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Almagro Earns 200th Win, Second Successive Title

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Nicolas Almagro© Copa ClaroNicolas Almagro wins his fifth title on the "Golden Swing".

World No. 13 Nicolas Almagro earned his 200th tour-level match win as he captured his second ATP World Tour title in as many weeks with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Juan Ignacio Chela in the Copa Claro final on Sunday in Buenos Aires.

“It’s a very good feeling, I’m very happy after winning here and I hope it won’t just be nine titles in my career but a lot more,” said Almagro. He added about his milestone win, “It's a very high number and I hope I can keep getting to higher numbers in my career.”

The Spaniard was coming off his eighth career ATP World Tour title in Costa do Sauipe (d. Dolgopolov) last week and is on a nine-match winning streak. It is the first time in his career that he has won ATP World Tour titles in back-to-back weeks.

As winner of the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament, Almagro received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and $82,800 in prize money.

All nine of Almagro’s ATP World Tour titles have come on clay courts, with five of those trophies coming during the Latin American “Golden Swing”, which incorporates four tournaments in South America during the month of February. As well as his successes this year, he also won back-to-back trophies in Acapulco in 2008-2009 and triumphed in Costa do Sauipe in 2008.

“It’s great to play the Latin American swing every year,” he said. “I’ve always had great results. When I was younger I made some semi-finals and lately I’ve won a lot of titles. I hope I can keep getting more here.”

The top seed Almagro squandered an early break advantage in the first set, but from 3-3 broke serve twice more to clinch the opener. Home favourite Chela was quick to respond, though, taking an early 2-1 break lead in the second set before breaking serve again in the ninth game to level the match. Breaks were exchanged early in the deciding set before Almagro broke decisively in the seventh game to wrap up victory in just over two hours.

“I knew it would be tough, but I was in good shape,” said Almagro. “It wasn’t easy because of the wind and we both had trouble with it. In the first set I was really aggressive, but in the second I made a few unforced errors that cost me the set. In the third I had to repeat what I did in the first set and happily I could do it to win.”

Chela said: “The key game was at 3-3 of the third set because I broke him the game before with great tennis but I couldn’t keep it up. I had to be more aggressive with my serve during the match because his is very good.”

Both Almagro and Chela had pulled double duty on Saturday, winning both their quarter-final and semi-final matches after rain had washed out the majority of play on Friday. In completing his quarter-final win over fourth seed Albert Montanes, the 31-year-old Chela earned his 300th tour-level match win.

The No. 35-ranked Chela was bidding to win his seventh ATP World Tour title and dropped to a 6-6 record in finals. He won two ATP World Tour clay-court titles last year in Houston (d. Querrey) and Bucharest (d. Andujar).

“It was a great week, I had a great level,” said Chela. “Of course I’m sad because I lost but I’m happy with the tennis I played.”

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