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Enqvist Squeezes Past Santoro To Take Inaugural Rio Title

Rio, Brazil

Enqvist© Getty Images

Thomas Enqvist won the inaugural Raizen Grand Champions Rio title with a thrilling 6-3, 4-6, 10-7 win in the final over Fabrice Santoro.

It continued the record of Enqvist against Santoro - he had won all three of their clashes on the ATP World Tour during their careers.

Enqvist started powerfully, knocking Santoro out of his rhythm with the precision and venom of his groundstrokes. Santoro fought back in the second, his mixture of spins and differently paced shots causing problems for his Swedish opponent.

In the Champions Tie-Break it was close throughout but Enqvist finally managed to subdue Santoro to lift the title.

"It's been a great week," said Enqvist. "I know I speak for all of the players when I say it's been a fantastic event and Rio is such an amazing city. The whole week has been a lot of fun and the final was too. Fabrice is such an unbelievably talented player and he plays a game that no one else does. He comes up with the most amazing shots and can do anything with the tennis ball so it's fun to play him even though its really difficult. Of course I want to win and but it's also about having fun - yesterday I got to play against Mats, my childhood hero and today winning the tournament was great too."

Santoro enjoyed the match despite the loss, but is determined to get a first win against Enqvist in the fuure.

"We haven't played for a long time and he beat me again!" said Santoro. "I've never beaten him on the main tour or the ATP Champions Tour. He's younger and fit, strong and powerful... But I will win next time!"

Overall, the Frenchman has relished the opportunities he has had to play on the ATP Champions Tour in 2012.

"I've played 4 tournaments on the tour this year, made three finals, and it's great fun to be on court against my old opponents," said Santoro. "I've enjoyed all of the tournaments I've played this year and hopefully I will play a couple more next year."

For more about the Raizen Grand Champions Rio, go to the tournament website.

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