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Santoro's First Trip To Mexico Ends With Title In Monterrey

Santoro© Abierto GNP SegurosFabrice Santoro won the Abierto GNP Seguros trophy with a victory over Goran Ivanisevic in the final.

Fabrice Santoro’s first trip to Mexico has been a memorable one.

And after a fun weekend of ATP Champions Tour tennis in Monterrey, Santoro capped it off by winning the Abierto GNP Seguros with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic in the final.

“It is always difficult to play with Goran because he serves so well and the court here in Monterrey is very fast,” Santoro said. “He plays with his strokes and I play with mine and in the end the opposition is great and I think this produces a good match to watch.”

It certainly was a thrilling final, with a massive momentum swing at the end of the first set that turned the match in Santoro’s favour. After the big left-hander stepped to the baseline to serve for the opening set, the Frenchman won three straight games, including two breaks, to gain the advantage. From there, he would not look back, going on to claim the trophy in Monterrey.

“It was a very good first set,” Santoro said. “Goran should have won it as he was serving for the set and had two or three set points, and I was lucky.”

Santoro used that opening to his advantage, beginning to lengthen points and maneuver the Croatian around the court, which made Ivanisevic more uncomfortable and led to an increase in unforced errors, which allowed the former World No. 17 to clinch the title in 69 minutes.

Before the final, Greg Rusedski and Thomas Muster took the court to battle for third place in an all left-hander duel, with Great Britain’s Rusedski cruising, 6-1, 6-2.

Muster, a former World No. 1, struggled to control the ball in sweltering 30-degree heat and was never able to find a rhythm on Rusedski’s serve, failing to convert on all five of his break opportunities.

“It was warm, probably the hottest I’ve played in since I can’t remember when, but conditions were really fast today,” said Rusedski, who will play in the final ATP Champions Tour event of the season in London from 29 November to 3 December. “It’s always great fun to play Thomas, especially out here. Crowds have been good, and weather has been great, so it’s been a really fun event.”

Despite rain washing out the opening day of play, all the players and fans loved the event, with Santoro echoing a common sentiment.

“Everything was perfect, since the first minute I landed here,” Santoro said. “The treatment of the players is fantastic and I wish I could stay longer here to enjoy a few days holiday, but I have to go home to work in Paris for TV. But hope to be back next year.”

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