hamburg99rios_zabaleta

Points won by each set: | 43-44, 41-37, 40-43, 47-38, 29-17 |
Points won directly behind the serve:
17 % Rios – 32 of 182
21 % Zabaleta – 43 of 197

It could have been the most amazing Masters 1K final if Zabaleta had kept his surprisingly good level in the 5th set, but he lost it at 2-all. The Argentine was two points away from losing the opener, and three points from losing the 3rd set when Rios was serving at 5:4; Rios was five points from losing the 2nd set (Zabaleta’s game point at 5-all) and he saved a match point at *5:6 in the 4th set as Zabaleta made a forehand error. Zabaleta saved three match points in the last game, but on the fourth MP his forehand went long and Rios could celebrate. “Marcelo won with the experience of many good finals,” Zabaleta said. “I played a good match and it’s been the greatest week of my career.” “He is young but he is very good,” Rios said of Zabaleta. Diagnosed with a stress fracture to the lower left side of his lumbar spine, Rios had to miss the Australian Open and two others tournaments at the start of the year. This was only his seventh tournament of the year. “To win a big tournament and feel no pain in the back, that’s great,” said Rios. He held the No. 1 ranking for six weeks last year in a season curtailed by injuries. He started the week ranked No. 8. Zabaleta began the week ranked No. 48 and cracked the top 25. Two weeks later they play another final (St. Polten), unfortunately at 4-all Zabaleta is forced to retire.

Rios’ route to his 13th title (his 5th & last Mercedes Super 9):
2 Oliver Gross 7-6(6), 7-5
3 Wayne Ferreira 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
Q Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-4
S Carlos Moya 6-4, 7-6(4)
W Mariano Zabaleta 6-7(5), 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-2 – 1 m.p.

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