Joao Sousa Becomes Second Ever Portugese Finalist in Estoril
Manuel Traquete for Tennis Atlantic
It was a day of upsets in Estoril as home crowd favorite João Sousa and emerging American Frances Tiafoe made their way into the final of the Estoril Open, knocking out Stefanos Tsitsipas and last year’s champion Pablo Carreno Busta.
The first semifinal was the one everyone in Estoril was eagerly awaiting and it certainly didn’t disappoint. After a titanic two hour tussle, João Sousa defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 3rd set tiebreak to book his 1st ever final at his home tournament, making it the second time a Portuguese player reaches that stage in Estoril after Frederico Gil in 2010 (lost to Montanes). Tsitsipas breadsticked the Portuguese in the second set, but he visibly ran out of gas in the third set after all the tennis he’s been playing lately and the home crowd pushed Sousa past the finish line.
The second semifinal saw a relatively empty court, with a lot of people having left after the emotional high of Sousa’s win. Tiafoe didn’t let that bother him at all though and produced an incredible performance to easily dispatch Carreno Busta. The American didn’t face a single break point and applied pressure in basically every return game, hitting one great winner after another to reach his first ever ATP final on clay. Carreno Busta’s famed consistency was just no match to the brilliance of Tiafoe on the day.Embed from Getty Images
Going into the final, it’s hard to predict a winner. If he repeats today’s performance, Tiafoe will definitely be lifting the trophy, but it will be a completely different situation with a boisterous home crowd spurring on Sousa on his quest to become the first ever Portuguese winner in Portugal’s only ATP 250 event. It’s certainly a very intriguing matchup to wrap up this year’s edition of the tournament, especially considering the overall lack of strength of the field. It could very well turn out to be a historic day for Portuguese tennis if Sousa manages to pull yet another win.