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Best of the Rest: Mikhail Youzhny wins PBZ Zagreb Title

Posted on February 10, 2012 by Pete South

While the "big four" slug it out for major titles, Mikhail Youzhny and other second tier players fight for ATP titles.

While Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray are dominating the majors, other talented men’s tennis stars are fighting it out for ATP titles in an attempt to build their game toward a level capable of competing with the top stars.

One of those players, world number 32 Mikhail Youzhny, claimed the eighth ATP title of his career by easily beating the unseeded Slovakian Lukas Lacko 6-2 6-3 in the final of the PBZ Zagreb Indoors tournament. The 29-year-old Russian, who was the third seed, had not won on the ATP Tour since his victory in Kuala Lumpur in 2010, but was far too good for the world number 97, who was competing in his first Tour final.

Youzhny did not face a break point throughout and broke his opponent’s serve three times. Those betting Betfair money will have been impressed.

“It feels really good as it was my best match of the tournament, and that’s why I won,” said Youzhny. “It’s tough to compare my level with previous years, it’s impossible. But for sure this was my best tennis of the week.”

Lacko had beaten three seeds – Alex Bogomolov Jr, Robin Haase and Marcos Baghdatis – on his way to the final but was unable to raise his game for a fourth time in a week.

In the doubles final, Youzhny and Baghdatis thrashed the Croatian wildcards Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic 6-2 6-2 in just 52 minutes.

It was Youzhny’s ninth victory in 12 doubles finals and he became the last player to win both the singles and doubles events at an ATP World Tour event since Andy Murray achieved the feat last year at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships, partnering his brother Jamie Murray in the doubles. People looking at betting sites will be keeping an eye on him.

Youzhny’s best displays in Grand Slams have come at the US Open where he reached the semi-finals in both 2006 and 2010. He has never got past the fourth round at Wimbledon but made it through to the last eight of the Australian Open in 2008 and to the quarterfinals of the French Open in 2010.


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