Re: ATP Finals
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."