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Monday, November 2, 2009

Ljubicic wins first title since 2007 at Lyon Grand Prix

LYON, France (AP)—Third-seeded Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia won his first title in more than two years by beating Michael Llodra of France 7-5, 6-3 in Sunday’s Lyon Grand Prix final.

The 30-year-old Ljubicic’s previous title came at the Ordina Open in June 2007.

Ljubicic, who won the first of his nine ATP titles in Lyon in 2001, served seven aces and broke his French opponent three times on his way to winning in 1 hour, 36 minutes.

“I have been struggling with injuries recently and I will enjoy this title as much as I can,” said Ljubicic, who was the only non-French player in the quarterfinals.

“It’s a special place for me,” he said. “I won my first title here in 2001 and here is my first title as a father. It’s my son’s first birthday in four days and it’s the best present I could offer to him.”

Llodra, who had won their previous meeting in Halle last year, saved two break points in the sixth game of the first set. The left-handed Frenchman began to read his opponent’s serve, but still failed to convert break chances in the ninth and 11th games.

Trailing 6-5, Llodra sent a forehand in the net to give up two break points. Ljubicic converted the first when Llodra volleyed wide.

Llodra broke in the first game of the second set with a forehand return down the line, and won his next game serve at love.

The 29-year-old Llodra, one of the few serve-volleyers in the men’s game, soon let Ljubicic level at 2-2 after missing two easy volleys.

Ljubicic kept up the pressure and went ahead 4-2 with another passing shot, before closing out the match at love on serve.

“I was tired a bit following my semifinal win over Gilles Simon,” Llodra said. “I had less power in my arm.”

Ljubicic is the third player over 30 years old to win a title this season

“I recently played with Ivan in doubles and I called him a grandad,” Llodra said. “And today the grandad won.”

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