Carreno Busta and Muller Setup Unexpected Final in Estoril
Manuel Traquete, Tennis Atlantic
It’s been an exciting week at Portugal’s only ATP tournament in Estoril, as the final is now set between Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta and serve and volleying veteran Gilles Muller. Carreno Busta, a finalist last year, hasn’t dropped a set through three matches and has been in good form on European clay this year. He seems very comfortable on the main court and has played technically sound, skillful clay court tennis, as he slipped past Tommy Robredo, and then dismantled Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer, having beaten three formerly highly ranked Spanish clay court veterans this week. Ferrer winning a pair of easy matches over Portugese wild card Frederico Ferreira Silva and American Ryan Harrison to reach the semfinals and find his footing after a woeful year. PCB will thus be the expected favorite against Muller.
Muller, who much prefers fast surfaces, had a 4-10 clay court record since 2013 prior to playing in Estoril, but has now won three straight on his worst surface, defeating Pedro Sousa, Taro Daniel in three sets, and Kevin Anderson to reach the final. Muller maneuvered past Anderson’s big serve, which had allowed him to upset Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals, and Daniel, who is usually at his best on clay, simply cracked under pressure in their quarterfinal match. Despite the fact he’s unlikely to defeat Carreno Busta, he should have plenty of confidence heading into the final, and if he serves well anything is possible, even on clay.
In doubles, fans have enjoyed the success of Spanish veterans Tommy Robredo and David Marrero, while Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus are out to surprise them in the final, having beaten the top seeds in the opening round of doubles action.
Stay tuned for the story of the finals tomorrow!