Ljubicic completes Masters title dream

March 22nd, 2010 - 5:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Andy Roddick Indian Wells (California), March 22 (DPA) Ivan Ljubicic fulfilled a career-long dream as he won his first Tennis Masters 1000 title with a 7-6(3), 7-6(5) victory over Andy Roddick Sunday at Indian Wells.
The 26th-ranked Croatian, who turned 31 Friday, played his best and most consistent tennis in years to finally claim a prestigious crown after three losing finals at the Masters level.

“It gives something special to your career. It makes everything look better actually,” Ljubicic said.

“The fact that I won here doesn’t make me a top-five player. I have to be realistic enough and try to steal that seventh or eighth spot from younger guys who might be injured or not fit and not consistent enough. But it’s a long season in front of us, so who knows what it’s gonna bring us.”

Seventh seed Roddick had been bidding to claim the only major US title that he has not won. Ljubicic became the first Croatian to lift the desert trophy.

The winner dominated on serve as he has all week, firing 21 aces in a match lasting just over two hours. Ljubicic carved up Roddick after defeating world number two Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

“I just ran into a guy who served great on the big points,” said Roddick.

“That’s probably the one thing that I don’t have control over out there. I’ve won enough matches that way, getting through it and serving big in breakers. Credit to him. He came up with massive, massive serves when he had to.”

The delighted Croatian surprisingly dedicated his title to a well-known local Italian, whose restaurant is a focal point for players.

The match was completed without any break of serve, with Roddick failing to convert on six chance and Ljubicic missing on three break points.

Ljubicic produced 42 winners. He improved to 10-12 in career finals after lifting his first in the US, following his last trophy in October indoors in Lyon.

Roddick still paces the ATP for most matches won in 2010 with 20, as the tour heads to the Miami Masters starting Tuesday. Ljubicic stands 11-4 on the season.

The Croatian took victory after Roddick saved three match points in the second-set tiebreaker, with Ljubicic firing a concluding ace to end the afternoon.

In the women’s final, Serb Jelena Jankovic won her first title since summer as the sixth seed defeated Danish world number two Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4.

Jankovic last claimed a WTA title in August in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sunday’s victory marked a seventh straight win against an elite player by one-time number one Jankovic, who will move Monday to eighth in the WTA rankings.

The Serbian now stands 12-25 against top-four players.

“I was ready from the start. I really went out there knowing my game plan, what I needed to do,” Jankovic said.

“I wanted to be really aggressive but, at the same time, patient and not really go for too much. I waited for my opportunities, and when I had them, I took them.”

US Open finalist Wozniacki moved to a career-high of number two behind Serena Williams as a result of her showing in the desert.

“Jelena didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Wozniacki said.

“I tried to change when I saw it was not going my way, but I just made a few too many errors at the important points. I couldn’t really get to play the game that I wanted to play. Jelena took advantage of that, and she played a great match.

“It was a strong field, and coming out as a finalist and then becoming number two in the world, tomorrow - that’s still a great feeling.”

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