• Hanescu, Wawrinka square off for Casablanca title

    4/11/10 6:55 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Hanescu, Wawrinka square off for Casablanca title Victor Hanescu and Stanislas Wawrinka will meet in the Casablanca final on Sunday afternoon. The winner will take home his second career ATP title.

    Victor Hanescu and Stanislas Wawrinka will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers when they do battle in the final of the Grand Prix Hassan II on Sunday. Hanescu has won both of their previous two encounters on clay; 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-3 in 2004 Davis Cup action and 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 two years ago in Gstaad.

    Wawrinka is the favorite this time around as the No. 1 seed, and he appears to be heating up after taking some time off at the start of 2010 due to the birth of his first child. Following a first-round bye in Casablanca, the 23rd-ranked Swiss survived Martin Klizan 6-4, 0-6, 6-4, crushed Moroccan wild card Reda El amrani 6-3, 6-1, then edged Potito Starace 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in Saturday's semifinals.

    Hanescu is also finding his game in the aftermath of an indifferent beginning of the year. The 28-year-old Romanian took out Jarkko Nieminen in three sets, dispatched Richard Gasquet 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3, and blasted 2009 runner-up Florent Serra 6-4, 6-1.

    Having come through by far the most difficult section of the draw, Hanescu is into his fourth career ATP final (one win, two losses, with the win coming two years ago in Gstaad). Wawrinka will be competing in his ninth career title match, but he has also emerged victorious just once. Interestingly, that title was gifted to him when Novak Djokovic retired after one set of the 2006 Umag final.

    "Hanescu is a very strong player," Wawrinka noted. "He won Gstaad two years ago. This is my first participation here in Casablanca and it would be great to win the title right away."

    Current form and past history, however, point to a Hanescu victory. If the world No. 43 continues to serve well, he should pull off the upset in three tough sets.

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these guys are playing in the FIRST ROUND in Monte-Carlo also. How ridiculous is that.

RickyDimon , 4/11/10 4:20 PM

It's not ridiculous at all. Casablanca is a very small tournament with no high-ranked players. MC has many higher ranked players than these 2 and neither of them will be a favorite to win it in any case.

chr18 , 4/11/10 6:39 PM

not what i meant

RickyDimon , 4/11/10 8:24 PM

chr18, Ricky meant that these two actually play each other in the first round of Monte Carlo.

smr , 4/12/10 3:48 AM

So what if they play each other in the first round? It's not a big deal as they are lower-ranked players. My point was both of them were in this final because nobody who was highly ranked on good on clay was in Casablanca. It would be ridiculous if Djoker had to play a top-ten player in his first match as an example. But for these two to play each other in the first round of a Masters event is completely feasible.

chr18 , 4/12/10 4:10 AM

should read "highly ranked OR good on clay"

chr18 , 4/12/10 4:15 AM

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