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Old 04-18-2012, 08:31 AM   #106
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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.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:32 AM   #107
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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 Ďs-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.

"Iíve 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 didnít do very well and I definitely didnít expect myself to be doing the way Iím 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 Ďs-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 Ä68,850 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."
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:32 AM   #108
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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.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:33 AM   #109
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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 Iím 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 Nadalís 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."

Rafa Ready To Bide His Time | Djokovic's Dream Three Days

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 Spaniardís 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 Ė Wimbledon double three times.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:34 AM   #110
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NEWPORT 2011

American John Isner became the first top seed to win the Campbellís 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 Isnerís 100th tour-level win (100-80 record).

Isner took a late wild card into Newport, forcing him to miss his brother, Nathanís 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. Itís the perfect start to the summer and I really feel like my best surface is the hard courts in the U.S. so Iím 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, 6í9íí Isner fired 22 aces as he dispatched 5í6íí 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 donít think Iíve ever had a better week serving," said Isner. "I just served excellently. Iím 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 Isnerís serve played a huge factor in the final. ďHe played great,Ē stated Rochus. ďI 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 didnít serve so well today. Otherwise I was really playing solid, very good, but I think the serve made a difference.Ē

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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 havenít had great results," admitted Isner. "The last time I won back-to-back matches was Miami. So itís huge on any level, but especially on this level, to win five matches in a row. This game is all about confidence, so Iíll 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.

ďI had a very good tournament,Ē said Rochus. ďMy level was very good all week. He was better than me today. A bigger serve. Iím proud of [myself], again to be in the final here two times in a row. Itís fantastic. I think today he didnít get the final very easy. He had to fight to the last point.Ē
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:35 AM   #111
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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].”
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:36 AM   #112
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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 Ä72,600 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."

DEUCE Magazine: The Last Time... Soderling (May 2011)

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 Ä38,200 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.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:36 AM   #113
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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."
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:37 AM   #114
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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 CŰte 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."
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:38 AM   #115
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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 Crťdit 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.”
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:38 AM   #116
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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 Americanís 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 Latvianís 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.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:39 AM   #117
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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 Sundayís 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 Ä72,600 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 hadnít won a title and everyone was talking about that a bit," said Dolgopolov. "So Iím really happy that I eventually did win it, because I was playing pretty well for a year, but still I couldnít manage to win a title. Itís a good moment. Iíll 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 Iím 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 tournamentís 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).

"Iím really pleased with the way things went this week," said Cilic. "We havenít 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."
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:39 AM   #118
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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 KitzbŁhel.

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 Dolgopolovís 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 Ä72,600 in prize money. The Hague native is the first Dutchman to win an ATP World Tour trophy since Martin Verkerk captured Amersfoort in 2004.

"Itís an amazing feeling. Iím 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 didnít 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 KitzbŁhel. 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.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:40 AM   #119
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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.”
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:41 AM   #120
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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.”
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