Almagro tops Baker to win second straight Nice crown|
Nice, France (Sports Network) - Spain's Nicolas Almagro captured the Nice Open
for a second straight year with a straight-set win over American Brian Baker
in Saturday's final.
The third-seeded Almagro needed just 70 minutes in a 6-3, 6-2 victory, earning
his 12th career title and second of 2012. He also won on the Sao Paulo clay
back in February and will head to the French Open next week with some
However, last year's title in Nice didn't do much for Almagro in Paris, as he
lost to Lukasz Kubot in the first round. He will open his stay at Roland
Garros this year against Paolo Lorenzi.
Almagro opened an advantage Saturday by winning the final three games of the
first set, then broke Baker twice in the second.
"Today, was one of those matches you want to keep in your mind for the rest of
the season because I couldn't have played much better," noted Almagro. "Today
was amazing. I am happy with my form, my tennis and my team. We will aim to
keep working hard, so I play, in future, as I did today."
The loss ended Baker's unlikely run to his first career ATP World Tour final.
"It was a great week," said Baker, who earned his spot in the main draw as a
qualifier. "Every time you go onto court you want to win. I am a competitor, I
hate losing. But, when you look at the week as a whole, it has been an
unbelievable week. I hoped to qualify at the start of the week and win a match
or two before going to Roland Garros. Obviously, I did much better than that."
Ranked 216th in the world, Baker is trying to come back from numerous injuries
that derailed a once-promising career in the mid-2000s. He was sidelined for
nearly six years, returning to competitive tennis last July after undergoing
elbow reconstruction and three hip surgeries, to go along with a sports hernia
"[Baker] lost the final today, but he is back, he is playing very good," added
Almagro. "I think if he plays as he did this week, then he will win many, many
Baker was given a wild card entry into the French Open and will meet Belgian
veteran Xavier Malisse in the first round.
Almagro, who improved to 12-5 all-time in title matches, earned a first prize
05/26 12:41:54 ET