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Federer fan forever
12,903 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I wanted to make a thread featuring articles about every final of the ATP world tour from 2010 onwards.All articles belong to and no copyright intended.

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

Federer fan forever
12,903 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
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.

Federer fan forever
12,903 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
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."

Federer fan forever
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Discussion Starter #4
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.

Federer fan forever
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Discussion Starter #5
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]."

Federer fan forever
12,903 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
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."

Federer fan forever
12,903 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
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

Federer fan forever
12,903 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
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."

Federer fan forever
12,903 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
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."

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Discussion Starter #10
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.

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Discussion Starter #11
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."

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Discussion Starter #12
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.”

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Discussion Starter #13
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.”

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Discussion Starter #14
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."

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Discussion Starter #15

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.

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Discussion Starter #16
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.”

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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.

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Discussion Starter #17
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."

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Discussion Starter #18
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.

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
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.”

Federer fan forever
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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.”
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