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By Chris Oddo                   Photo Credit: AFP/ Getty

(May 26, 2012)—Brian Baker's unlikely quest for a first career ATP title was ended today by an in-form Nicolas Almagro, 6-3, 6-2. The win was Almagro's 12th ATP title and his second consecutive Open de Nice Cote D'azur title.

Last year at Nice, Almagro defeated Tomas Berdych in the semifinals and Victor Hanescu in the finals.

Baker, who has thrust himself into the French Open conversation after fighting his way back from an injury-imposed hiatus that took him out of the game since 2005, still has a lot to be proud of.

"When you look at the week as a whole, it has been an unbelievable week," said Baker, who will open his French Open campaign against Xavier Malisse. "I hoped to qualify at the start of the week and win a match or two before going to Roland Garros," said the 27-year-old. "I obviously did much better."

After massive upsets over Gael Monfils and Nikolay Davydenko, Baker's is now considered as one of the American's best hopes on clay for next week's French Open.

After surviving seven matches in a grueling week at Nice, the Nashville native has proven that his once fragile body is indeed ready for the rigors of ATP-level tennis.

Almagro, the current world No 14, took control of the match late in the first set, when he won the final three games after the pair had been tied at 3-3. Almagro did not face a break point in that first set. In the second he faced one, but brushed it aside while keeping pressure on the American's serve to break twice and cruise to victory.

The Spaniard has won 12 of the 17 ATP finals he has played. His record moves to 34-11 with the win, ranking him first in the ATP in that category.

"Today was one of those matches that you want to keep in your mind for the rest of the season because I couldn't have played much better," said Almagro.

Almagro, seeded 12th at Roland Garros, will open his campaign against Italian Paolo Lorenzi.


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