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12th April
2009
written by kat


CONGRATULATIONS TO JCF FOR HIS WIN AT CASABLANCA!!!!
Can you believe it? He had not lost a set all week to take this title, the moment we’ve all been waiting for a LONG TIME. 🙂
Rd 1: d. Christophe Rochus 6-2 6-3
Rd 2: d. Potito Starace 6-4 7-6(1)
QF: d. Victor Hanescu 6-3 7-5
SF: d. Igor Andreev 7-6(9) 6-3
Final: d. Florent Serra 6-4 7-5

Ferrero Breaks Title Drought with Casablanca Crown
Former ATP World Tour No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero snapped a title drought dating back to October 2003 by defeating fifth-seeded Frenchman Florent Serra 6-4, 7-5 on Sunday in the final of the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca to win the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament.
Victory for Ferrero earns him 250 South African Airways 2009 ATP Ranking points and €71,700 in prize money. The Spaniard reached the top spot in the South African Airways ATP Rankings on 8 September 2003, after reaching his third Grand Slam final at the US Open (l. to Roddick).
Ferrero was returning to Casablanca for the first time since making his ATP World Tour debut there as a 19 year old, when he reached the semi-finals (l. to A. Martin).
“This is a special tournament for me,” said Ferrero. “Ten years ago I played my first ATP World Tour tournament here and now I’m back winning the title. I’m very happy, it was a great week for me.”
The 29-year-old Ferrero’s last title came at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (d. Massu) in October 2003. Since then, he had contested 110 tournaments without lifting the champion’s trophy. During that span he finished runner-up at six ATP World Tour tennis tournaments at 2004 Rotterdam, 2005 Barcelona and Vienna, 2006 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati, 2007 Costa do Sauipe and 2008 Auckland.
Two breaks were exchanged early in the first set before Ferrero earned a decisive third break to close out a one-set lead 6-4. The players swapped two more breaks of serve in the second set before Ferrero once again made a key breakthrough in the 11th game to lead 6-5. The Villena resident then served out his first victory in three meetings with Serra after one hour and 36 minutes.
“It wasn’t easy because Florent was playing very aggressively and I felt a lot of pressure,” said Ferrero. “I wanted to take my chances and finally I could win which makes me very happy.”
“It is very important for my confidence that I won this tournament. This helps a lot coming back from an injury.”

Ferrero is closing on his 400th tour-level match win. Victory in Casablanca took the Spaniard to a 396-210 record. His match record in 2009 stands at 10-5, highlighted up till now by quarter-final showings at Costa do Sauipe (l. to Bellucci) and Buenos Aires (l. to Nalbandian).
The title was Ferrero’s first on clay since he captured his lone Grand Slam championship at Roland Garros (d. Verkerk) in June 2003. He improved to a 9-7 mark in clay-court finals, and to 12-16 on all surfaces. The right-hander has reached at least one ATP World Tour final in 11 consecutive seasons (since 1999).
At No. 115 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, Ferrero is the lowest-ranked winner on the ATP World Tour this year. The only other player ranked outside the Top 100 to reach a final was Somdev Devvarman in Chennai (l. to Cilic).
The 47th-ranked Serra – one of nine Frenchmen in the Top 50 of the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings – was contesting his third ATP World Tour final and drops to a 2-1 lifetime. His two titles came at 2005 Bucharest (d. Andreev) and 2006 Adelaide (d. Hrbaty).
“It was a great week for me but I’m a bit disappointed today,” said Serra. “I was nervous at the beginning and Juan Carlos was playing really well. This city is special for me since my father was born here and I dedicate this final to him.”
The 28-year-old Bordeaux native, who has an 11-10 match record on the season, was looking to become the third successive Frenchman to lift the trophy in Casablanca after Paul-Henri Mathieu triumphed in 2007 and Gilles Simon prevailed in 2008.

Another article from the week inside….

Ferrero Aims For Return To Winners’ Circle
Former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero reached his first ATP World Tour final in 15 months after ousting top seed Igor Andreev 7-6(9), 6-3 on Saturday in the semi-finals of the Grand Prix Hassan II, an ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Casablanca.
In a match featuring five breaks of serve, the unseeded Ferrero converted three of 10 break point opportunities to improve to a 4-1 lead over Russian Andreev after two hours and five minutes. He improved to 9-5 match record on the season and is closing in on his 400th tour-level match win – should he win the title he would move to a 396-210 mark.
“The first set was a bit crazy,” said Ferrero. “I was happy that I was strong mentally after the break. My tennis was so so today, but I was a hundred percent mentally during the whole match. It was also very windy today.”
The Spaniard is trying to capture his first ATP World Tour title since October 19, 2003 when he won ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Madrid (d. Massu). By reaching the final, he has extended his streak of reaching at least one ATP World Tour final for 11 consecutive years (since 1999). His last appearance in an ATP World Tour final came at Auckland (l. to Kohlschreiber) in January 2008.

Since his triumph in Madrid, the 29-year-old Ferrero has played 110 tournaments without holding the champion’s trophy. During that span, he has been runner-up six times.

The Villena resident is also attempting to clinch his first clay-court title since winning his lone Grand Slam championship at Roland Garros on June 8, 2003 (d.Verkerk). He is 8-7 in clay court finals (11-16 overall).

Ferrero, currently No. 115 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, would be the lowest-ranked winner on the ATP World Tour this year – should he defeat No. 5 seed Florent Serra in Sunday’s final. The only other player ranked outside the Top 100 to reach a final was Somdev Devvarman in Chennai.
“I have never won against Serra and I hope that I will succeed tomorrow,” said Ferrero, who has a 0-2 record against the Frenchman. “We have played on grass and hard, but never on clay. We both haven’t lost a set this week which means that we are playing well. I have two goals for Sunday. I want to win the title here in Casablanca and beat Serra for the first time. I hope that I can show my best tennis since finals are always a different story.”
World No. 47 Serra (pictured) advanced to his third ATP World Tour final with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over third-seeded Spaniard Albert Montanes.
The fifth-seeded Frenchman dropped his own serve once, but converted three of five break point chances on Montanes’ serve to record victory over the Spaniard in 88 minutes. Victory for Serra avenged the loss he suffered to Montanes in the first round of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells last month.
“I had some difficult moments in the second set when I saved break points,” said Serra. “It was important to save those and remain aggressive. He had beaten me a month ago in Indian Wells and I’m happy that I made it this time. Now that I’m in the final I want to go one step further and win another title.”
The 28-year-old Serra is yet to drop a set en route to his first ATP World Tour final since January 2006. The Bordeaux native won his second ATP World Tour title in Adelaide (d. Hrbaty) on that occasion, having clinched his maiden title in September 2005 at Bucharest (d. Andreev). He has a 2-0 mark in ATP World Tour finals.
The right-hander improved to an 11-9 match record on the season, highlighted previously by quarter-final appearances in Brisbane (l. to Verdasco) and Delray Beach (l. to Fish).
“I have beaten Ferrero twice, but I have never played him on clay,” said Serra, looking ahead to the final. “I saw that he’s very strong physically this week. I will have to play my game and be aggressive again.”

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