All-Spanish Final at Estoril Open 2016 as Underdogs Prevail in Semis
Manuel Traquete, Tennis Atlantic
The 2016 Estoril Open final will feature two Spanish players who’ve enjoyed a lot of success at Futures and Challenger level in Portugal and are now looking for their maiden title at the Portuguese ATP 250 tournament.
In the first semifinal of the day, Pablo Carreno Busta quickly found himself 3-0 down but dominated from there to score a comfortable 6-3 6-3 win. Benoit Paire was in one of those days where he just piles up the unforced errors and double faults, while the Spaniard remained typically focused and solid from the back of the court to secure a second ATP final of the year and his career (lost to Cuevas in São Paulo earlier this year). After semifinal losses to Wawrinka in 2013 and Kyrgios last year, PCB will finally get a chance to play for the trophy in Portugal.
The other finalist will be Nicolas Almagro, who finally is showing signs that he can return to at least a top 20 position in the rankings. The former world #9 has reached his 23rd career ATP final (all on clay) and will be looking for a 13th title after beating Nick Kyrgios with surprising ease 6-3 7-5. It was a match played under very difficult windy conditions and it was Almagro who got used to it better and managed to impose his game despite some typical mental hiccups when serving out the match. Kyrgios looked very frustrated with the conditions all match long, didn’t manage to get as much as he’d have liked off his serve and misfired a lot from the baseline as well. He will be disappointed with this defeat, but all things considered he still had a good week and will now look forward to Madrid.
On paper, Almagro has far more weapons than Carreno Busta and should win this title, but we all know things are rarely that easy with Almagro, who’s famous for his mental weakness more than anything else. Carreno Busta knows that if he stays solid and consistent there’s a real chance Almagro will get frustrated and implode, we’ve seen it happen a lot of times during his career against all kinds of opponents. There’s very little doubt, however, that this final will be on Almagro’s racket, if he shows up focused and doesn’t have any big mental hiccups he will be lifting his 13th career title on Sunday afternoon.
Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky captured the doubles title over favorites Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski, the American doubles tandem won a rare title on clay over a European team.