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Friday, June 19, 2009

Becker Fights Back For Final Berth

Benjamin Becker© Getty ImagesBenjamin Becker

Qualifier Benjamin Becker recovered from a slow start to defeat fourth-seeded German compatriot Rainer Schuettler 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 on Friday for a place in the Ordina Open final. Becker hit seven aces, won 64 per cent of service points and converted five of eight break point opportunities for victory in one hour and 44 minutes.

Becker is the second qualifier to reach an ATP World Tour final this season, joining Russian Evgeny Korolev who accomplished the feat at Delray Beach (l. to Fish). It will be his first ATP World Tour final since September 2007 at Bangkok (l. to Tursunov).

Becker, who also beat Schuettler at Halle in three sets last week, is the first German to reach the Ordina Open final since Karsten Braasch finished runner-up in 1994. The World No. 82 is also the third qualifier to reach Ordina Open final. Guillaume Raoux was a finalist in 1997 when the event was held at Rosmalen (l. to Krajicek), and Peter Wessels in 2007 (l. to Ljubicic).

The 27-year-old Becker improved to 7-3 on the 2009 ATP World Tour season (6-1 on grass courts), while 33-year-old Schuettler dropped to 10-17 on the year – highlighted by one semi-final at Chennai. Schuettler saved three match points in a quarter-final win over seventh seed Jeremy Chardy on Thursday.

In Saturday’s final Becker will meet either Dutch wild card Raemon Sluiter – who at World No. 866, would be the lowest-ranked player in history to reach an ATP World Tour final – or 31-year-old Spaniard Ivan Navarro.

The Ordina Open, in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, is an ATP World Tour 250 grass-court tennis tournament.

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