RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — David Ferrer won his second tournament of the season and the 23rd ATP singles title of his career, beating Fabio Fognini on Sunday 6-2, 6-3 in the final of the Rio Open.
Ferrer has won all eight matches he has played against Fognini, including the previous one — the final on clay last year in Buenos Aires.
Ferrer of Spain was seeded No. 2 in the clay-court tournament behind countryman Rafael Nadal.
He called this his “best match of the tournament” and said he was adjusting to his new coach Francisco Fogues after a so-so 2014 season.
“It was not easy to adjust,” said 32-year-old Ferrer, who is off to the best start of his career. “This year I have recovered this relaxed feeling with the new coach.”
Ferrer also won the Qatar Open in Doha, but brushed of thinking ahead to the French Open.
“From this moment forward I am only thinking about playing next week in Acapulco on hard courts,” Ferrer said. “I don’t think much farther ahead than just enjoying this victory.”
Fognini upset top-seeded Nadal in Saturday’s semifinal 1-6, 6-2, 7-5. The loss ended Nadal’s 52-match winning string in semifinals on clay. Nadal, dubbed “The King of Clay” and the winner of 14 Grand Slams, has yet to reach the final in three tournaments this season.
Fognini said the tournament heat and beating Nadal took a toll.
“I’m a little sad I didn’t play as well as I wanted,” he said. “But to beat David under the best conditions is very tough. Imagine under these conditions.”
In the women’s final, top-seeded Sara Errani of Italy defeated Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia 7-6 (2), 6-1. It was Errani’s eighth WTA singles title and her first since winning two years ago in Acapulco, Mexico.
The victory also moves Errani up to No. 12 in the WTA ranking, ever closer to returning to the top 10.
“I’m close, but that’s not my objective,” she said. “The most important thing for me is to practice well, do things right and improve. And I think when you do things the right way, other things follow.”
Errani could be back in Rio twice next year — for this tournament and the Olympics. She and partner Roberta Vinci lost to the Williams sisters in the quarterfinals of the London Olympics.
One drawback for Errani: Rio’s Olympic tennis will be on hard courts, not clay.
“It’s a shame they won’t be on clay,” she said. “I was hoping they would be.”
No. 6 Schmiedlova was playing in her first final.