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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, April 15, 2018

 
Pablo Andujar

World No. 355 Pablo Andujar swept second-seeded Kyle Edmund, 6-2, 6-2, rolling to his third career Marrakech title and first ATP crown since 2014.

Photo credit: AP

Playing on a protected ranking, Pablo Andujar continued his Marrakech mastery and inspired comeback from elbow surgery.

The 32-year-old Andujar swept second-seeded Kyle Edmund, 6-2, 6-2, rolling to his third career Marrakech title and first ATP crown since 2014.

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It caps a remarkable rise from the ashes of rankings obscurity and career-threatening injury. Multiple surgeries and injury-induced inactivity caused Andujar's ranking to plummet to 1,821 on February 19th.

The 355th-ranked Andujar, who is playing with a protected ranking of No. 105, is the lowest-ranked ATP champion since a then-16-year-old Lleyton Hewitt won his hometown Adelaide title in 1998, when the Australian was ranked No. 550.

Andujar converted six of 10 break points in a dominating 81-minute conquest. 

The Spanish baseliner raised his Marrakech career record to 15-2, including his successive title runs in 2011, when he defeated Potito Starace in the final, and 2012 when he conquered compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

It's a particularly poignant championship for Andujar, who has undergone three elbow surgeries, including procedures on his right elbow in both 2016 and 2016. 

Sidelined by a right shoulder injury earlier this season, the Valencia native carried a 1-5 record into the Alicante, Spain Challenger then caught fire.

Andujar reeled off five straight wins to capture the Alicante title and extended his winning streak to 10 matches today. He is the first man to collect back-to-back Challenger and Tour-level titles in consecutive weeks Ryan Harrison Dallas and Memphis in succession in 2017.




The 23-year-old Edmund did not drop a set en route to his maiden final, but could not solve the veteran Spaniard on his best surface. The Australian Open semifinalist could have become the seventh British man to crack the Top 10 by winning the title.

It is Andujar's first ATP title since he defeated Juan Monaco to win Gstaad. All four of Andujar's titles have come on red clay.

 

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