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World No. 11 Nicolas Almagro defeated Filippo Volandri 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in Sao Paulo Sunday to repeat as champion at the Brasil Open 2012. “This was not my best match here in Brazil, as I was tense and nervous,” admitted Almagro. “But once again, I had control of my emotions, which is what I have always demanded, controlling the important moments. I think it’s good to win a tournament and be able to think that I can still play a little better.”

The top seed fired 18 aces, winning 88 per cent of his first serve points. On his first match point, Almagro converted his fourth break of serve against the Italian to clinch the crown in two hours and two minutes. The Spaniard improved to a 7-3 record against Volandri, winning his fifth match in a row over the 30 year old. “I am happy. I am on a cloud, winning a tournament three times, and twice in a row,” said Almagro. “It’s hard. I got here and all I want is to continue working to keep improving in my career.”

Almagro is the first wild card to win an ATP World Tour event since American Ryan Sweeting captured the US Men’s Clay Court Championship trophy in Houston last year. All 11 of Almagro’s career titles have come on clay courts, and the victory marked his third triumph at the ATP World Tour 250 event, with successes in 2011 and 2008. When asked to select which one of the three stood out, Almagro said, “It is a hard question. I think all titles are equally important in your career. In 2008, it was an amazing tournament. I managed to beat Carlos Moya in a tough final. Then last year, it was the beginning of a run that I really could not have dreamed. I won in Brazil, I won Buenos Aires, and I was very close to winning Acapulco.

“It is always difficult to win two years in a row and this year was just as hard, because it was my third crown. Every title has a great place in my heart and is very difficult to choose one. I take all three and I hope that next year will be four.”

Volandri was looking to end a title drought dating back to his win in Palmero six years ago. “I think I played another very good match today,” said Volandri. “I tried my best and fought a lot. I think in the third set, I was playing better than him but he was serving unbelievable.

“This result is more than what I was expecting this week. It gives me a lot of confidence to keep on pushing through. If I am consistent, I can play with all the players, especially on clay.”

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