Monaco claims Dusseldorf title
Juan Monaco claimed his eighth career title and first of the season as the Argentine tuned up for the French Open with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Finland's Jarkko Niemimen on Saturday to win the inaugural PowerHorse Cup.
Nieminen was defeated in 69 minutes, meaning he has collected just two titles from 13 career finals. He played his last final at Sydney in January 2012, where he won the trophy.
Monaco was well at home on the clay of the Rochusclub, where he competed for Argentina in the 2009-2011 editions of the former World Team Cup. Nieminen had trained several times at the venue but was playing at the site for the first time.
The 19th-ranked Monaco won as he played his 17th career final (8-9) and becomes the third Argentine winner this season on the ATP following Horacio Zeballos and Juan Del Potro.
The 29-year-old wild card broke his opponent three times and at one point swept five straight games to lead by a set and 2-0.
Nieminen was never able to turn the momentum in his favour as temperatures warmed up to tolerable for the first time this week, hitting 15 degrees Celsius.
Monaco is no fan of the chill currently gripping much of Western Europe.
"I played the coldest match of my life here this week," said the Argentine, now 14-11 on the season.
"Today was the best match of tournament for me. I had great form from start to finish and I served pretty well. I'm happy with the way I played today. It is good preparation for Roland Garros (starting on Sunday).
"Today was perfect, it all came together for me."
Nieminen said that his game was not up to the challenge in the title match.
"It was not enough today, I came to the court knowing he's tough to beat on clay," said Nieminen.
"I had chances in many games but you have to play good shot after good shot. He was the better player today."