrigues coolly served out the match to hand Spain the title. The win was extra sweet for her as she was part of the losing Spanish team in 2007.

“I’m really happy that I won with Fernando,” said Medina Garrigues after the match. “Without him this doubles was going to be almost impossible.”

“I think she won both balls,” joked Verdasco. “She won almost all her matches in singles and all the mixed doubles this year. You’re the winner. I don’t know what I’m doing here. It was absolutely a pleasure for me to play with her.”

The final was a fitting finale to a week that has seen 104,464 people attend the event at the new Perth Arena.

Chirag
03-03-2014, 03:31 AM
BRISBANE 2013
World No. 3 Andy Murray began his 2013 ATP World Tour season by winning a second-straight Brisbane International title, dispatching Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(0), 6-4 on Sunday.

Murray earned $78,800 and 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points while Dimitrov earned $41,540 and 150 points.

Murray, who dedicated the win to a sick friend, credited Dimitrov for playing aggressively and with a lot of variety. "He plays a lot of different shots, which is tough to play against because you're kept off balance a lot of the time," he said.

The Scot said that he was pleased to start 2013 with an ATP World Tour title, adding that the coming week of training would be important to his preparation for the year's first Grand Slam.

"I hope that the Australian Open goes a bit better for me than it did last year," mulled Murray, who lost to Novak Djokovic in a thrilling five-set semi-final. "I do feel more relaxed one week out from slam than I have done previously, that's for sure, so I hope that's a good sign."

Unshaken after being broken in his opening service game, which included a double fault, the top seed saved a set point at 5-6 to force a tie-break against 21 year old Dimitrov, who was bidding to become the first Bulgarian ATP World Tour title winner in the Open Era.

Murray played the perfect tie-break, claiming it 7-0 with an ace on set point.

In the second set, Murray won three successive games trailing 3-4 to seal the victory, which extended his FedEX ATP Head2Head lead over Dimitrov to 2-0.

It's the sixth time the Scot has managed a title defence and it was his 25th tour-level singles title.

Dimitrov, who began the week at No. 48 in the Emirates ATP Rankings is projected to rise to a career-high No. 39 on Monday.

The right-hander said he wasn't overwhelmed with nerves entering ATP World Tour final, and described Murray as one of the sport's best returners. "He's a top guy, so he has his rhythm, his routine on court. He pulled out some really, really good shots when he had to so I didn't feel that I was far, far from winning the set or even the match," he said.

The Bulgarian believes he needs more time on the ATP World Tour before delivering results which feature him in the final weekend of a major. “I think I still need couple of years on the tour to get stronger and be able to hang with these guys all weeks, and especially playing best of five sets,” he said.

Chirag
03-03-2014, 03:32 AM
DOHA 2013
World No. 10 Richard Gasquet overcame a set and a break deficit to defeat Nikolay Davydenko 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open final on Saturday in Doha.

“I'm really happy with the way I played and fought,” said Gasquet. “He was playing fast in the first set. I just try to keep focused and to fight a lot, and I did it. I’m really happy with the way I won. It's important for me to win the final.”

The victory marks Gasquet’s eighth ATP World Tour title and his third hard-court triumph. He is the fourth Frenchman to win the title, joining Fabrice Santoro (2000), Nicolas Escude (2004) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2012). He earns $180,600 and 250 Emirates ATP Ranking points.

Davydenko, the 2010 champion, looked to be in command, holding a 6-3, 4-2 lead and two break points. But Gasquet managed to recover and Davydenko was then broken for the first time in the tournament. After levelling the match, the second-seeded Gasquet went on to break the Russian three times in the final set to prevail in two and a half hours. He improved to 4-2 against Davydenko in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

“I think I was a little bit fresher than him in the third set, but he was playing so fast [that] he could break me in the second game in the third [set], so [anything] could happen,” Gasquet said. “He could win, too. We were so close together, so it was a big match, a big fight.”

The 31-year-old Davydenko was bidding to win his first title since 2011, when he was victorious at the BMW Open in Munich. He dropped to a 21-7 record in tour-level finals. The former World No. 3 upset fourth seed Mikhail Youzhny and fifth-ranked David Ferrer en route to the title match.

“I tried to concentrate, but I did some mistakes and already it was tough,” said Davydenko. “The third set, again [I was] trying, but my legs [were} not moving good. He played very well. Physically, he [was] much better.”