Almagro beats Volandri to win 3rd Brazil Open
By TALES AZZONI
SAO PAULO (AP) Nicolas Almagro of Spain won the Brazil Open for the third time Sunday, defeating Filippo Volandri of Italy 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
Almargo has won this ATP Tour event more than any other player, his other victories coming last year and in 2008. This was his 11th ATP tour title, all on clay.
Almagro broke Volandri late in the third set to clinch victory in just over two hours at Ibirapuera sporting complex in Sao Paulo. He went to his chair and changed into a shirt with the words "I love Brazil" written on it.
"It was incredible," Almagro said. "It was great to see the stadium packed. We always enjoy the atmosphere here, with the fans pushing us."
The 11th-ranked Almagro played as a wild card because Davis Cup duties initially put his participation in doubt. It was the eighth straight time a Spaniard had made it to the Brazil Open final, with the Spanish player winning six times.
It was the seventh ATP final for the Italian, who was trying to win his third singles title and first since 2006. Volandri has lost five matches in a row to Almagro, who now is 7-3 against the 30-year-old Italian.
Volandri broke in the second game of the match, but Almargo came back with three breaks to take control of the set despite making only 55 percent of his first serves.
Almagro played well in the second set but Volandri saved all five break opportunities he faced, then converted one of two chances to extend the match to a third set. Almagro served nine of his 18 aces in the second set.
Almagro didn't allow a single break point to the 69th-ranked Volandri in the final set, breaking the Italian to close the match. Volandri missed a forehand on the second match point.
Sao Paulo is hosting the event for the first time after 11 editions in the northeast city of Costa do Sauipe. The tournament moved indoors because of rainy weather in Sao Paulo this time of year.
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Updated February 19, 2012