Although he never reached the Top 20, Julien Benneteau  in my opinion deserves to win an ATP title. The Frenchman has beaten in the last few years Federer, Tsonga and Ferrer, he played equal matches against Djokovic, Murray and Nadal during that time. Unfortunately for him after Sydney, he joins three players who lost the most finals haven’t won any. Jarkko Nieminen , who got the title, was very hungry too. He waited six years for his second title, in the meantime – like his final opponent – lost five straight finals. Nieminen becomes the first qualifier to win an ATP tournament since Sergiy Stakhovsky (St. Petersburg 2009). The final was delayed one day due to heavy rain. “I don’t have a good record in finals, but I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong in the ones I’ve played” concluded the Finnish veteran.
Just like a year ago, the top-seeded David Ferrer was a main favorite to get the title in Auckland and he did it in a convincing style winning four required matches. The same number of matches won an unseded beaten finalist Olivier Rochus, who delivered the most entertaining encounters throughout the week. The shortest player on the tour won three marathons in a row (Belucci – 3:12; Paire 2:29 & Kohlschreiber – 2:28). Ferrer, who collected his 12th title, triumphed in New Zealand for the third time, his initial victory comes from 2007, when the tournament consisted of 32-draw (28-draw since 2009).
S: (q)Jarkko Nieminen d. Julien Benneteau 6-2, 7-5
D: (1)B.Bryan/M.Bryan d. M.Ebden/J.Nieminen 6-1, 6-4
S: (1)David Ferrer d. Olivier Rochus 6-3, 6-4
D: (1)O.Marach/A.Peya d. (3)F.Cermak/F.Polasek 6-3, 6-2
Choker of the week:
Thomaz Bellucci in Auckland. He was two points away on 3 different occasions to win the 1st set against Olivier Rochus, and led 4:2 in the 3rd set to lose 6-7, 7-5, 6-7 in 3 hours 12 minutes. He is now 2-7 in the deciding 3rd set tie-break (the main level) – the worst ratio among the regular ATP players… there was an interesting match in doubles (Sydney). The doubles legends Nestor and Mirnyi won first 8 games against an experimental pair Ebden/Nieminen to lose at the end 6-0, 4-6, [4-10]!
# The most losing finals without a title:
6 – Pierre Barthes (1969-72), Steve Denton (1981-84), Lawson Duncan (1985-90) & Julien Benneteau (2008-12); 5 – Georges Goven (1970-75), Carlos Kirmayr (1976-82), Martin Damm (1996-98), Daniel Vacek (1994-99)
* Barthes and Goven began their careers in the pre-Open era, they aren’t titless considering this period of the history of tennis
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