Ferrer tops Nishikori in final


Kei Nishikori was denied his second ATP Tour title of the season after falling to Spaniard David Ferrer in the final of the Mexico Open on Saturday.

No. 2 seed Ferrer, who is ranked ninth in the world, beat the top-seeded Nishikori 6-3, 7-5, needing a little less than two hours to finish off the world No. 5.

“I tried my best to regroup but I had too many mistakes today,” said Nishikori. “My serves weren’t good. I wanted to be a little more focused to play my game but I couldn’t.”

Ferrer won 60 percent of his second return points compared with 46 percent for Nishikori, who struggled with his service game and was broken four times in the second set.

Nishikori, who had beaten Ferrer five times in a row, was done in by the 40 unforced errors he committed in the contest.

Nishikori, who was aiming for his ninth career win on the tour, has secured the world No. 4 in the rankings being released Monday.

Federer triumphs again


Defending champion Roger Federer won his seventh Dubai Championships title and second of the year in defeating top-ranked Novak Djokovic 6-3, 7-5 on Saturday.

This marked the seventh consecutive year — 11th time in 13 years — that Federer or Djokovic won this title.

The only other tournaments Federer has won seven times are Wimbledon and Halle, Germany, both on grass.

“Ever since I won here the first time, I fell in love with the tournament,” Federer said. “The seventh is quite unbelievable. It sounds pretty crazy to me.”

Federer, who has 84 career titles, won in Brisbane, Australia, in January.

“He deserved it,” Djokovic said. “I expected that from him.

“I knew he was going to chip and charge, come to the net, serve and volley.”

The 5,000-seat stadium was sold out, but many more people were standing around at the top. They were treated to a high-caliber match.

Federer needed five more aces to become just the fourth player since 1991 to serve 9,000 career aces. He served 12 in the final.

He joined Goran Ivanisevic (10,183), Ivo Karlovic (9,375), and Andy Roddick (9,074) in cracking the 9,000 aces mark.

“I even remember which one it was because I was counting them,” Federer said. “It was one of the swinger wides.”

Federer saved all seven break points he faced, while Djokovic lost both break points he faced.

Djokovic sailed a backhand long on break point in the eighth game of the first set.

In the second set, Djokovic had a 40-0 lead in the 11th game, but watched Federer rebound to break his serve with an inside-out forehand crosscourt winner.

“The first set belonged to me, but the second set belonged to him more, really,” Federer said. “It was a huge game at 5-all, 40-love for him.

“I crawled my way back into that game and ended up breaking him,” Federer added. “That was big but the break points I saved were even bigger.”

Nadal downs Berlocq


Rafael Nadal beat Carlos Berlocq 7-6 (9-7), 6-2 on Saturday, setting up a final against Juan Monaco at the Argentina Open.

If he wins Sunday, Nadal will tie Guillermo Vilas for the most clay-court titles with 46.

The top-seeded Nadal was on the brink of losing the first set against the 74th-ranked Berlocq, falling 6-1 to the Argentine in the tiebreaker, but the Spaniard won eight of the next nine points to make his first final since winning the Roland Garros title almost nine months ago.

Monaco, seeking his second title at the Argentina Open, edged Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4 in 2 hours, 28 minutes.

Safarova reigns in Qatar

Doha AP

Fed Cup winner Lucie Safarova beat Victoria Azarenka in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3 to clinch the Qatar Open on Saturday.

It was her sixth career title and first since Quebec City in 2013 as well as her first at the Premier-level.

“It’s an amazing feeling. I’m really excited and I’ve been working towards this for a long time. I’m happy at the way season has progressed,” said Safarova.