Day 4 Review, Day 5 Preview @PortugalOpen
Manuel Traquete, Tennis East Coast
As always, May 1st was by far the best attended day of the week of the Portugal Open, it being a public holiday in Portugal. Centralito was probably as full as its ever been, enough to encourage Gastão Elias to sensationally upset recent Casablanca winner and Monte Carlo quarterfinalist Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4 3-6 6-2.
By his own admission, Elias played one of his best ever matches to repeat his Portugal Open quarterfinal performance of last year.
His quarterfinal opponent will be Victor Hanescu, who defeat Pablo Carreno Busta in 3 tight sets. While the Romanian is the favorite, he’s not exactly an unbeatable opponent for Gastão, who will definitely fancy his chances to reach his first ATP semifinal if he keeps his level up from yesterday.
Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic made their Portugal Open 2014 debuts and they won their respective matches with unsurprising ease, both with the same score: 6-3 6-2 without getting broken. The Canadian didn’t even face a single break point. As is the case with most opponents, Pablo Cuevas never really found an effective way to return Raonic’s massive serve. Berdych will face Leonardo Mayer in the quarterfinals, after the Argentinian played yet another solid match to defeat Golubev 6-1 7-6. Mayer caused Berdych quite a lot of problems in the only time they met, last year at the Davis Cup, but the Czech is still a very strong favorite to progress. Raonic, on the other hand, is taking on Berlocq – who expectedly beat Lukas Kubot with relative comfort – in yet another match where his serve was simply too overwhelming for his opponent.
The final and perhaps least interesting of the men’s quarterfinal had already been decided on Tuesday, with Daniel Gimeno-Traver facing Marcel Granollers, the latter being the favorite though few would be shocked if Gimeno-Traver came out with the win. Should logic prevail though, the semifinals will surely feature Berdych and Raonic, against one of Elias/Hanescu and Granollers/Gimeno-Traver respectively.
On the women’s side, Carla Suarez Navarro barely broke a sweat to defeat Polona Hercog 6-1 6-3, and the same can be said for Svetlana Kuznetsova’s surprisingly easy win over Eugenie Bouchard. While the Canadian might be the future, at the moment the 2009 Roland Garros winner just has too much skill and craft on a clay court for Bouchard to handle.
Kuznestova will now face Elena Vesnina in the semis. Vesnina is bound to be tired after playing the best match of this year’s women’s event in the quarters – a back and forth grueling match that saw her eliminate Roberta Vinci 7-6 4-6 7-5 in almost 3 hours. Kuznetsova looks in better shape to reach Saturday’s final. Suarez Navarro is overwhelmingly favored to be there as well as her opponent, Irina Camelia-Begu. ICB was the winner of an improbable quarterfinal clash between qualifiers.