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Ljubicic ends four-year title drought
Eric Salliot | October 10, 2005 13:11 IST
Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic beat local favourite Gael Monfils 7-6, 6-0 in the Metz Open final on Sunday to clinch his first ATP title in four years.
The towering Ljubicic, whose last tour success came in Lyon in 2001, stepped up a gear after a tight first set, relying on his trademark booming serves to take control.
Third seed Ljubicic, who will be one of Croatia's trump cards in their Davis Cup final against Slovakia in December, was playing his fifth final of the season.
"Having lost four finals, it's a great feeling to win one," smiled the Croatian.
"I was nervous at first because I knew I was the favourite and I had a great opportunity. This will give me great confidence for the rest of the season.
Ljubicic, the world number 16, showed determination by saving a set point in the opening set before edging the tiebreak 9-7.
The second set was a one-sided affair, Ljubicic breezing through without dropping a game in just 26 minutes.
The 19-year-old Monfils, the former junior number one, failed to claim the second title of his career after winning in August in Sopot, Poland.
The powerful Frenchman held his nerve at first but collapsed after losing the first set.
"Maybe he wanted victory more than I did," said Monfils. "I didn't take enough risks and I did not serve well enough."My legs were hurting. Physically, I'm not as strong as the top guys who manage to stay fit week after week. That's something I have to work on."