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Ferrero Captures Third Title Of 2010

Umag, Croatia

Juan Carlos Ferrero© Getty ImagesJuan Carlos Ferrero won the 15th tour-level trophy of his career.

A  year after finishing runner-up to Nikolay Davydenko in the Umag final, fourth seed Juan Carlos Ferrero won the ATP Studena Croatia Open title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Italian Potito Starace on Sunday evening in the final of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament.

The Spaniard won his third ATP World Tour title of the year and the 15th tour-level trophy of his career. The 2003 Roland Garros champion dominated the Latin American “Golden Swing” in February, winning two titles in Costa do Sauipe (d. Kubot) and Buenos Aires (d. Ferrer) and finishing runner-up in Acapulco (l. to Ferrer).

"I'm very happy about this tournament. It gives me a lot of confidence to go and practice on hard now," said Ferrero. "It was an amazing week. I had a bit of pain in my knee but I kept motivated and it was great to come through. It was the fourth final I've played this year and I've won three tournaments so it's a great feeling."

It is the first time since 2003 that the 30-year-old Ferrero has won at least three ATP World Tour titles in the same season; he won four titles apiece in 2003 and 2001. The former World No. 1 improved to a 15-18 record in tour-level finals and to a 29-7 match record on clay this season.

As champion, Ferrero earned 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points and €72,150, while runner-up Starace received 150 points and €37,900 in prize money.

World No. 22 Ferrero began well in his seventh clash with Starace, breaking serve in the third game for a 2-1 advantage and he did not relinquish his lead as he went on to close out a one-set lead. One more break of the Starace serve in the second set sufficed for Ferrero to seal victory in 80 minutes. He did not face a break point in the match and only lost three points on serve in the second set, 10 points on serve overall.

"Since the beginning of the week I played very consistent and aggressive," assessed Ferrero. "Today I didn't let Potito dominate the points. I know he can be dangerous with his forehand so I tried to move him around and play to his backhand."

The No. 64-ranked Starace was contesting his third ATP World Tour final and first since reaching the Valencia (l. to Almagro) and Kitzbuhel (l. to Monaco) finals in 2007. The 29 year old, also a semi-finalist in Casablanca (l. to Wawrinka) and Nice (l. to Gasquet) earlier this year, dropped to a 21-18 mark on the season.

"Today was a tough match. He played very well especially on his serve. I was a bit tired but he played a perfect game," reflected Starace.

"I will try next time. I'm playing good tennis so I want to carry on and do something special. I am very close to playing my best tennis. I lost today but he played a great match. I want to try and improve my ranking in the next two-three months and try and get back to the Top 30."

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