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Ferrero Flies To London Title

Ferrero Safin© Tim EdwardsJuan Carlos Ferrero defeats Marat Safin in London to earn his second ATP Champions Tour title of the year.

Fans at Royal Albert Hall were in for a treat on Sunday when two players who once held the No. 1 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings faced off in the Champions Tennis final.

And while Juan Carlos Ferrero and Marat Safin split their FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings while on the ATP World Tour, it was Ferrero who claimed their first ATP Champions Tour match 6-3, 6-4 and with it the tour’s final title of the season.

“I enjoyed the match playing with Marat. We have been good friends for a long time,” Ferrero said. “It was a great match. I think we’re both in good shape and I enjoyed it so much. We try to have fun in these matches.”

Ferrero’s play was certainly entertaining for everyone watching in London, as the Spaniard imposed his will on serve from the beginning of the match. The 37-year-old broke the powerful Russian at 3-2 and cruised through the rest of the opener, hitting an ace to close it out.

The second set saw more intense rallies from the baseline as Safin raised his level, especially on serve, but Ferrero earned a break at 3-3 and that was the only advantage he would need to claim his second ATP Champions Tour title of the season.

“It was the third day [of play], so it was pretty tough,” Safin said. “Too much running over the past few days and the third one I was just a little bit not at my best and plus Juan Carlos is in good shape, really good shape. He plays every day, he serves really well.”

The London title closed out a terrific year for Ferrero, who not only won two championships himself, but also coached Alexander Zverev to the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time — fittingly enough, in London.

But that was not all that made Ferrero happy after the match. Getting to see all the happy fans around Royal Albert Hall made his efforts plenty worthwhile.

“The principal goal is to have fun and try to entertain the people as well,” Ferrero said. “Winning is not our main goal, it’s just to have fun. It’s amazing here, the whole week. Everything has been perfect.”

Note: Xavier Malisse was forced to withdraw from his third-place match against Fabrice Santoro due to injury. Santoro played Greg Rusedski in an exhibition, which he won 6-3, 7-5.

"It was once again a very good atmosphere and the match was a pretty good level," Santoro said. "Sometimes at the end of the week we get tired but I think Greg and myself played some pretty solid tennis."

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