Jarkko Nieminen beats Benjamin Becker and cruises into Thailand Open final

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Nieminen reaches Thailand Open final

NONTHABURI, Thailand — Jarkko Nieminen of Finland reached his first final of the year with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Germany’s Benjamin Becker at the Thailand Open on Saturday.

The unseeded Nieminen, ranked 60th, took charge against his 65th-ranked opponent and cruised through their match in 1 hour, 5 minutes.

Seeking his second career ATP Tour title, the 29-year-old Nieminen dominated with sharp groundstrokes and fired 76 percent of his first serves in.

“I feel great,” Nieminen said. “I haven’t been in (a) final for a while, the last time was in Sydney 2009.”

The Finn has not dropped a set in his run to the final, including wins over No. 7-seed Viktor Troicki in the second round and No. 3-seed Jurgen Melzer in the quarterfinals.

“I’ve played great tennis. Just looking forward to the final,” he said.

His possible opponent in the final would be world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who will play Spanish compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in Saturday’s other semifinal.

Nadal is fresh from winning the U.S. Open and completing a career Grand Slam.

“Nadal, he’s obviously the best player this year. He has won the last three Grand Slams everybody knows that,” Nieminen said. “It will be a big challenge. I hope I can challenge him in the final.”

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