Acapulco: Spaniard David Ferrer justified his top seeding on Saturday as he retained his ATP title in a thrilling three set win over compatriot Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (2/7), 6-2.
Argentinian journeywoman Gisela Dulko won the WTA crown beating Arantxa Parra of Spain 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) in 1hr 44min which served as an appetising sideshow to the men’s marathon.
Ferrer, ranked six in the world, maintained his perfect record against Almagro in triumphing in 2hr 41min of enthralling tennis to make it six wins from six over his 25-year-old opponent, winner here in 2008 and 2009 and a nine-time champion on the circuit.
For Ferrer, 28, it was his 11th career title and follows up on his victory earlier this year in Auckland and thwarted Almagro’s dreams of becoming the first player to win three of the ‘Golden Swing’ tournaments on clay in Latin America having taken the titles in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil, and Buenos Aires prior to this one.
Ferrer had to display all his fighting qualities in the first set as Almagro led 5-2 and was serving for the set, but several unforced errors allowed the elder Spaniard to break and played some irresistible stuff to take it on the tiebreak.
Almagro, though, didn’t run up the white flag and back he came to easily win the second set tie-break and level the match, but his legs ran out of gas in the third and final set.
“I didn’t think I could win here twice in a row,” said Ferrer, who aside from his two tournament wins also eliminated an injured Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open quarter-finals.
“It has dawned on me that I am enjoying the best start to a season of my career.
“I hope I can continue like this for the rest of the year. Nicolas fought a good fight and I think he got weary towards the end because he paid for his efforts in his two prior tournament wins - but there is no doubt that in this form he should break into the top 10 (Almagro is presently ranked 13th).”
Dulko, ranked 73 in the world and seeded four here, looked to be cruising to her fourth career title at the age of 26 as she led 5-1 in the second set.
However, Parra showed great resilience to break the Argentinian’s service twice and force a tie-break which saw her fall behind 3-0 only to come back to 3-3 and even then she went on to save two match points before finally Dulko closed out the match with her third.