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Fit-Again Tursunov Ends Title Drought

's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands

Tursunov© Edwin Verhoef/UNICEF OpenDmitry Tursunov claimed his seventh ATP World Tour title Saturday in 's-Hertogenbosch.

Former Top 20 player Dmitry Tursunov won his first ATP World Tour title since June 2009 as he defeated Ivan Dodig 6-3, 6-2 in the final of the UNICEF Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch on Saturday.

The Russian has been sidelined for much of the past two years, after undergoing three ankle surgeries. His last ATP World Tour title had also come on grass, at the AEGON International in Eastbourne (d. Dancevic) in 2009. He improved to a 7-2 record in ATP World Tour finals.

"I’ve had a lot of good results this year, but not on the ATP [level]," said Tursunov. "The start of the year was horrendous for me, in Australia I didn’t do very well and I definitely didn’t expect myself to be doing the way I’m doing right now. After being in tennis a long time now, I understand one week can be terrible and one week can be great. I happened to do all the right things at the right moments this week and I won."

The 28-year-old Tursunov began the season just inside the Top 200 of the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, but had risen to No. 70 prior to his run in ‘s-Hertogenbosch on the back of strong ATP Challenger Tour results. As victor of the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament, the Russian received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and €68,850 in prize money.

In his first meeting with Dodig, Tursunov showed his superior finals experience and made a fast start, breaking to lead 3-1 before going on to close out the opening set. The match was suspended due to rain at 2-2 in the second set, and when play resumed 75 minutes later, Tursunov romped through the final four games in just 16 minutes to claim victory.

"At 5-3, 30/30 [in the first set] he had an overhead that he basically hit to my racquet, that was definitely a very important point. Had he won that, I was a little nervous at that time..." said Tursunov. "I came out at 2-2 [after the rain delay] and was playing pretty aggressive. I knew that I had to play aggressive, but also within my limitations. I think my experience to deal with situations like that might have helped me a little bit today."

World No. 42 Dodig was bidding for his second ATP World Tour title, both of the season and his career, after victory on home soil at the PBZ Zagreb Indoors (d. Berrer) in February.

The Croatian, who ousted second seed Marcos Baghdatis in the semi-finals on Friday, dropped to a 21-12 match record on the season. As well as winning the Zagreb title in his career-best start to the season, Dodig also reached the semi-finals in Barcelona (l. to Nadal) and the quarter-finals in Delray Beach (l. to Tipsarevic).

"It was tough today. We started and then we stopped," said Dodig. "I think in the second set, until the rain started, I was finding my game. But in the end, he was much better today on the court and he deserved to win. I was really enjoying it here, this tournament, and I'm very happy with the results."

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