GRAND PRIX HASSAN II 2011
Andujar Claims First ATP World Tour Title In Casablanca
by ATP Staff|
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.”