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Tipsarevic Battles To First Clay-Court Crown

Stuttgart, Germany

Tipsarevic© Bongarts/Getty ImagesJanko Tipsarevic has a 3-6 record in ATP World Tour finals.

Top seed Janko Tipsarevic captured his first ATP World Tour clay-court title on Sunday with a hard-fought 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 victory over second seed Juan Monaco of Argentina at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart.

Tipsarevic was presented a cheque for €64,700 and earned 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points, while Monaco took home €34,080 and 150 points. It was the pair’s fourth meeting (2-2 overall).

Tipsarevic also won a Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 BlueEFFICIENCY in diamond white metallic. "I don’t want to call it a deal, but I have pretty solid car at home, so I don’t need it," said Tipsarevic. "But my wife [Biljana] and I had our anniversary a couple of days back. She also had her birthday. So I promised her the car, if I won the tournament. The points go to me."

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Both players exchanged early service breaks, before Tipsarevic broke Monaco for a second time in the ninth game en route to wrapping up the first set in 51 minutes.

Tipsarevic looked set to win his third ATP World Tour title after he dropped only two of his service points to move into a 4-0 second-set lead. But Monaco won five straight games to rattle the 28-year-old Serbian. At 5-6, Tipsarevic fell to 0/30 but fought back to 30-all, only to see Monaco convert his first set point opportunity and ensure a tense finale.

The deciding set went with serve to 2-2, when Monaco hit his first double fault of the match on the second of Tipsarevic’s break point chances. After two hours and 21 minutes of play, with Tipsarevic serving at 3-2, 0/30, the final was suspended due to rain at 5:03 p.m. local time.

Upon the resumption, Monaco broke back for 3-3, but Tipsarevic ran through the next three games to record his 36th match win of the season with victory in two hours and 36 minutes.

“It wasn’t an easy match to play, considering the balls were flying everywhere," said Tipsarevic. "It wasn’t really easy to be aggressive, but I felt I was the better player in the third set. I had a huge chance at 4-0 up in the second set, but instead of being more aggressive, I became passive. Luckily, I managed to come back.”

It was the first time the top two seeds in Stuttgart had reached the final since 1996, when Thomas Muster beat Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

“I feel great," said Tipsarevic. "I honestly still don’t believe I won the title, considering that in almost every match I was hanging to lose. There were a lot of ups and downs. I think my mental attitude was the key for me, fighting from the first to the very last point. I think that is one of the reasons why I managed to win the title.

With victory, World No. 8 Tipsarevic became the last member of the Top 10 to win a title this year. He is now 3-6 lifetime in ATP World Tour finals. In January, he lost to Milos Raonic in the Aircel Chennai Open title match.

Monaco, who dropped to 5-9 in tour-level finals, picked up two titles earlier this year at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar (d. Berlocq) and the US Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston (d. Isner). He has a 26-10 season mark.

“I never gave up and kept fighting," said Monaco. "I had a few chances and got back into the match. In the final set, he played better than me and really deserved to win. I tried my best, but today wasn’t my day. He is a nice guy."

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