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Final Briefing - Gstaad, Umag, Los Angeles

Cilic© ATP Studena Croatia OpenCilic looks to become the first Croat to win the ATP Studena Croatia Open since 1990.

GSTAAD FINAL PREVIEW –  FIRST ALL-SPANISH FINAL IN GSTAAD SINCE 1997
It is an all-Spanish final on Sunday at the Credit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad as No. 4 seed Fernando Verdasco meets No. 8 seed Marcel Granollers for the first time. It is the fifth all-Spanish final on the ATP World Tour this season and it’s the first time since 1997 two Spaniards are meeting in the Gstaad final. That year Felix Mantilla defeated Juan Albert Viloca in the championship. The winner will become the seventh different Spaniard to earn an ATP World Tour title this year.

Verdasco is appearing in his third ATP World Tour final of the season and 16th of his career (5-10). He was runner-up in San Jose (l. to Raonic) in February and Estoril (l. to del Potro) in May. Granollers is making his third career appearance in an ATP World Tour final, the first since a runner-up effort in Valencia last November (l. to Ferrer). His lone ATP World Tour singles title came in Houston in April 2008 as he defeated No. 8-ranked James Blake in the final. This he’s defeated No. 2 seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals and No. 3 Mikhail Youzhny in the semi-finals.

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All Countrymen Finals – This is the fifth all-Spanish final on the ATP World Tour this season:
Acapulco  David Ferrer d. Nicolas Almagro (ESP)
Monte-Carlo Rafael Nadal d. David Ferrer (ESP)
Barcelona Rafael Nadal d. David Ferrer (ESP)
Halle Philipp Kohlschreiber d. Philipp Petzschner (GER)
Stuttgart Juan Carlos Ferrero d. Pablo Andujar (ESP)
Atlanta Mardy Fish d. John Isner (USA)
Gstaad Fernando Verdasco vs. Marcel Granollers

Spanish Winners in 2011 – The winner will become the seventh different Spaniard to capture an ATP World Tour title this season, joining Nicolas Almagro-3, Rafael Nadal-3, David Ferrer-2, Pablo Andujar, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Tommy Robredo.
 
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Winner €72,600 and 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points
Runner-up €38,200 and 150 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points

FINALS HISTORY
Verdasco Is appearing in his 16th  career ATP World Tour final (5-10 record, 3-5 on clay, 0-2 this year)
Granollers Is appearing in his 3rd career ATP World Tour final (1-1 record, 1-0 on clay, 0-0 this year)

SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP FED-EX HEAD 2 HEADS –

(4) Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs (8) Marcel Granollers (ESP) First Meeting

Verdasco FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
F: San Jose (l Raonic); Estoril (l Del Potro); SF: Hamburg (l Almagro); QF: London / Queen's Club (l Roddick)
YTD W-L: 24-15 (12-7 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 5
Date of Birth: November 15, 1983
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 20

* Verdasco, 27, is appearing in the final for the first time in Gstaad and he owns a 6-2 record here…His previous best result was the quarter-finals in his last visit five years ago (l. to Kohlschreiber)
* The Madrid native is making his third  appearance in an ATP World Tour final this season…He was runner-up in San Jose (l. to Raonic) in February and in Estoril (l. to del Potro) in May
* Has a 24-15 match record on the season (12-7 on clay)
* Ranked in the Top 10 for nearly one-third of the season before falling to No. 12 on Apr. 18…Slipped out of the Top 20 on June 6 (after Roland Garros)
* He is trying to become the second left-hander (Nadal three titles) to win an ATP World Tour title this season
* He has a 5-10 career mark in ATP World Tour finals (3-5 on clay)

Granollers FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
QF: Belgrade (l Volandri); Stuttgart (l Ferrero)
YTD W-L: 16-18 (11-10 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: April 12, 1986
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 45
 
* Granollers, 25, is appearing in his first ATP World Tour final of the season and third in his career…His last final came on home soil last November when he reached his second ATP final in Valencia (l. to Ferrer)
* His previous best result this year was the quarter-finals in Belgrade (l. to Volandri) in May and Stuttgart (l. to Ferrer) two weeks ago
* This week has dropped only one set in four matches en route to the final, defeating No. 2 seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals and No. 3 Mikhail Youzhny in the semi-finals
* Has a 16-18 match record on the season, including 11-10 on clay
* His lone ATP World Tour singles title came in April 2008 in Houston where he defeated No. 8-ranked James Blake in the final in three sets

Spaniards in Top 50 -- Here is a look at the ATP World Tour-high nine Spaniards in the Top 50 South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings (as of July 25):

  2) Rafael Nadal
  6) David Ferrer
10) Nicolas Almagro
20) Fernando Verdasco
24) Feliciano Lopez
36) Tommy Robredo
37) Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
45) Marcel Granollers
47) Pablo Andujar

DOUBLES FINAL – TOP TWO SEEDS SQUARE OFF IN CHAMPIONSHIP
• The top two seeds meet in Sunday’s doubles final as No. 1 Frantisek Cermak of the Czech Republic and Filip Polasek of the Slovak Republic take on No. 2 Christopher Kas of Germany and Alexander Peya of Austria.
• Cermak and Polasek are appearing in their second straight final and third overall this season. They made a successful debut in Belgrade by winning the title and last week in Hamburg, they were finalists (l. to Marach-Peya). They have a 14-4 match record together.
• Kas and Peya first teamed up at the Besancon Challenger in 2007, winning the title. In the past three years they have played seldom together before rejoining forces in February. This will be their second ATP World Tour final of the season. They were runner-up in Delray Beach (l. to Lipsky-Ram).
• This week they have not dropped a set en route to the final, losing only 14 games in three matches. Over the past month they have played well, reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon and Stuttgart.
• Here are ATP World Tour doubles finals records:Cermak (24-17),Polasek (5-7), Kas (3-10), Peya (1-5).


UMAG FINAL PREVIEW – CILIC TRIES TO BECOME FIRST CROAT WINNER IN UMAG SINCE 1990
There is a lot at stake in Sunday’s ATP Studena Croatia Open final as the top player from Croatia looks to become the country’s first winner in Umag in 21 years and his opponent attempts to capture his first career ATP World Tour title. Both players are 22 years old and the combined 44 years ties the youngest final this year. In Houston, Ryan Sweeting (23) d. Kei Nishikori (21).

No. 2 seed and top Croat Marin Cilic takes on No. 4 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine for the first time. Cilic is attempting to become the first Croat to capture the title since the tournament’s first year in 1990 when Goran Prpic defeated Goran Ivanisevic in three sets. Cilic is appearing in his 10th career ATP World Tour final (5-4), the third on home soil. He won back-to-back titles in Zagreb in 2008-09. Both players are making their second ATP World Tour final of the season. Cilic was runner-up in Marseille in February. The 22-year-old Dolgopolov reached his first career ATP World Tour final in Costa do Sauipe (l. to Almagro) in February. Countryman Dimitri Poliakov won the Umag title 20 years ago. Dolgopolov, who is ranked No. 26 this week after reaching a career-high No. 20 on Apr. 18, is trying to become the sixth first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season.

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WHAT’S AT STAKE
Winner   €72,600 and 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points
Runner-up  €38,200 and 150 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points

FINALS HISTORY
Cilic  Is appearing in his 10th career ATP World Tour final………..5-4 in finals, 0-1 on clay,0-1 in ‘11
Dolgopolov Is appearing in his 2nd career ATP World Tour final…………0-1 in finals, 0-1 on clay, 0-1 in ‘11

First-Time ATP Winners (5) – Dolgopolov is trying to become the sixth first-time winner on the ATP World Tour this season, the first since Ryan Sweeting in April. Here are the winners:
 
Player/Nationality           Age    Tournament
Kevin Anderson/RSA        24    Johannesburg
Ivan Dodig/CRO              26    Zagreb
Milos Raonic/CAN            20     San Jose
Pablo Andujar/ESP          25     Casablanca
Ryan Sweeting/USA         23     Houston

SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP FED-EX HEAD 2 HEADS –

Centre Court

(4) Marin Cilic (CRO) vs (2) Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)  First Meeting
 
Cilic FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
F: Marseille (l Soderling); QF: Zagreb (l Mayer); Rotterdam (l Troicki); Munich (l Davydenko); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Rome (l Nadal); London / Queen's Club (W/O vs Murray); Hamburg (l Youzhny)
YTD W-L: 28-14 (13-6 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 5
Date of Birth: September 28, 1988
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 31

*Cilic, 22, the top Croat on the ATP World Tour, is appearing in his final in Umag in four showings…His previous best was the second round in 2006-07…He is trying to become the first Croat to win the title since the tournament’s first year in 1990 when Goran Prpic defeated Goran Ivanisevic in all-Croat final
* On Saturday, he lost in his first ATP World Tour doubles final (w/Zovko) to Italians Bolelli-Fognini 63 57 10-7
* This is the Croat’s second ATP World Tour final of the season and his previous runner-up came in Marseille in February (l. to Soderling)
* He comes in with a 28-14 match record on the year (13-6 on clay) and his last ATP World Tour title came on home soil in Zagreb in February 2010 (d. Berrer)
* He is appearing in his 10th career ATP World Tour final (5-4 mark) and he’s looking for his first clay court title …His previous runner-up result on clay came in Munich in May 2010 (l. to Youzhny)

Dolgopolov FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
F: Costa Do Sauipe (l Almagro); SF: Acapulco (l Ferrer); Nice (l Hanescu); QF: Sydney (l Simon); Australian Open (l Murray)
YTD W-L: 25-18 (14-10 on clay)
YTD Titles: 0/Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: November 7, 1988
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 26

* Dolgopolov, 22, the top player from Ukraine on the ATP World Tour, is also appearing in his second ATP World Tour final this year, both coming on clay…Last year the Ukraine native lost here in the quarters (l. to Ferrero)…He enters with a 25-18 match record on the season, 14-10 on clay
* In February he reached his first career ATP World Tour final in Costa do Sauipe (l. to Almagro)…Also SF in Acapulco (l. to Ferrer) and Nice (l. to Hanescu) and two QF, at Sydney (l. to Simon) and Australian Open (first Grand Slam QF - l. to Murray)
* He reached a career-high No. 20 on April 18 and comes in No. 26
* He is one of three players in Top 30 yet to win an ATP World Tour title in his career along with No. 22 Florian Mayer and No. 23 Janko Tipsarevic 6-0

LOS ANGELES SUNDAY PREVIEW – FISH AIMS FOR SECOND STRAIGHT TITLE, GULBIS HIS SECOND ATP CROWN
The top seed will take on an unseeded giant-killer who has taken out the No. 2 and No. 5 seeds in the final of the Farmers Classic on Straus Stadium . This is the second tournament on the Olympus US Open Series.

Top seed and World No. 9 Mardy Fish is appearing in ATP World Tour finals in back-to-back weeks for the first time in his career as he attempts to collect his seventh career title. He won the title in Atlanta last Sunday. Fish cruised through his first two rounds and was pushed to the limits against teen-aged countryman Ryan Harrison, needing a third set tie-break to get past him for the second semi-final in a row. Now he is through to his 19th ATP World Tour final (6-12 mark).

Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis, unseeded and ranked No. 84 coming into Los Angeles, has overcome the odds a few times, not only edging No. 5 seed Xavier Malisse in the first round (snapping a five-match losing streak) but also taking out No. 2 seed Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter-finals (his first Top 20 win of the year). After a straight set semi-final win over Alex Bogomolov Jr. he now has another American across the net in his second ATP World Tour final - he won Delray Beach in February 2010. He is 6-28 against the Top 10 (0-3 in 2011). Gulbis’ numbers this week have been particularly impressive - since losing the opening set and serve twice to Malisse in the first round, he has won eight straight sets and has lost serve just once (to del Potro). He also leads the tournament in aces (40) and overall has held serve 40 of 43 games (93%).

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WHAT’S AT STAKE
Winner   $113,000 and 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points
Runner-up  $59,400 and 150 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points

FINALS HISTORY
Fish  Is appearing in his 19th ATP World Tour final………...6-12 record (1-0 in 2011)
Gulbis  Is appearing in his 2nd ATP World Tour final…………1-0 record (first final in 2011)

SUNDAY CHAMPIONSHIP FED-EX HEAD 2 HEADS –

Straus Stadium

(1)Mardy Fish (USA) vs Ernests Gulbis (LAT)  First Meeting

Fish FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
W: Atlanta (d Isner); SF: Memphis (l Raonic); Delray Beach (l Del Potro); ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami (l Djokovic); QF: Houston (l Nishikori); Wimbledon (l Nadal)
YTD W-L: 29-14 (19-8 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 6
Date of Birth: December 9, 1981
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 9

* Fish, 29, the top American, is appearing in his second straight ATP World Tour final…He is coming off the first ATP World Tour title defense of his career in Atlanta last Sunday (d. Isner, saving 2 MPs at 6-4 in 2nd set TB)...He also was a semi-finalist  in February in Memphis (l. to Raonic) and Delray Beach (l. to del Potro) and in Miami in April (l. to Djokovic)… He is the top seed this year for the third time (Houston, QFs; Atlanta, winner)
* He has a 10-4 career mark in Los Angeles and this is his first final…Previous best result was semi-final  in 2008,  l. to del Potro)
* This week has held serve 28 of 33 times (85%), won 12 of 32 return games (38%), converting an outstanding 12 of 16 break pts. (75%)…He is No. 2 in the tourn. in second serve pts. won (60%)
* He enters with a 29-14 match record (19-8 on hard) and he broke into the Top 10 for the first time on Apr. 18 then slipped out for next three weeks before returning on May 16 (has been there since – 11 weeks)
* Three weeks ago, he played in U.S.-Spain Davis Cup QF tie in Austin, Texas and lost opening match to Lopez 8-6 in fifth set and then to No. 6 Ferrer in four sets in reverse singles
* Prior to that, reached his first Wimbledon quarter-final (l. to Nadal)
* Has a 6-12 career mark in ATP World Tour finals (2-2 last year)…One of four Americans to win an ATP World Tour title this season, joining Andy Roddick (Memphis), Ryan Sweeting (Houston) and John Isner (Newport)


Gulbis FastFacts:
2011 Highlights:
SF: Sydney (l Simon); QF: Doha (l Nadal); Nice (l Berdych)
YTD W-L: 14-14 (11-8 on hard)
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: August 30, 1988
South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking: 84

*Gulbis, 22, is playing in his second career ATP World Tour final…In February 2010, he captured first ATP World Tour title in Delray Beach (d. Karlovic) and finished season with a 31-20 match record and year-end best No. 24 ranking…He reached a career-high No. 21 on February  7 this year
* Prior to this week, his best result this year came in the second week of the season in Sydney where he reached the semi-finals (l. to eventual champ Simon)…Also a quarter-finalist in Doha in first week (l. to Nadal) and in Nice in May (l. to Berdych)
* This is the Latvian’s third appearance at the tournament (6-2 mark); He fell in the 2nd Rd. in first two appearances (2009-10); This week he’s defeated No. 5 seed Xavier Malisse 26 63 76(5), qualifier Daniel Kosakowski 62 64 and No. 2 seed/’08 champion Juan Martin del Potro 62 64 (his first Top 20 win of the year)
* Has served well this week, leading in aces (40) and service games won (93%, 40 of 43 held), and No. 3 in first serve points won (80%) and second serve pts. won (56%)
* Has a 14-14 match record on the season (11-8 on hard) and broke a five-match losing streak since 2nd Rd. win in Nice (d. Istomin) with his three-set victory over Malisse here
* Has a 6-28 career record vs. Top 10 opponents (0-3 in 2011) and has never beaten a Top 10 in QFs-on (0-9)
* Came in No. 84 and will move to around No. 65 and to around No. 57 if he wins the title
* Working with another former Argentine player, Guillermo Canas (after working with Hernan Gumy)

DOUBLES FINAL –  KNOWLES-MALISSE TO MEET DEVVARMAN-HUEY IN TITLE MATCH

•The No. 3 seeded team of  Mark Knowles of Bahamas and Xavier Malisse of Belgium take on unseeded Somdev Devvarman of India and Treat Conrad Huey of the Philippines in Sunday’s doubles final.
• Both teams are appearing in their first ATP World Tour doubles final together.
• The first-time pairing of Knowles and Malisse have lost one set en route to the final while Devvarman and Huey took out  top seeds Melo-Soares in the first round and No. 4 seeds Erlich-Ram in the semi-finals.
• Devvarman and Huey came into the tournament with an 1-3 career record together in ATP World Tour play. They qualified at Wimbledon last year and lost in the first round and this season lost in the first round in Belgrade and advanced to the quarter-finals in Atlanta. This is the first ATP World Tour doubles final for both.
• The former Univ. of Virginia teammates won four Futures titles in a row in their first pro partnership, in Jan. 2007 and three in ’08. They then teamed up in four Challengers in ’09 with a semi-final in Baton Rouge. Last year they played three times together with a semi-final at the Charlottesville Challenger.
• Knowles, who played at UCLA from 1990-92 before turning pro, is appearing in his 98th career final (53-44) on the ATP World Tour, the first this year. His last title came in Washington last August (w/Fish). He’s won at least one ATP title in 16 of the past 17 years (except 1999). Knowles is 3-8 in Grand Slam finals, winning the Aust. Open in 2002, US Open in 2004 and Roland Garros in 2007 (all w/Nestor). They had a 40-29 mark in finals.
• Malisse is 5-2 in his career in doubles final (1-1 this year). He captured the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells (w/Dolgopolov) in March and was runner-up in San Jose (w/Falla). Malisse’s biggest title was at Roland Garros in 2004 (w/O. Rochus).

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