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Home hero to grab glory; TENNIS.

ATP CHALLENGER FINALS 4.55pm LOCAL favourite Thomaz Bellucci and Israel's Dudi Sela look the clear class of the field for the inaugural ATP Challenger Tour Finals which start this afternoon in Sao Paulo, Brazil, writes Adam Scriven.

Bellucci is in the field as a wildcard having not played in Challengers this year, but he won six tournaments in the bracket between March 2008 and November 2009.

Although Bellucci's ranking of 37 is 36 places higher than nearest rival Rui Mahado in this tournament, he has earned the majority of those points on clay courts. That is the surface on which he has claimed all his titles, but the Brazilian does have some useful form on hard courts, which stage this week's action.

He reached the quarter-finals of the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles in July where he was beaten in three sets by Alex Bogomolov, and although he was knocked out of the US Open in the first round by Sela, he had won the first two sets.

Sela, who has won all bar one of his career titles on hard courts, makes plenty of appeal at 9-2 but there is a feeling that he might just be outclassed by Bellucci, particularly with the crowd bound to be heavily behind him.

There is a handsome $45,000 prize on offer for the winner with a juicy $46,200 bonus for going through the tournament undefeated.

Bellucci can expect to get offf to a good start against American eighth seed Bobby Reynolds today. Ladbrokes - ATP Challenger Tour Finals (ATP ranking in brackets): 9-4 Bellucci (37), 9-2 Sela (95), 5 Beck (105), 11-2 Bachinger (109), 8 Klizan (90), 10 Machado (73), Stebe (103), 12 Reynolds (121).

Recommendation T Bellucci 2pts 9-4 Ladbrokes


Thomaz Bellucci: top seed
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 16, 2011
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