Ferrero, Almagro add to Spanish rule
Originally published on: 02/08/10 13:11
With the majority of players in America gearing up for the summer hard court season, Spaniard’s Juan Carlos and Nicolas Almagro – the finer exponents of the clay court game – dusted off the post-Wimbledon clay court swing with titles this weekend.
Ferrero shook off a knee injury to defeat Potito Starace 6-4 6-4, claiming the gargantuan blue trophy at the Croatia Open without facing a break point.
“I had a bit of pain in my knee but I kept motivated and it was great to come through,” said the 30-year-old tour veteran after adding a third clay triumph to his victories in Costa do Sauipe and Buenos Aires in February.
“It was the fourth final I’ve played this year and I’ve won three tournaments so it’s a great feeling.”
Fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro was also in fine fettle on the red stuff, defeating Frenchman Richard Gasquet 7-5 6-1 for his seventh career title on clay at the Allianz Suisse Open in Gstaad.
“I played my best tennis today. I returned well and served amazingly,” enthused the delighted world No.18 after claiming his second title in three weeks.
Given his recent hot-streak, it’s difficult to believe that Almagro endured a 17-month wait for a title before his win over Robin Soderling in Bastad at the end of July. But following his recent surge of form, the 22-year-old revealed that his goal for the remainder of the season was “to get to the top 10 and stay there.”
Gasquet, who reached a career high ranking of No.7 in 2007, admitted that shoulder problems affected his serving en route to defeat.
“It wasn’t easy from the beginning of the week,” said the world No.40. “I just started serving on the Friday before the tournament because I had problems with my shoulder.
But having won in Gstaad in 2006, the 24-year-old Frenchman used his determination to carry him through to his third final of the year.
“I tried to fight and focus well all week and thanks to that I made it to another final here,” said Gasquet. “It’s still a good week for me. This is a very beautiful tournament and it’s always a pleasure to come here.
“Now I will try to be back in form as soon as possible and get ready for the hardcourt swing in the US.”