It was a historic day for Portuguese tennis with João Sousa becoming the first Portuguese player to ever win Portugal’s one and only ATP event, after Frederico Gil’s narrow miss back in 2010. This was Sousa’s 3rd ATP title In 10 finals, first in 2018.
It was pretty much a Davis Cup atmosphere in Center Court, with a capacity crowd rowdily supporting Sousa and spurring him on to the biggest achievement of his career thus far. Tiafoe had been on fire in the last couple of days but he wasn’t even close to replicate that level in the final, perhaps a bit intimidated by the extremely pro-Sousa atmosphere on the court.
Sousa broke in the second Tiafoe service game, and although he was broken back he was able to break and then serve out the set despite finding himself in a 0-40 hole. After losing the first set, Tiafoe clearly lose confidence for a bit, frustrated by how many errors he was committing and how many balls Sousa was forcing him to hit in a lot of rallies. Tiafoe was still able to rally back from a double break down in the second and force Sousa to serve it out, but the truth is he could never find the right balance between aggression and consistency and Sousa’s more consistent and metronomic game proved to be too strong for Tiafoe in his first ever clay final.
For Sousa, winning in Portugal has been the fulfillment of a long-held dream. Given how unlikely it is that he wins any bigger tournament, this title will most likely end up being the moment that will forever define Sousa’s career. He could hardly contain his emotion after winning, as shown by his winner’s speech and press conference, it was clear just how much this means to him. Tiafoe was magnanimous in defeat, congratulating Sousa for his victory on home soil and vowing to return to Estoril next year.
Sijsling, Robert, Ymer and Berlocq Advance in ATP Qualifying Adam Addicott, Tennis Atlantic
Igor Sijsling heads the field of qualifiers in the BMW Open
It isn’t every day that players on the ATP Tour have to contend with the threat of snow disrupting their matches, but this is what happened during qualifying at the BMW Open in Munich.
Despite the burst of snow showers, four players managed to book their places in the main draw on Sunday. Only one seed managed to progress to the main draw in Germany. Second seed Igor Sijsling started his qualifying journey against Andrey Golubev. The Dutch player crushed Golubev 6-2, 6-1, winning 86% of his total service points. Sijsling encountered a much tougher second round meeting against fifth seed Jozef Kovalik. Kovalik defeated Austrian wildcard Alexander earlier in his opening match. The final round of qualifying was far from plain sailing for Sijsling. Despite dropping his service three times, he managed to grab the win in straight sets, 7-6(4), 6-4, after two hours of play.
Sijsling will now play in his first ATP main draw this year and his first since the 2015 BNP Paribas Masters. The 28-year-old currently has a win-loss of 39-65 on the ATP tour (a 38% winning rate).
The qualifying draw in Munich saw a trio of triumphs for home players. The most significant of the three achievements was wild card entrant Cedrik-Marcel Stebe. Stebe is a former top-100 player whose career has been affected by injury and hip surgery. In February this year he played his first match in almost 18 months in a Turkish Futures tournament. The German has been sidelined from action due to osteitis pubis, a noninfectious inflammation of the pubis symphysis.
Playing his first ATP qualifying event since the 2013 US Open, Stebe upset eighth seed Peter Gojowcyzk 6-1, 7-6(5), in the first round. Awaiting Stebe in the second round was Nils Langer, who stunned top seed Mirza Basic in his first match. Stebe was victorious in the all-German marathon, winning 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-4.
Matthias Bachinger defeated two German seeds to reach his first ATP main draw since June. Bachinger was playing in his first tournament since September due to injury. In his successful comeback from injury, the world No.33 produced straight sets win over third seed Daniel Brands and seventh seed Tobias Kamke.
The final injury-plagued player to triumph in qualifying was Florian Mayer. The 32-year-old hasn’t played on the tour since the US Open due to a hip injury. Aided by seven aces, the world No.268 defeated France’s Vincent Millot 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, to reach the main draw.
Mixed fortunes for Argentine players in Istanbul qualifying as Carlos Berlocq triumphs
The qualifying draw at the Istanbul Open could easily be mistaken for a South American tournament with three of the top five seeds comprising of Argentine players.
The top seed at the tournament was world No. 137 Maximo Gonzalez. The 32-year-old has won five main draw matches this year and is yet to win back-to-back matches in a main draw of a tournament in 2016. Gonzalez will not have a chance of extending his streak to six in Istanbul after suffering a shock loss in qualifying. After coming through a tough three sets win against world No.314 Tomislav Krkic, he faced Romania’s Adrian Ungur. He was unable to live up to his top seed status after crashing out 6-3, 7-5.
The qualifying triumph is a much needed boost to Ungur’s poor start to 2016. Since winning a Challenger title in Sibiu (Romania) last year, he has only managed to win two matches. The Romanian will play in his first ATP main draw since the 2014 Bucharest Open.
Carlos Berlocq was the highest seed to progress to the main draw in what was a roller coaster qualifying experience for the Argentine. In his opening match, the world No.153 required over three hours to see off Dimitar Kuzmanov 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-5. Berlocq, who achieved a ranking best of 37th in 2012, enjoyed another stern test in the second round against sixth seed Alessandro Giannessi. In a match lasting over two hours, Berlocq battled his way past the Italian 7-6(3), 6-3, to progress to the main draw, where he will be bidding to grab his first win on the ATP Tour this year.
18-year-old Andrew Rublev overcame a blip to triumph in Istanbul. Earlier this year, the Russian claimed his first Challenger title in Quimper, France. Since then, Rublev has encountered a slow start to the clay court season after failing to qualify for the Casablanca Open and then losing in the first round of Monte-Carlo Masters to German talent Alexander Zverev. In his third event of the year on clay, the teenager recovered from a first set slump to crush seventh seed Marius Copil 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.
Rublev is currently at a ranking best of 154th in the world. He first rose to prominence after winning the 2014 French Open Boys’ title.
Completing the list of qualifiers is another Argentine, Renzo Olivo. The 24-year-old has already produced solid results on the clay this year. At the Ecuador Open he reached the quarterfinals as a qualifier and he has reached the second round of the Buenos Aires Open. Unlike the three other qualifiers, Renzo was the only man to book his place in the main stage of the tournament without dropping a set. Starting his campaign with a 6-4, 7-6(4), win over Michal Konecny, Renzo faced Ivan Nedelko in the final round. Nedelko is a Russian player who plays mainly on the Challenger and Futures circuit. The Russian was no match for Renzo as he eased to a 6-4, 6-3, victory.
Stephane Robert and Elias Ymer progress to the main draw in Estoril
The second edition of the Estoril Open at the Clube de Ténis saw mixed emotions for the stars of the tournaments qualifying draw. Only two top-five players managed to progress to the main draw.
Headlining the field was world No.104 Albert Montanes, who recently reached his first ATP semifinal in Marrakesh since the 2014 Nice Open. The Spaniard was stunned in the opening round by world No. 240 Salvatore Caruso, a player who has won only three Italian Futures titles in his career.
The unexpected win by Caruso moved him to an all-Italian encounter with seventh seed Andrea Arnaboldi. Arnaboldi has endured a disappointing start to the year by winning only three of his 11 main draw matches. Facing Caruso, the world No.170 saved a match point in the second set to win 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3, in a match lasting almost three hours. The tough win had earned the seventh seed a place in his first ATP main draw since the Bastad Open last July.
French veteran Stephane Robert was the highest seed to win both rounds of qualifying. The 35-year-old has already won two Challenger titles this year in India and Mexico and recently won two rounds of qualifying at the Monte-Carlo Masters. At Estoril he dismissed compatriot Alexandre Sidorenko in straight sets to face Farrukh Dustov. The Uzbek player stunned fourth seed Kenny de Schepper in his first round match. Robert was on the verge of exiting the tournament after trailing 3-6, 0-2 to Dustov. The Frenchman was able to turn his fortunes around to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Robert will play in the main draw of the tournament for the second consecutive year. Last year he lost in the first round to Nicolas Almagro.
Elias Ymer continued his surge in form on the clay by defeating Croatia’s Franko Skugor 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, in the final round of qualifying in Portugal. Ymer is currently at a career ranking best of 123rd in the world after winning his maiden Challenger title in Barletta, Italy. The Swede was also granted a wildcard into last week’s Barcelona Open, where he lost in three sets to Thiemo de Bakker.
The lowest ranked player to qualify was Canada’s Steven Diez. The Canadian has enjoyed multiple success on the Futures tour this year by reaching the final of six tournaments, winning titles in three of them. Diez was able to convert his Futures success to ATP Tour delight with an impressive opening qualifying win against Luca Vanni. The 25-year-old crushed the fourth seed 6-1, 6-2. In round two he faced Argentine eighth seed Marco Trungelliti. The Canadian underdog won 64% of his service points and fended off 3 of 4 break points to upset the Argentine 6-3, 6-2.
Diez will now play in only his second ATP main draw after the 2014 Atlanta Open.
Portugal Open – Day 3 Review, Day 4 Preview Manuel Traquete, Tennis East Coast
Day 3 at the Portugal Open saw the conclusion of the women’s round of 16 and only three men’s matches.
Due to Gastão Elias’s final in a Brazilian challenger last week, his first round matchup with Volandri was postponed until yesterday afternoon. Despite all the tennis he has played lately though, Gastão looked quite sharp in this match and had break points in all but one of Volandri’s service games (where he still got to deuce). He was aggressive all match long and got it done 6-4 6-3 despite some of his usual choking in some points, including an excruciatingly long and possibly deciding game at 4*-3 in the second set. In order to repeat his quarterfinal performance from last year, Elias will now have to beat #4 seed Guilhermo Garcia Lopez on the same stage Frederico Gil did in 2010 during his dream run: the Centralito. Garcia-Lopez is the obvious favorite, but Gastão is showing some good form and he will have nothing to lose so an upset might potentially be in the cards if the factors align.
The second round of matches started yesterday, with Granollers prevailing over Montanes in a very tight 3-setter, where the 2009/2010 champion had a lot of opportunities to close things out but ended up missing another opportunity to go deep again at the Portugal Open. The other player already through to the quarterfinals is another Spaniard, Daniel Gimeno-Traver, who beat Rui Machado 6-3 7-6. DGT’s serve and forehand were more often than not too much for Machado to handle; by the time he seemed to finally adapt to Gimeno-Traver’s game somewhat it was already too late to do something in the match, although he was relatively close to taking the second set and forcing a third set.
Round 2 of the men’s draw will be concluded today; Berdych is the massive favorite to triumph over Devvarman at Center Court for obvious reasons and he should really win. Berdych has made a habit of shocking losses vs far inferior players, but Devvarman on clay is hardly a threat at all. Berdych won their only matchup 3 & 1 on a Harcourt on Chennai.
Raonic should have more trouble against the talented but frequently injured and inconsistent Pablo Cuevas, but his serve and power should grant him a relatively safe passage to the quarterfinals.
On court 1, Victor Hanescu and Andrey Golubev will lock horns in the first match of the day; the names might not sound too appealing, but both can play incredible tennis on clay when inspired and could produce a very nice spectacle if they’re on their day.
Finally, Golubev and Mayer will face each other in a match that will be everything bar a classical clay-court match. Mayer is the favorite to outhit Golubev and reach the QFs on this surface, but with two players like these, consistency isn’t really something to be taken into account. It will all depend on what level they show on the day as both are capable of breathtaking hitting performances but equally of absolute shockers when they’re off. If you’re a betting man, you should really stay away from this match!
On the women’s side, only two of the seeds are missing the quarterfinals. Samantha Stosur and Lucie Safarova – defeated today in 3 sets by Polona Hercog in a match filled with unforced errors and poor serving throughout – and Kaia Kanepi – shockingly sent packing by the Romanian Begu. In the other matches of the day, logic prevailed with the #1 seed even delivering a double bagel to her opponent.
The quarterfinals promise to be really interesting, especially the first one and only on center court that will fit the seasoned veteran Kuznetsova to Canadian upstart Eugenie Bouchard. Can the Canadian make another breakthrough or will the Old Guard prevail even while not at their best? Suarez Navarro and Vinci are also clear favorites over Polona Hercog and Elena Vesnina, although both are playing pretty well so far and have a shot at going even further on current form. Finally, what should be on paper the tightest match of the round will be played on Court 2 and pit Timea Bacsinszky against Irina-Camelia Begu. The Romanian maybe emerges as an ever so slight favorite, but the match should be great and well contested throughout.
2014 ATP Portugal Open (@PortugalOpen) Preview Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast
Tennis East Coast is happy to announce we will have on-site coverage from the Portugal Open ATP/WTA joint event all week long from our guest columnist Manuel Traquete. Here is an ATP preview.
ATP Oeiras (Estoril)
ATP World Tour 250
April 28-May 4, 2014
Prize Money: € 426,605
Top 4 seeds (Who all receive first round byes) (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Tomas Berdych (6)
2: Milos Raonic (9)
3: Marcel Granollers (22)
4: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (32)
First Round matchups to watch:
Albert Montanes vs. Santiago Giraldo
Montanes and Giraldo will meet for the sixth time in their careers. Giraldo is a surprise current finalist in Barcelona, just his second career ATP final and potentially his first title. Giraldo has semis and a current final in his last 2 events, while Montanes reached the second round in Monte Carlo as qualifier and the third in Barcelona in his last 2. Both players are showing good form. Giraldo leads the clay h2h 2-1, including a win this year in Buenos Aires, but if he’s out of gas from all the tennis in Barca, Montanes could find his way into round 2.
He won the title in Oeiras (Estoril) in 2009 and 2010 so he has a great history at this event.
Top seed Tomas Berdych, who lost in the second round of Monte Carlo and is looking to bounce back, opens with Somdev Devvarman or Matt Ebden. He should find his way into the quarterfinals against the great Portugese hope Joao Sousa, who needs to beat a qualifier and Andrey Golubev/Adrian Mannarino to get there. Sousa has lost 3 straight matches on clay and has just 1 clay quarterfinal this season as his best result, but he should feel comfortable playing with home support in Portugal’s only ATP event. Neither Mannarino nor Golubev have much clay court prowess.
Casablanca champion and Monte Carlo quarterfinalist Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who is nearly back in the top 30, opens with Gastao Elias or Filippo Volandri. Elias, a Portugese wild card, is currently in a challenger final on clay and had a challenger semi before that. He might be fatigued, but he’s in great form. Volandri, on the other hand, has only won 1 main draw match this year and has lost 10. I expect GGL against Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarters, as PCB reached quarters in Casablanca and the third round as a qualifier in Monte Carlo. He comes off an opening round loss in Monte Carlo and is looking to bounce back against Mikhail Kukushkin, who has lost 3 straight on clay and is in awful form. Victor Hanescu or a qualifier await PCB/Kukushkin in round 2.
Monte Carlo quarterfinalist Milos Raonic is playing his first non-Masters/Grand Slam event of the season as he opens with Pablo Cuevas or Aleksandr Nedovyesov and then Teymuraz Gabashvili or Carlos Berlocq.
Barcelona quarterfinalist Gabashvili, who upset David Ferrer en route, opens with a struggling Lukasz Kubot and then should face Berlocq (who opens with a qualifier). Warlocq hasn’t made it past the second round of any tournament on clay this season.
Marcel Granollers will get the winner of Montanes/Giraldo in a tough round 2 match and the winner could face Dmitry Tursunov, Rui Machado, a qualifier, or Alejandro Gonzalez.
Tursunov was bounced in the opening round of Barcelona. Machado is a Portugese wild card who was once in the top 60 but now languishes outside the top 200. Gonzalez has struggled on clay this year, but is good on the surface and made quarters in Houston. As you can seem a qualifier will have a good dark horse chance here
Dark Horse: Albert Montanes
A non-seeded player is most likely to make the quarters out of the Granollers section, as he is the weakest seeded player with a bye. I’m factoring in that Giraldo is probably fatigued by the time he plays his match with Montanes, and then after winning that he beats his countryman Granollers, as he has done before twice on clay in their two most recent clay court meetings (2008/2009). With Granollers having lost two straight, that’s a strong possibility. With a weak quarterfinal opponent, I have Montanes in the semis this week.
Garcia-Lopez d. Berdych
Raonic d. Montanes
GGL just beat Berdy in Monte Carlo in 3 sets and he has a 2-1 overall h2h against him on clay, thus I have to go with him in the on paper upset. Montanes has a 1-0 h2h on clay against Raonic as he beat him 2 years ago in Monte Carlo, but that match went 3 sets. Since Raonic has improved, including on clay, while Montanes has not, with his strong consistent play this year, Milos should get through.
Raonic d. Garcia-Lopez
Raonic is 2-0 career against GGL, with no meetings on clay, and as stated above, he’s been strong and consistent this year and deserves a title to show for it.
A pair of clay 250s will be the ATP tour entree offerings this week.
ATP World Tour 250
April 29-May 4, 2013
Prize money: EUR 410,200
Top 4 seeds (who all receive first round byes)
1: Janko Tipsarevic
2: Marin Cilic
3: Tommy Haas
4: Philipp Kohlschreiber
First round matchups to watch:
Ernests Gulbis vs. Jarkko Nieminen
Gulbis suffered a disappointing loss to Milos Raonic in Barcelona, but hasnhad a an excellent year, while Nieminen only made the 2nd round in Bucharest but played 2 excellent matches against Evgeny Donskoy and Gilles Simon, both going 3 sets. Gulbis has won all 3 of their meetings, including this year in Marseille, but all 3 meetings have been on hard courts. Expect a lot of action and some excellent ball striking from both players.
Janko Tipsarevic is still struggling, even after winning a match in Bucharest, as his quarterfinal loss to Garcia-Lopez was uncharacteristic and typical for this year. Tipsy is still a top 10 player ranking wise, but he certainly isn’t playing like one. He opens with Thomaz Bellucci, who will be trying to recover from a hip injury incurred in Barcelona, or Grega Zemlja. Afterward, he could face Jurgen Melzer, Daniel Brands or wildcards Tobias Kamke and Gael Monfils. Monfils continues to carry on hobbled by injuries and very little should be expected from him right now as he fell to Brands in Bucharest via retirement.
Peppo Kohlschreiber, the defending champ, made the semis in Barcelona, which is certainly a great result on paper. Looks can be a bit deceiving, as he got a walkover in the quarters (a match that would have been against Bellucci) and he got through his first two matches against Andrey Kuznetsov and Martin Klizan by the skin of his teeth, both in nail-biting 3 set fashion. Before that, and before Monte Carlo, Kohli had not been playing great, but his ball striking and court sense seem to be slowly improving and coming back now.
Peppo opens against a qualifier or Marcos Baghdatis, who hasn’t played since Davis Cup. He could then face Mikhail Youzhny, a slumping Radek Stepanek, a qualifier, or Viktor Troicki, who was struggling but did make quarters in Bucharest last week.
The top half of the draw is a mixed bag of icy players and injured players.
Marin Cilic, a finalist in Munich last year, will play Nikolay Davydenko or Ivan Dodig before meeting Alex Dolgopolov, Paul-Henri Mathieu, a qualifier, or Dmitry Tursunov, who shocked David Ferrer in Barcelona.
Tommy Haas is back in action and back in Germany, where he will play the winner of Gulbis/Nieminen and then a qualifier, Bucharest semifinalist Florian Mayer (who seemed to find his Flo last week), wild card Kevin Krawietz or Marinko Matosevic. If Haas meets Nieminen round two, he will be looking to avenge his loss at the Australian Open to the Flying Fin.
The bottom half is much more in form than the top half.
Dark Horse: Daniel Brands
It’s difficult to call him a dark horse in such a jumbled half, but Brands is on fire this year, up to 67 in the rankings. That’s one off his career high and means that he has qualified (or in one case gotten a lucky loser) in every ATP event he has entered this year. He made quarters in Bucharest, his 2nd quarterfinal showing this year, and now will be playing in his native country in front of home fans, many of whom are anxious to get on the Brandswagon.
Brands should beat Kamke, and Melzer and Monfils are both struggling. After that, Tipsarevic is obviously very beatable, as is Bellucci or Zemlja. In the semis, Kohlschreiber has also shown weaknesses and a final is very well possible for him.
Brands d. Kohlschreiber
Haas d. Dolgopolov
There is really nothing in the way of Kohlschreiber making the semis. Meanwhile Mayer, Gulbis/Nieminen or Haas could all make the semis in that tough section, but I’ll go with Haas and the other section should come down to Dolgopolov or Cilic. Dolgopolov is inconsistent but I’ll go with him. Haas won their meeting this year in Miami in straights.
Brands d. Haas
Rosol won his first title last week. Brands, who plays somewhat similarly, is almost tracking in his footsteps. Thus, I’ll hop on the Brandswagon and say he takes the title here.
ATP World Tour 250
April 29-May 4, 2013
Prize Money: (euro sign) 410,200
This event changed it’s name, formerly known as the Estoril Open, it is now called the Portugal Open, and the official city was switched from Estoril to Oeiras, but it is the same joint ATP/WTA event for the same points. They aren’t exactly a blogger-friendly tournament.
Top 4 seeds: (who all receive first round byes)
1: David Ferrer
2: Stanislas Wawrinka
3: Andreas Seppi
4: Fabio Fognini
First round matchups to watch:
Carlos Berlocq vs. Albert Ramos
They are ranked closely together, at 64 and 57. Berlocq is 5 years older, and both have positive records on the ATP tour this year. Furthermore, they are both enjoyable players to watch if you like traditional clay court tennis. Berlocq won their only meeting ever, this year in Sao Paulo, while Ramos comes off quarters in Barcelona.
David Ferrer suffered a shocking 2nd round loss to Dmitry Tursunov in Barcelona, and will be looking to recover. He took a wild card here, and will play Gilles Muller or Edouard Roger-Vasselin followed by Benoit Paire/Igor Sijsling, Victor Hanescu or a qualifier.
Andreas Seppi will be looking for a good showing as he will face Alejandro Falla or Andrey Kuznetsov, and then could play Pablo Andujar, a qualifier, Dani Gimeno-Traver or Tommy Robredo, who is really showing some form once again (making the quarters in Barcelona).
Stan Wawrinka will play the Berlocq/Ramos winner in what could be a tough match and then could face Evgeny Donskoy, Denis Istomin, Horacio Zeballos or wild card Gastao Elias.
Fabio Fognini is at a career high ranking of 24, and will play a qualifier or countryman and Davis Cup teammate Paolo Lorenzi. After that it could be a qualifier, a struggling Julien Benneteau (who has lost 4 straight), Pedro Sousa, or the inconsistent but talented David Goffin.
Boy Wonder Goffin
Dark Horse: David Goffin
Goffin is a disappointing 6-11 this year on the ATP tour, but did show some signs of betterment in Bucharest, dispatching his first round opponent Adrian Ungur easily, and pushing eventual semifinalist Florian Mayer to 3 sets. Otherwise, he has only won consecutive matches this year in Miami. Still, he’s a young talent and maturing into the highest level of professional tennis.
D Goff gets an easy start against wild card Pedro Sousa, then a struggling Benneteau or a qualifier. If he gets Lorenzi or Fognini in the quarters, they are indeed beatable.
Ferrer d. Robredo
Fognini d. Wawrinka
Ferrer boasts a 6-2 record against Robredo, including a win on clay this year in Buenos Aires. In additions, he has to be motivated to get past his Barcelona loss and get back to his winning ways on clay.
Wawrinka has the H2H edge against Fognini 3-1 but Fognini won their match this year in Acapulco on clay and he is playing very sharp right now.
Ferrer d. Fognini
I would really love to pick Fognini in this projected meeting, as Fogna is playing some of his best tennis right now and as I mentioned is looking razor sharp. That being said, Ferrer has beaten Fognini 6 times, including 3 times this year and twice on clay. That kind of record speaks for itself.
I’m not totally certain Ferrer is 100% but this field isn’t the most punishing around.
Del Po defends Estoril title, Kohlschreiber takes Munich, Seppi wins 2nd career title in Belgrade
By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Juan Martin Del Potro successfully defended his title in Estoril, taking out 2 seed Richard Gasquet in the final, 6-4 6-2.
Del Potro cruised through his week in Estoril taking out Rui Machado, Albert Montanes and Stanislas Wawrinka in succession before finishing off Gasquet, who had beaten Paolo Lorenzi, Daniel Munoz-De La Nava and Albert Ramos to reach the final.
Aisam Qureshi of Pakistan and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands took the doubles title over Austrian Julian Knowle and Spaniard David Marrero, 7-5 7-5.
Phillip Kohlschreiber captured the 2nd Munich title of his career (the other being in 2007) taking out Marin Cilic, 7-6 6-3. Kohlschreiber, the 4 seed and one of the home favorites, took out Ernest Gulbis, Marinko Matosevic and Feliciano Lopez, the 2 seed in 3 sets, to reach the final.
Cilic, the 3 seed, who continues to improve in his comeback efforts, took out ATP Bucharest semi-finalist Matthias Bachinger, Mikhail Youzhny and surprise semi-finalist Tommy Haas. Haas brought back memories of the past in his upset of top seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga earlier in the week, along with a victory over Marcos Baghadatis and a 1st round drubbing of countryman Michael Berrer.
Top seeds Frantisek Cermak and Filip Polasek, of the Czech Republic and Slovakia respectively, won the doubles title over Xaiver Malisse and Dick Norman of Belgium, 6-4 7-5.
Andreas Seppi won his 2nd career ATP World Tour title with a 6-3 6-2 victory over surprise finalist Benoit Paire of France. The Italian, Seppi, who was seeded 2nd, took out Ivan Dodig, Gilles Muller and 4 seed David Nalbandian in 3 sets to reach the final.
Paire upset 6 seed and ATP Bucharest finalist Fabio Fognini in the 1st round and followed it up with 3 set victories over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 3 seed Jarkko Niemenen and top seed Pablo Andujar to reach the final.
Israeli Danger Duo Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram won the Belgrade doubles title over Martin Emmrich and Andreas Siljestrom.
ATP World Tour 250
April 30-May 5, 2012
Prize Money: € 398,250
One of the most celebrated small clay court tournaments, the Estoril Open in Portugal begins today with one top ten player and a bevy of others vying for the title in the picturesque setting of Estoril, which is nearby the capital city of Lisbon. This a combined event and WTA action will also be taking place.
Top 4 Seeds (who all receive 1st round byes)
1: Juan Martin Del Potro
2: Richard Gasquet
3: Stanislas Wawrinka
4: Albert Ramos
1st round matchups to watch:
Atilla Balazs vs. Bobby Reynolds
Bucharest semi-finalist Balazs will take on American Bobby Reynolds. Can he continue the momentum?
Matt Ebden vs. Albert Montanes
The big serving Aussie Ebden will try to knock off 7 seed Spanish grinder Albert Montanes.
Denis Istomin vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu
The 5 seed Istomin will have to deal with the still dangerous Mathieu.
Bjorn Phau vs. Fredrico Gil
The Portugese favorite and hometown player Gil will try to get off to a good start against the veteran Phau.
Top Seed Juan Martin Del Potro opens up his title defense against either wildcard Pedro Sousa or Rui Machado, both of Portugal. He could then face dangerous 7 seed Albert Montanes before a possible semi-final match up with 3 seed Stanislas Wawrinka or 5 seed Robin Haase. Atilla Balazs and Igor Andreev also lurk in the top half of the draw among others.
Wawrinka will face either a qualifier or Daniel Gimeno-Traver before a possible match-up with the Dutchman Haase or the veteran Russian Andreev. Haase opens up against Simone Bolleli of Italy.
2 seed Richard Gasquet opens up his quest against either fellow Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin or Italian Paolo Lorezni. He will then have to deal with 8 seed Flavio Cipolla, Argentina Diego Junquiera or a qualifier before a possible semi-final match-up with Albert Ramos or Denis Istomin.
Ramos, the 4 seed, will open against either Gil or Phau before a possible match-up with Istomin, Mathieu or one of the Portuguese wild cards (Joao Sousa or Gastao Elias).
Dark Horse: Paolo Lorenzi
The veteran Italian who has reached two clay court challenger level finals this year in Sarasota and San Luis Potosí opens up with Edouard Roger Vasselin, and if he advances, will face the notoriously inconsistent Richard Gasquet. If he can knock off Gasquet, the rest of his matches should be manageable as he could face fellow Italian Flavio Cipolla and Casablanca finalist Albert Ramos (or 5 seed Istomin).
Dark Horse Lorenzi
Wawrinka d. Del Potro
Wawrinka d. Lorenzi
Wawrinka, who has reached two semi-finals on clay this year (Acapulco and Buenos Aires), will try to earn his first ATP title in over a year.