ABIERTO MEXICANO TELCEL 2011
Almagro On Cusp Of Golden History
by ATP Staff|
Third-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro extended his winning streak to 13 matches after powering into the final of the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, where he has a chance to write his name into the history books. In an all-Spanish final of the ATP World Tour 500 tennis tournament, Almagro will play defending champion David Ferrer.
After defeating Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 7-6(4), 6-4 in Friday’s semi-finals, Almagro is now just one win away from becoming the first player to win three of the four Latin American clay court tournaments in the same season. Since the circuit began in 2001, linking Santiago, Costa do Sauipe, Buenos Aires and Acapulco, no player has won more than two titles in the one year.
"I am very happy to be in my third consecutive final and to be again in the final here in Acapulco," Almagro said. "It's been an incredible South American swing for me and I hope I can finish brilliantly tomorrow. A final is not a match you go out to play, it's a match you go out to win."
Almagro is also chasing a third title in four years in Acapulco following victories in 2008-09. All of his nine career titles have come on clay, with five of those title runs happening during the 'Golden Swing'.
Almagro, who won the Buenos Aires and Costa do Sauipe titles the past two weeks, has now won 18 of 20 matches played in 2011. This week he has dropped just one set (to Santiago Giraldo in the quarter-finals) in four victories. The 25 year old is at No. 13 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, just two places below his career-high mark.
To carve out his piece of history Almagro must defeat fellow in-form Spaniard and top seed David Ferrer, who is looking to successfully defend the Acapulco title he won in 2010. Ferrer dropped the first set against streaky Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov but from 2-5 in the first set he won 15 of the last 19 games and 20 of the last 27 points to win 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
Ferrer said: "It was a very difficult match. Dolgopolov is a great player who is going up very fast. I am very happy I was able to come through in three sets today and to be in the final tomorrow. I expect a very difficult match against Nico, he's playing unbelievable and has built a lot of confidence in the past three weeks. I am very happy I am able to defend my title from last year."
Ferrer improved to a 13-2 record on the season, which includes his 10th ATP World Tour title in Auckland in the second week of the season. Ferrer has won all five career meetings with Almagro.
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