Llodra bests Benneteau in Marseilles final to snap season's lean run

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The Independent Online

Unseeded Michael Llodra won his fourth career title when he beat eighth-seeded Julien Benneteau 6-3, 6-4 in an all-French final at the Open 13 yesterday.

The 29-year-old Llodra was playing in his eighth final and took his first since beating Robin Soderling at Rotterdam two years ago.

Llodra was runnerup to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in last year's Open 13 final and beat Soderling in the quarterfinals this time.

"It's unbelievable to finally win a final in France after losing here and in Lyon last year," Llodra said. "The conditions in Marseille are great for my game. I served very well and was solid throughout the whole match."

Benneteau, playing for his first ATP title lost in his fourth career final, following defeats at Kitzbuhel and Casablanca on clay and at Lyon's indoor tournament.

"Today Mika was playing very well. You need to play an exceptional match if you want to beat him," Benneteau said. "He was serving very well, using different angles and different speeds. And even if I returned well, he answered with great volleys."

Benneteau looked tired after his nearly three-hour marathon semifinal against Tsonga, losing his serve once in each set and failing to create a single break chance Llodra's serve.

"I was a bit tired mentally," Benneteau said.

Llodra had 14 aces to Benneteau's six.

Llodra and Benneteau, seeded second, then won the doubles final later Sunday, beating the top-seeded pairing of Julian Knowle of Austria and Robert Lindstedt of Sweden 6-4, 6-3.