Tennis: Berasategui's title triumph over Courier

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

ALBERTO BERASATEGUI, of Spain, a rising clay-court specialist, upset Jim Courier, the former world No 1, to win the Nice Open tournament yesterday with an impressive straight-sets victory. The unseeded Berasategui, 20, who had knocked out the top seed, Stefan Edberg, in the quarter-finals, overpowered the second seed Courier to win 6-4, 6-2 after an hour and 37 minutes.

The Spaniard, ranked 34th in the world, broke Courier to take a 3-2 lead and then stayed in control, underlining his mental strength by saving two break points at 5-4 before wrapping up the first set. Berasategui, who had to struggle for three sets to move past the Czech Slava Dosedel in a rain-delayed semi-final only a couple of hours before the final, opened up a 3-0 lead in the second set.

Courier, who needed just over an hour to beat the Swiss, Marc Rosset, in straight sets in his semi-final in the morning, managed to break Berasategui's serve in the next game. But Berasategui showed no signs of weakness and went on to record the second major win of his career after Sao Paulo last year.

Both finalists will now travel a few kilometres along the French Riviera for the lucrative Monte Carlo Open, which starts on Monday. Berasategui would love to follow the example of his compatriot Sergi Bruguera, who won in the principality last year before taking the French Open title six weeks later.

'This has been the greatest week in my life as far as tennis is concerned,' Berasategui said.