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Almagro To Face Hanescu For Title

Nice, France

With Roland Garros just two days away, World No. 12 Nicolas Almagro advanced to his fourth ATP World Tour clay-court final of the season as he dismissed second seed Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4 in the semi-finals of the Open de Nice Côte d’Azur on Friday.

The Spaniard overturned a 1-3 record against Berdych as he converted all three of his break point opportunities and won 89 per cent of points behind his first serve to claim victory in 87 minutes. World No. 6 Berdych was looking to reach his first tour-level final since finishing runner-up at Wimbledon in July 2010.

The 25-year-old Almagro improved to a 30-9 match record on the season after notching his 23rd clay-court win. In February, the Murcia native went on a 13-match winning streak during the Latin American “Golden Swing”, winning back-to-back titles in Costa do Sauipe (d. Dolgopolov) and Buenos Aires (d. Chela) before the run came to an end with defeat to David Ferrer in the Acapulco final.

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His success this season took Almagro to a career-high World No. 9 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings on 2nd May, making him the 17th different Spaniard to rank inside the Top 10 in the history of the rankings (since 1973).

In an attempt to win his 10th ATP World Tour title, Almagro will face Victor Hanescu, who ousted fifth-seeded Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 6-3 in 73 minutes. The Romanian broke serve four times from eight opportunities as he avenged the defeat he suffered to Dolgopolov at the BNP Paribas Open in March.

The 29-year-old Hanescu is bidding to win his second career ATP World Tour title after lifting his maiden trophy on clay in Gstaad in 2008. All four of his ATP World Tour final appearances have come on clay, with runner-up showings in 2007 Bucharest, 2009 Stuttgart and 2010 Casablanca.

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© Erika Tanaka


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