• Almagro and Hanescu clash in Nice final

    5/21/11 5:54 AM | Cheryl Murray
    Almagro and Hanescu clash in Nice final Nicolas Almagro is hitting his stride just before the start of the 2011 French Open. The Spaniard will take on Romania's Victor Hanescu.

    World No. 12 Nicolas Almagro has not had the clay season he would have perhaps hoped for. The Spaniard had a good showing in Barcelona, where he reached the semifinals, but he didn't win more than a pair of matches at any of the three clay Masters event leading up to Roland Garros.

    He seems to have found his form at exactly the right time, however. He had a particularly good win over Tomas Berdych in the semifinals on Friday.

    Almagro will have more than one edge going into Saturday's final. He is ranked far above opponent Victor Hanescu's No. 69 spot, and more importantly, the Spaniard has won all 3 of their previous encounters.

    Hanescu has had good results at the 250 tournament level, with a semfinal in Casablanca this year to show for his efforts. He doesn't often get to the latter stages of Slams or Masters events, which hurts his ranking.

    Almagro is the better clay-court player and should be able to control the baseline in this final. The Spaniard, when he's playing well, has massive groundstrokes and impressive fitness. Expect the Spaniard to win in straight sets.

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