Carreno Busta, Kyrgios among semifinalists at Estoril Open 2015 (Friday Recap)
Manuel Traquete for Tennis Atlantic
Friday at the Estoril Open saw the quarterfinal round being played, with every match finishing in straight sets with relatively predictable winners.
In the first of the quarterfinals, Pablo Carreno Busta beat Gilles Muller with relative ease, with the Luxembourgian unable to serve as well as he usually does, which ensured that the Spaniard’s superior movement and consistency prevailed, with him coming on top of a lot of extended rallies. It is the second ATP semifinal for Carreno Busta, and the second at Estoril, after he lost in 2013 to Wawrinka at that stage.
Carreno Busta d. Muller 6-2 6-4
This time, however, his opponent will be Nick Kyrgios, who beat Robin Haase in pretty routine fashion to reach the semifinals of a tournament for the first time in his career. Haase broke early in the first set, but he was overpowered for the remainder of the contest, also leaking a copious amount of easy errors at the worst possible times. Kyrgios just needed to remain focus on his own service games to secure a quick, convincing win, even giving him room for some showboating late in the match.
Kyrgios d. Haase 6-3 6-4Embed from Getty Images
While the first SF will be a duel of two handed backhands, the second one will feature two great one handed backhands from Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Richard Gasquet respectively. The Spaniard continued his spectacular run of form by beating Borna Coric in 2 tight sets, coming back from 1-5* down in the second set and saving 4 set points in 3 different games before clinching the match in the tiebreak with some amazing shots, especially off the BH. Coric had yet another good performance in an ATP tournament, but his lack of experience at this level showed at the end of the 2nd set, he still has a lot of work to do to threaten the ATP elite. Garcia-Lopez recorded his 8th win in 10 days and is still in the hunt for a third title of the year, and second consecutive one after Bucharest last weekend.
Garcia-Lopez d. Coric 6-3 7-6(4)Embed from Getty Images
The last semifinal was supposed to be the best match of the day between two of the best one handers on tour, but Nicolas Almagro played an incredibly erratic match and Gasquet only needed to be solid with some flashes off brilliance with his backhand to secure a 6-1 7-6 win. Almagro still served for the second set but played a terrible game to get broken back; it’s too soon to say for sure, but his decline might be irreversible, while Gasquet is having a really good week coming back from the injury that has sidelined him since Indian Wells.
Gasquet d. Almagro 6-1 7-6(4)Embed from Getty Images
In one of the mens doubles quarterfinals, Muller/Qureshi d. Emmrich/Siljestrom 6-3 6-2. Tomorrow it will be Lopez/Marrero against Fyrstenberg/Mirnyi, and Muller/Qureshi against Huey/Lipsky in doubles.
Although Kyrgios claimed he is the underdog when asked by me in his presser, the reality is most people are expecting him to overpower Carreno Busta and reach his first ATP final. Carreno Busta will also be looking for his first final and he clearly enjoys playing in Portugal but it seems clear that this match is on the Aussie’s racket, if Kyrgios is serving well and hitting cleanly there’s very little Carreno Busta can do to halt his progress.
The second semifinal seems more even on paper, the form guide would suggest a Garcia-Lopez win but Gasquet has been playing solid tennis this week and he has the game to really trouble the Spaniard as their H2H shows despite the limited sample. That and the fatigue factor make it quite possible that Gasquet might be headed to a third final in Portugal and his most realistic chance at a title here to date; while Garcia-Lopez and Kyrgios are good players, it doesn’t compare to facing Djokovic (2007) and del Potro (2012) for the title. This might be Gasquet’s best ever chance to win this event.