>> Saturday, April 14, 2012
Two Spanish players reached the finals of the 2012 Grand Prix Hassan II tennis tournament in Casablanca, Morocco. Third-seeded defending champion Pablo Andujar reached his second consecutive final in Morocco by beating Flavio Cipolla 6-3, 7-5. He will face fellow Spaniard, the seventh-seed Albert Ramos who defeated Igor Andreev 6-3, 7-6(7) to reach his first ATP World Tour final.
World #52 Ramos won all his matches this week in straight sets. He was a 62 63 winner over fellow Spaniard Pere Riba in the first round. He beat Victor Hanescu of Romania 62 64 in the second round. In the quarterfinals, Ramos downed Jeremy Chardy of France 63 64. His semifinal against Andreev was his toughest match to date.
Andujar had a first round bye before beating last year’s finalist Potito Starace of Italy 63 60 in the secondround. He lost his first set of the tournament before regrouping to down fellow Spaniard Sergio Gutierrez-Ferrol 64 16 63 in the quarterfinals. His win over Cipolla allowed him to reach his fifth ATP tour final, all in clay.
Andujar has met Ramos twice before, winning both encounters. They last met last month in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. Ramos reached the semifinals in Sao Paulo and the quarterfinals in Doha this year. He holds a 14-9 record going to the finals. Andujar reached the quarterfinals at Acapulco and has an 8-8 win-loss record for the year. The only clay court meeting between Andujar and Ramos was in Kitzbühel, Austria last year with Andujar prevailing 62 61.
The Grand Prix Hassan II tennis tournament which started in 1986 is entirely funded by Morocco's King Mohammed VI. It is currently the only ATP World Tour stop on the African continent. Two Moroccans have won the title in their home country: Hicham Arazi in 1997 and Younes El Aynaoui in 2002.
Name: Grand Prix Hassan II
Category: ATP World Tour 250
Place: Casablanca, Morocco
Draw Size: S-28 D-16
Prize Money: € 398,250
Top Four Players to watch at the 2012 Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco
1. Top seed will be world #20 Florian Mayer of Austria. Meyer has a 70-59 career record on clay courts, and his making his fourth appearance in Casablanca. He has not had much success reaching the second round twice in 2005-06.
2. World #22 Alexandr Dolgopolov is seeded second and is making his second main draw appearance in Casablanca. He earlier reached a tour final in January at Brisbane where he lost to world #4 Andy Murray.
3. Pablo Andujar is this year’s third seed. He is the defending champion in Casablanca having beating fifth-seeded Potito Starace of Italy to win the 2011 title in straight sets 61 62.
4. Clay court specialist Albert Montanes of Spain had some success in Casablanca. He reached the finals in 2007 before losing to Henry Mathieu of France. Last year, he lost to eventual champion Andujar in the semifinal round.
Watch the 2012 Grand Prix Hassan II finals live online between Pablo Andujar vs Albert Ramos from Casablanca, Morocco. Live online video stream will be available through TennisTv.com.