KREMLIN CUP 2012
Seppi Tops Bellucci For Moscow Crown
by ATP Staff|
The second seed defeated fourth-seeded Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-3 in two hours and 13 minutes. It was the first time in the 23-year history of the ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tournament in Moscow that an Italian and Brazilian had reached the final.
"It is very special to win this title as I remember Yevgeny [Kafelnikov] winning so many times here and he was my idol growing up,” said Seppi. "I saw him a few times this week but I was too shy to ask him anything.
"It has been a great season for me, winning titles is so special, now I have won on all surfaces and that means a lot."
Seppi, who also won the Serbia Open 2012 title at Belgrade (d. Paire) in May, received a cheque for $121,500 in prize money and earned 250 South African Airways ATP Ranking points. Bellucci, who lifted the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad trophy (d. Tipsarevic) in July, picked up $64,000 and 150 points.
Seppi is the first Italian to win two ATP World Tour titles in a season since Davide Sanguinetti in 2002 (Milan, Delray Beach). He will be at around No. 22 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings on Monday.
In the pair’s third meeting, the 24-year-old Bellucci broke serve for a 3-1 lead and went onto wrap up the first set in 31 minutes, having hit eight aces and won 21 of his 28 service points. Seppi had lost just five of his 19 points.
Bellucci appeared on course for the title when he broke for a 4-2 lead, but at 4-5 Seppi converted the first of his seven break point opportunities in the match. Bellucci, who beat Seppi in straight sets at 2011 Roland Garros, broke back to 30 only to lose his own serve to love when he served for the title for a second time. In the tie-break, Seppi overcame a mini-break and some big serves from Bellucci to level the score-line.
Seppi lost just 16 of his service points in the deciding set, converting two of six break point opportunities to improve to a 37-25 match record on the season.
"It was tough today to come back from a set and a break down," said Seppi. "He was serving very well at the beginning. I kept trying and that put some pressure on him. He could not close out when he served for the match twice and that gave me confidence. I started to play more relaxed and more aggressive."
Bellucci saved 10 of 14 break points and hit 13 aces in total, but dropped to a 25-20 season mark. He was also looking to become the first left-hander to win the Kremlin Cup title since Goran Ivanisevic (d. Kafelnikov) in 1996.
"I just did not play at the same level as I was before when I served for the match," said Bellucci. "Maybe I got too nervous. It was still a good effort from me this week, my first indoor final, it was a good match and he played well.
"I finished my semi-final at 11 o'clock last night and at 2 a.m. I was still awake. It was not easy to recover but still I almost won in two sets."
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