Tue, Feb 07, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Berdych beats Monfils to win Open Sud de France

AP, MONTPELLIER, FRANCE

Tomas Berdych won his seventh career title by defeating defending champion Gael Monfils 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in the Open Sud de France final on Sunday.

The top-seeded Czech broke for a 5-3 lead in the final set on a double fault from Monfils, clinching victory with his 12th ace.

“It was very close in the end. I’m happy that I was able to do it,” Berdych told Canal Plus television. “Actually, it’s even more special to beat the home player, unfortunately for the crowd.”

Berdych relied on a strong serve and deep ground strokes to go a set up, but made several unforced errors to drop the second set.

“Tomas had a great match,” Monfils said. “He got off to a good start, so I had less maneuvering room. I tried my best. I tried to return better, I tried to play with a bit more aggression too.”

The 2010 Wimbledon finalist broke Monfils for a 2-0 lead when the Frenchman sent a backhand long. Berdych then saved three break points to hold serve, before hitting two consecutive return winners to take the first set.

In the second set, Berdych double-faulted to give Monfils a break chance that the Frenchman converted for a 3-2 lead when the Czech’s backhand volley sailed long. Monfils erased three break points at 4-3 and leveled at one set each on a forehand error from Berdych.

Berdych had won their only previous meeting four years ago in Dubai.

ZAGREB INDOORS

AP, ZAGREB, CROATIA

Mikhail Youzhny beat Lukas Lacko 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday to win the Zagreb Indoors in his 18th career final.

The 29-year-old Russian clinched his first title since winning at St Petersburg in 2010.

Youzhny faced no break points and lost only 12 points on serve during the 68-minute match.

After both players won opening service games, Youzhny then took eight out of nine games, winning the first set and three games in the second.

Lacko then kept his serve until the end of the match, but could not challenge Youzhny.

“This was my best match of the tournament,” Youzhny said. “I gained some confidence here, but I don’t want to think about whether I will be in the top 10 again or not.”

Playing in his first final, Lacko said he was “dismissed badly.”

Lacko reached the third round at the Australian Open as a qualifier, but was ousted by Spain’s Rafael Nadal. He had never previously advanced beyond the quarterfinals at an ATP event.

VINA DEL MAR

AP, VINA DEL MAR, CHILE

Juan Monaco defeated Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 6-7 (1/7), 6-1 in an all-Argentina final at the Vina del Mar VTR Open on Sunday for his fourth ATP title.

It was top-seeded Monaco’s first title since winning three in 2007. All have been on clay.

It was the first ATP final for Berlocq, who advanced after defeating second-seeded Juan Ignacio Chela, another Argentine.

The victory marked a breakthrough for the 27-year-old Monaco, who lost in the final of this tournament in 2008 and 2010.

“The third time is lucky they say, so this time it’s true,” he said.

Monaco started well and led 4-1 before going on to win the first set.

He led 4-2 in the second and seemed headed for victory before Berlocq leveled the match and won the tiebreak. Monaco returned to form in the third set and broke Berlocq twice. Berlocq, who turned 29 on Friday, dropped only one set during the week.

The Chilean tournament is the start of a month-long clay court swing across Latin America, with other events upcoming in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.

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