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Tursunov Downs Dancevic To Capture First Grass Title

Eastbourne, Great Britain

Dmitry Tursunov© Getty ImagesDmitry Tursunov

ATP World Tour No. 27 Dmitry Tursunov gained a boost in confidence ahead of The Championships at Wimbledon after winning his first grass-court ATP World Tour title on Saturday with a 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over Canadian qualifier Frank Dancevic in the final of the AEGON International, an ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament in Eastbourne.

It was the second time Tursunov and Dancevic had met in an ATP World Tour final, with the Russian also taking the spoils in straight sets in the Indianapolis final in 2007.

After winning his first ATP World Tour title of the season, Tursunov received 250 South African Airways 2009 ATP Ranking points and €71,700 – while runner-up Dancevic earns 150 Ranking points and €37,700 in prize money.

"Whether it's winning Wimbledon, Eastbourne, a Challenger of Futures event, or beating your grandmother in checkers, winning is always better than losing - so it's great to get through the week like this," said Tursunov. "I was No.2 seed and was expected to do well, but I had some tough matches along the way."

The 26-year-old Tursunov clinched his sixth ATP World Tour title from his eighth final; it was his first title victory since winning on indoor hard court at Metz (l. to Mathieu) in the Autumn of last year. All five of the Russian’s previous title efforts have come on hard court, beginning with victory at Mumbai (d. Berdych) in 2006.

Looking to maintain his perfect record against Dancevic, Tursunov fought back from a 0/30 deficit in the Canadian’s service game at 3-4 in the first set to earn the first break of serve in the match before closing out a one-set lead. No breaks of serve in the second set forced a deciding tie-break, which Tursunov claimed 7-5 to seal victory after one hour and 22 minutes. The Russian fired 12 aces to Dancevic’s 10 and faced no break points on serve.

The Muscovite’s season was interrupted in May as he underwent surgery to remove large bone spurs from his left ankle and made his comeback at Roland Garros, where he suffered a first-round loss to Arnaud Clement before reaching the second round on grass in Halle two weeks later. The right-hander had not won back-to-back matches on the ATP World Tour all season prior to his success on his fifth appearance at the AEGON International this week.

"It's always great to win a tournament, especially after I had ankle surgery just a couple of months ago," commented the Russian. "I actually tweaked my ankle in the second set and it was limiting my movement quite a bit towards the second set so I was pretty relieved to get the match over in two sets. I would have been in trouble had it gone to a third."

The 24-year-old Dancevic, one of three qualifiers to reach an ATP World Tour final this season, was bidding for his first ATP World Tour title after falling to Tursunov in his only previous final appearance.

"I went out with the mentality to just go for all my shots today," explained Dancevic. "I did the same yesterday in the semi-finals against Santoro and it paid off. Today it didn't. I think Dmitry played a great match. It's ironic that I've lost to him in my only two ATP World Tour finals so far.
 
"Of course I'm disappointed right now but if you had told me at the start of the week that I would have had five or six matches, then I would have taken it for sure. It's been a great week and I can go into Wimbledon feeling confident."

The No. 126-ranked Dancevic was playing in a tour-level main draw for only the fifth time this season, and the first time since losing to Novak Djokovic in the second round of ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami in March. He dropped to a 6-6 match record on the season.

 

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