HEAD racquet rebels Marin Cilic and Richard Gasquet fought all the way into a pair of ATP finals on clay as the French Open buildup enters the critical last three weeks.
In Munich at the BMW Open, Marin Cilic couldn't quite get past home hero Philipp Kohlschreiber as the German earned a 7-6(10-8), 6-3 decision. The Croatian, playing with his YouTek IG Instinct MP, was competing in his first final since winning St. Petersburg last October. On his way to the final, the 24-year old defeated fellow HEAD player Tommy Haas in the semifinals.
Cilic reached the title match with the loss of just one set. He now stands 6-7 in ATP career finals as he finished runner-up for the second time (2010 versus fellow racquet rebel Mikhail Youzhny) in the Bavarian city. "I didn't find a rhythm like I had in the days before," said Cilic. "That had an impact during the match. I had four or five set points in the first set. But I felt the whole time I was trying to catch him. Conditions were pretty heavy, so I needed to find a good balance with everything. I'm happy with the week and going to put this final behind me and look forward to Madrid."
At the Estoril Open on the Portuguese coast, Richard Gasquet made it to the final before he finally lost against Juan Del Potro. It was the second Estoril final for Gasquet, who wields a YouTek IG Extreme Pro, after reaching the title match in 2007. "He played very well. He's very powerful, has a great service, a great forehand and backhand," said the Frenchman. "He's very tall and has a good second serve and was hitting the ball very well. He was the better player today."
Gasquet said that despite his failure to break a two-year ATP title drought, his opening on the clay this season was worth it. "It's good for me to reach a final. It was a good tournament to prepare for the clay season and I take a lot of confidence out of the tournament."