Grand Prix Hassan II: Robredo defeats Anderson in epic final
Spain's Tommy Robredo defeated on Sunday South Africa's Kevin Anderson 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 6-3 in the final of the Grand Prix Hassan II as Moroccan players failed to pass the first round hurdle.
Robredo, who missed five months of last year’s season with a leg injury and saw his ranking nosedive to 471, ended a two-year trophy drought when he captured his 10th claycourt title by beating Anderson in an epic final in Casablanca
The 30-year-old saw climbed 29 places in the ATP world ranking to 43 while Anderson moved three places to 26.
"I'm very happy to win a title again after my injury," said Robredo as his last title dates back to February 2011 on clay in Santiago, thanking the crowd for his support.
He said that his goal was to arrive in Roland Garros in the best form possible.
Anderson was in control of the game as he broke Robredo’s first service game, but failed to hold on to the 4-2 lead and hence lost a tight tie-break.
He managed to win the second set 6-4 but succumbed to Robredo’s resilience in the last set.
"I thought I was in control of the match. I had a lot of chances in the first set," said Anderson.
"But there are a lot of positives, which is the main thing I got to look at, as disappointing as it was not to have won it. It's a good start for me on clay. There are still a lot of tournaments," the giant South African added. Moroccan players fail to shine
Moroccan players Mehdi Ziadi and Younes Rachidi, who were both given wild-cards, were ousted in the first roundof the 29th edition of the Grand Prix Hassan II. Nine other Moroccan players were eliminated in the qualifying stage.
|Morocco's number one Ziadi is ranked 757 in the world|
The big question that is bothering all those concerned about the future of tennis in Morocco remains whether the North African country will produce players like the three musketeers Younes El Aynaoui, Hicham Arazi and Karim Alami.
Arazi and Aynaoui won the Grand Prix Hassan II in 1997 and 2002 respectively while Alami reached the final in 1994.
Some people are blaming the Moroccan tennis federation (FRMT) for its failure to produce talented players who can emulate the three musketeers, while others criticise the players’ low fighting spirit on the court.
One Facebooker said that “Moroccan tennis is over”. Another Facebooker wrote a list of suggestions to lure schoolchildren to the tennis clubs in a bid to promote the sport, increase the number of licensed players and encourage the low class to get involved in this financially demanding sport.
The three musketeers’ legacy seems to have no inheritor for the time being. Morocco will have to wait for few more years to see a player break into the top 100 in the world.