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Old 04-18-2012, 10:13 AM   #151
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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."
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:13 AM   #152
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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.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:14 AM   #153
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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)
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:14 AM   #154
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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."
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:15 AM   #155
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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."
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:15 AM   #156
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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."
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:16 AM   #157
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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.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:17 AM   #158
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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."
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:17 AM   #159
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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.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:18 AM   #160
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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.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:19 AM   #161
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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.”
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:19 AM   #162
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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.
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Old 01-26-2014, 05:43 PM   #163
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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."
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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."
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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."
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