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Andujar Claims First ATP World Tour Title In Casablanca

Casablanca, Morocco

Pablo Andujar© El KhaouaPablo Andujar hoists the Casablanca trophy.

Spain’s Pablo Andujar captured his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday at the Grand Prix Hassan II with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over fifth-seeded Italian Potito Starace.

One day after knocking out top seed Albert Montanes, the 69th-ranked Andujar capitalised on four of eight break points and saved the two faced on serve to defeat Starace for the first time in three tour-level meetings.

“I was very confident before the match,” said Andujar. “I thought about winning and yesterday’s win gave me a lot of confidence. I played in a way that made him tired, being very aggressive and making him run a lot.”

Starace, who was relegated runner-up status for the fourth time in four ATP World Tour finals, said: “He played a great match. He was too aggressive and didn’t give me one chance, so congratulations to him. He was playing a very high level.”

Andujar was contesting his second ATP World Tour final, last year reaching this stage at the clay court tournament in Bucharest (l. to Chela), and takes home € 72,600 and 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points with his victory.  “It wasn’t easy. I didn’t expect this title and it comes as a surprise for me,” he admitted.

The 25 year old has now won seven of his past eight matches to improve his season record to 10-7. Andujar recently posted his first Top 10 victory, defeating World No. 9 Fernando Verdasco in the second round of the Sony Ericson Open in Miami.

“Casablanca was a great preparation for me,” said Andujar. “The conditions are close to the ones in Europe and it’s only a two-hour flight from Valencia. This is a very good tournament to start the clay season.”

The 29-year-old Starace, who dropped to an 11-9 season record, also looked ahead to European spring season. “It was the first tournament on clay, and now I have four or five tournaments before Paris,” he said. “I hope I can make some good results because it’s very important for the confidence.”

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