Tue, May 03, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Uncontainable Djokovic claims Serbia Open title

Reuters, BELGRADE

Novak Djokovic won the Serbia Open without dropping a set after beating Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 in Sunday’s final to stretch his unbeaten record this year to 27 matches.

It was the 23-year-old Serb’s fifth title this year after he captured the Australian Open and the Dubai Championships, as well as the Masters series events in Indian Wells and Miami.

After enjoying an easy passage to the final, including a first-round bye and a semi-final walkover against injured compatriot Janko Tipsarevic, Djokovic showed resilience when he faced adversity in the opening set against Lopez.

The home crowd favorite looked uncomfortable in light drizzle and high humidity, but showed nerves of steel, saving all seven break points throughout the strength-sapping contest.

With the score 5-5 in the first set, Djokovic saved a break point with a backhand return from an almost impossible angle and then romped to a 5-1 lead in the tiebreak, before he wrapped up the set in 73 minutes.

Having served his way out of the trouble to lead 2-1 in the second set, Djokovic broke serve for the first time in the fourth game and saved another break point in the sixth, before Lopez handed him a 5-2 lead with two wild unforced errors.

Djokovic then drew a standing ovation from the 5,000 home crowd with a pair of superb sliced drop-shots and sealed his second Serbia Open title with an ace and a service winner.

ESTORIL OPEN

AFP, ESTORIL, Portugal

Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro won his first clay-court tournament in 22 months with a 6-2, 6-2 defeat of Fernando Verdasco at the Estoril Open on Sunday.

The victory was the second of the season for the 2009 US Open champion, who missed 10 months of last year as he recovered from surgery on his right wrist.

Del Potro last played on clay at the 2009 French Open, but he showed that he had lost none of his touch on the surface.

He claimed his ninth title, from 12 final appearances, to improve his win-loss record for the season to 25-6 and become the first Argentine to win the Estoril title since David Nalbandian in 2006.

Despite his loss, the week was also a success for Spain’s second-seeded Verdasco, who had lost in four of his five previous tournaments in opening matches.

The Spaniard is fighting to rescue his ranking after he dropped from the top 10 to 15th. Sunday’s loss left his record in finals at 5-10.

Del Potro dominated in the opening set, winning it in 32 minutes after running away to a 5-1 start, but Verdasco began to find his range in the second set and despite starting it by going down a break, he managed to keep del Potro at bay.

The Argentine was tested in the final game, with Verdasco saving a pair of match points and forcing his opponent to salvage a break point, but del Potro finally took victory on his third chance.

BMW OPEN

AP, MUNICH, Germany

Nikolay Davydenko beat Florian Mayer of Germany 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to win his second BMW Open title on Sunday.

The seventh-seeded Russian also won the Munich tournament in 2004.

Davydenko broke serve for a decisive 2-0 lead in the final set and breezed through for his 21st title.

The fifth-seeded Mayer was looking for his first title. He also lost to Davydenko in the 2006 final in Sopot, Poland. Davydenko, a former third-ranked player, leads their head-to-head record 3-2.

Mayer, the highest-ranked German, is expected to move to No. 30 in the rankings.

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