David Ferrer wins third straight title in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, Feb 17 (IANS/EFE) Spain’s David Ferrer defeated Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-3 Sunday in the final of the Copa Claro clay-court event, winning his third straight title in Buenos Aires.

Ferrer, the top seed, won his first title of 2014 after losing in the second round at Doha, in the semifinals at Auckland and in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open.

The 31-year-old Spaniard, who will return to the No. 4 spot in the ATP rankings Monday, received a last-minute invitation after countryman and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal withdrew, citing lack of preparation.

The loss ended a 10-match winning streak for Fognini that dated back to the Davis Cup tie against Argentina and included the title last week at Viña del Mar, Chile.

Spanish players have won the Buenos Aires event, part of February’s South American clay-court swing, for the past five years, with Ferrer, Tommy Robredo and Nicolas Almagro accounting for four of those titles.

In the doubles final, Spain’s Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez beat Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos and Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas 7-5, 6-4.

Granollers and Lopez, who are ranked No. 27 in doubles, did not drop a set in their four matches.

The Spaniards, who won three doubles titles in 2012, experienced a drought last year, making only one final, the Masters 1000 tournament in Cincinnati.

Granollers and Lopez have now won 10 doubles titles each, with three of the titles coming as a team.

The Copa Claro tournament was played at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club in the Palermo district and offered $567,760 in prize money.