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Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro won his first claycourt title of the year, successfully defending his Estoril Open crown as he defeated Frenchman Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-2 in Sunday's final. The former US Open champion, who was playing his first claycourt tournament after choosing to train at home for the past few weeks, thus became only the third man in the tournament's 20 year history to defend his title. Over in Belgrade, Italian Andreas Seppi captured the second title of his career as he got the better of first-time ATP Tour finalist Benoit Paire rather comfortably with a 6-3, 6-2 scoreline.
Del Potro, who has had a decent start to the 2012 season winning a title in Marseille in addition to reaching the final in Rotterdam (losing to Roger Federer), came into the tournament on the back of some solid training back home in Argentina after helping his country to a Davis Cup win over Croatia and looked comfortable throughout the tournament, not dropping a set along the way.
In the final, the defending champion broke in the very first game of the match and while Gasquet hung in and saved two further break point opportunities, the solitary break was enough as the first set went to the Argentine 6-4. The second set saw Del Potro dominate as he broke thrice, and though he dropped serve once, held on comfortably to wrap up the title with ease. Del Potro thus captured the 11th title of his career and his second of the season. Gasquet had a good week but lost his second final at the venue, after finishing runner-up in 2007 to an up-and-coming Novak Djokovic.
The doubles title was won by the pair of Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Roger who beat Julian Knowle and David Marrero 7-5, 7-5.
Elsewhere in Belgrade, a tournament which lost a considerable amount of sheen following the withdrawal of Novak Djokovic saw Italian Andreas Seppi claim the second title of his career, as he ended the dream run of French World No.96 Benoit Paire in a one-sided final. The Italian broke the Frenchman five times enroute to a 6-3, 6-2 win in 71 minutes. Paire, who had defeated three seeded players enroute to the final and was looking to become the lowest-ranked player to win a tour level title in 2012, faltered on the big stage but will have no doubt gained some big-match experience from this tournament.
In the doubles final, the Israeli duo of Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram won a close final against Martin Emmrich and Andreas Siljestrom, winning 4-6, 6-2, [10-6].
2012 Estoril Open Singles Final:
Juan Martin Del Potro(ARG) defeats (2) Richard Gasquet(FRA) 6-4, 6-2
2012 Belgrade Open Singles Final:
Andreas Seppi(ITA) defeats Benoit Paire(FRA) 6-3, 6-2
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