Andujar wins Grand Prix Hassan II final
Pablo Andujar of Spain won his first career title after beating Potito Starace of Italy 6-1, 6-2 in the Grand Prix Hassan II final on Sunday.
Andujar broke the fifth-seeded Starace's serve twice in each set and saved the only two breakpoints he faced, continuing his fine form the day after knocking out his top-seeded fellow countryman Albert Montanes in the semifinals.
''I was very confident before the match,'' Andujar said. ''I thought about winning and yesterday's win gave me a lot of confidence. I played in a way that made him tired, being very aggressive and making him run a lot.''
The 25-year-old Andujar lost his only previous final, last year at Bucharest, Romania, and also on outdoor clay.
''I didn't expect this title and it comes as a surprise for me,'' Andujar said. ''The conditions are close to the ones in Europe and it's only a two-hour flight from Valencia. This is a very good tournament to start the clay season.''
The 29-year-old Starace, who had a grueling semifinal Saturday against No. 8 Victor Hanescu of Romania that went to a tiebreaker in the third set, has now lost all four career finals.
Those final losses came last year at Umag, Croatia, and at Kitzbuhel, Austria, and Valencia, Spain, in 2007.
Starace admitted he was totally outplayed.
''He was too aggressive and didn't give me one chance, so congratulations to him,'' Starace said. ''He was playing a very high level.''