A three-time ATP champion (twice at this tournament while it was still played in Casablanca) and a former world number 32 Pablo Andujar had to undergo three right elbow surgeries in 13 months and he lost his ranking in September last year. He played just three Futures matches in the entire last season and he started from the very beginning this January in Pune, playing with the protected ranking in order to shape his form and get back on the desired level.
He scored one win in Rio de Janeiro before retiring against Dominic Thiem (luckily, it wasn't elbow that bothered him) and he scored his first big result since the comeback last week in Alicante Challenger, winning the first title at that level since 2010.
He came to Marrakech with a strong desire to continue in the same style and he did a perfect job, going all the way to pick up his fourth ATP crown after a commanding 6-2 6-2 win over the second seed Kyle Edmund in the title match.
Ranked 355th, Pablo is the lowest-ranked ATP champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 1998 when he won his maiden ATP crown in Adelaide ranked 550th. In addition, Andujar won his previous title in Gstaad 2014 and after everything that happened to him he probably couldn't even dream about this moment, happy for just being back on the court again.
Kyle played great in yesterday's quarter-final and semi-final but he stood no chance today, competing in his first ATP final. The match lasted an hour and 22 minutes and the Spaniard controlled the scoreboard from start to finish, saving seven out of nine break points he faced to limit the damage in his games.
Edmund served well in the previous four matches but he was nowhere near that today, serving at 54% and dropping almost 60% of the points behind his initial shot, giving his serve away six times from 10 break opportunities Pablo created.
Pablo was off to a better start, breaking in the opening three return games for a 4-1 lead, which was very important for his confidence and the momentum. Kyle lost his serve in the opening game of the match with a forehand winner from Andujar and the Spaniard held at love in game two to open up an early lead.
Nothing worked well for the Briton and he sprayed a forehand error in game three to get broken again and fall 3-0 behind. He managed to reduce his deficit to 3-1 with a break in game four after a backhand error from Pablo but Andujar earned another break in game five with a nice drop shot that stayed out of Edmund's reach.
Serving for the set at 5-2, Andujar saved two break points and he closed the set after a lucky net cord in 39 minutes. Things went from bad to worse for the Briton, losing serve once again at the start of the second set and once again in game five after a volley winner from Andujar.
Kyle was still fighting and he pulled one break back in game six, only to drop serve once again in game seven after a forehand winner from Andujar who served for the title in the following game. The Spaniard saved two break points in game eight with winners and he claimed the win when Kyle sent a backhand wide to celebrate one of his biggest wins in a career considering all that happened to him in the last couple of years.