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Monaco in the hunt for London

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Originally published on: 04/10/12 00:00

Before last week not many would have predicted Juan Monaco to be in the hunt for a place at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. With a hard-court record of 65-80 and a record of 175-96 on clay, it was clear to see where the Argentine’s best work was produced. But with victories over Jimmy Wang, Vasek Pospisil, Kei Nishikori and Julien Benneteau in Kuala Lumpur, Monaco has begun to shed the tag of clay-court specialist.

The win in Malaysia was the seventh title of the 28-year-old’s career but his first on a surface other than clay.

“It has been nice to be in this city and win the trophy,” said Monaco, who overcame Benneteau in a tight three-set encounter in the final. “It feels very good. When I win a title I think of my family and my team, as they believe in me, they have supported me and we have worked hard to win tournaments.”

The Tandil-native, who sits at No.11 in the race for London, is 580 points behind Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who currently occupies the eighth and last qualifying place, but with five weeks of competition to go – including two Masters 1000 tournaments – it’s still all to play for.

Monaco will now face Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus for a place in the quarter-finals of the Japan Open after the Argentine comfortably saw off Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-1 in the first round.

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