POWER HORSE CUP 2013
Monaco Hits Form To Win Inaugural Dusseldorf Title
by ATP Staff|
Third seed Juan Monaco hit form at just the right time with victory at the inaugural Power Horse Cup on Saturday in Dusseldorf. The Argentine now heads to Roland Garros on the back of winning his eighth ATP World Tour title with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Jarkko Nieminen in the final.
The 29-year-old Monaco, who had won back-to-back matches just three times this season coming into Dusseldorf, did not drop a set this week and improved to a 14-11 match record on the year.
"It's the best preparation," said Monaco. "I've had a great week here, playing a couple of good matches. Especially today I played really well. So I will look forward to keep playing this way in Paris."
"It's like playing at home in Tandil,” continued Monaco. “I played club tennis here in 2006 and 2007, then I played the World Team Cup two times and we were champions and finalists. There must be something here! I feel very good every time I go on centre court, I feel something special. With this victory today, it's even more special."
The Tandil native is the third Argentine winner on the ATP World Tour this season, joining Juan Martin del Potro (Rotterdam) and Horacio Zeballos (Vina del Mar). Last year, Monaco won a career-best four ATP World Tour titles. He has an 8-9 finals record.
In his fourth meeting with the 31-year-old Nieminen, Monaco broke serve at 4-4 and closed out the first set. He established an early break advantage in the second set and broke his Finnish opponent again in the ninth game to claim victory in 71 minutes. Monaco levelled their FedEx ATP Head2Head series at 2-2 and has now won their past two meetings.
"From the start until the end, I was very solid from the baseline," said Monaco. "I didn't miss any opportunities. I think I served very well today."
World No. 42 Nieminen dropped to a 2-11 finals record. The left-hander was attempting to win his first clay-court crown. His last title came at the Apia International Sydney in January 2012 (d. Benneteau).
Watch Final Highlights
Nieminen has compiled a 21-13 match record in what has been a very consistent season. He has reached the quarter-finals or better at five tournaments, including a semi-final showing in Montpellier (l. to Gasquet). He will look to carry his form into Roland Garros, where he is due to face Paul-Henri Mathieu in the first round.
"We both played pretty well,” reflected Nieminen. “I felt I played my best match of the week, but it wasn't enough today. I had some chances: he was serving for the [first] set and I had 0/30, I lost a 40/15 lead in the first game of the second set and in the last two games I had chances. He was always there to take his chances. Unfortunately, he played really well today.
"It would have been nice to win the whole thing here, but I made a final on clay for the first time in 10 years. That's pretty cool for me. My body feels good going into Paris."