MONTPELLIER: Frenchman Richard Gasquet beat compatriot Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-3 on Sunday in the Open Sud de France final to win his second title this season.
“It’s fabulous to win two titles in a season, especially so early,” Gasquet told Canal Plus television.
“I’m very motivated for the remainder of the season. I hope I’ll win some more titles this season.”
Gasquet broke Paire twice for a 5-2 lead and took the opening set when a backhand return from Paire sailed wide.
The third-seeded Frenchman dropped serve once in the second set, but broke Paire three times. He clinched victory when Paire netted a backhand.
It is Gasquet’s ninth career singles title. He also won the Qatar Open in January.
“I knew I could rely on my experience. He was playing his first final in France, it’s always a tricky situation,” Gasquet said.
Paire was appearing in only his second final on the main tour. He was a runner-up in Belgrade last year, losing in straight sets to Andreas Seppi of Italy.
Nadal moves into final
Rafael Nadal looked sharp on Saturday as he booked a finals berth in an ATP South American clay court tournament, his first event back from a seven-month injury absence.
Nadal, seeded number one as a wildcard in the $410,200 tournament, needed just 64 minutes to defeat third-seeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-2.
Nadal, eager to get in as many matches as possible, is also slated to contest the doubles final.
“I’m really happy with what I’ve been doing this week,” he said.
“I have a good feeling on the court. So I cannot ask for anything more. I will try to play better and better every day.”
Former world number one Nadal, currently ranked fifth, raced to a 4-0 lead before Chardy was finally able to hold serve.
Nadal closed out the opening set after little more than half an hour, pulling Chardy wide with a deep ball to the corner then blasting an overhead winner into the open court to end the rally on set point.
He broke Chardy at love in the third game of the second set to gain the upper hand, then saved three break points in the sixth game to maintain his advantage.
He broke Chardy for a 5-2 lead and took the contest with an ace on his second match point to book a title clash with Argentinian Horacio Zeballos.
Zeballos, ranked 73rd in the world, reached the second ATP final of his career with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) victory over eighth-seeded compatriot Carlos Berlocq.
Zeballos has beaten three straight seeded opponents en route to the title match, which will be his first appearance in a final since he was runner-up at St Petersburg in 2009.
Nadal and Zeballos have met once before.