Carreno Busta Wins All-Spanish Estoril SF
Muller defeats Anderson in second semi-final
Top seed Pablo Carreno Busta continued his outstanding form on Saturday at the Millennium Estoril Open, storming into the final with a 6-3, 6-3 win over fourth seed and fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.
Carreno Busta picks up his 21st win in 2017 and is through to the final in Estoril for the second straight year, having finished runner-up last year to Nicolas Almagro. The World No. 21 in the Emirates ATP Rankings is into his second ATP World Tour final of the season after also recording a runner-up finish in Rio de Janeiro (l. Thiem).
He will play third seed Gilles Muller in Sunday’s championship after the Luxembourg native defeated Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-4 to reach his first ATP World Tour clay-court final. The 33 year old is enjoying his best year on tour, winning his first title this January in Sydney and reaching a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 27 the following month.
Carreno Busta and Muller are even in their FedEx ATP Head2Head at 1-1, but the Spaniard won their most recent match in the 2015 Estoril quarter-finals.
The semi-final showdown between Carreno Busta and Ferrer opened with lengthy rallies fitting for clay-court tennis. Ferrer handed the top seed a break of serve at 2-3 in the first set with two double faults and a backhand error. Carreno Busta struggled trying to close out the set at 5-3, with four set points flying by after a pair of forehand errors from Carreno Busta and pair of forehand winners from Ferrer. But Carreno Busta made good on his fifth chance after Ferrer sent a backhand long.
Former World No. 3 Ferrer found himself playing catch-up from the start of the second set, saving three break points for a hold in his opening service game. Carreno Busta came through with a break of serve at 2-2 and hit a backhand volley winner on his first match point to close out the contest in one hour and 21 minutes.
Carreno Busta evens his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Ferrer at 1-1.
The end of the opening set between Muller and Anderson was filled with twists and turns. Anderson saved five break points on his serve at 4-4, but Muller erased three set points serving at 4-5 with a strong first serve, forehand winner and an ace. The third seed converted on the lone break point of the match at 5-5 with a backhand error from Anderson and then comfortably held serve to take the early lead.
Muller started the second set with a break of serve after an Anderson backhand found the net. The slight advantage was all Muller needed as he continued to easily hold serve to prevail in one hour and 38 minutes. He now leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Anderson 3-2.
Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus are through to the final after saving three match points to defeat Ariel Behar and Aliaksandr Bury 4-6, 7-6(7), 10-3. Behar/Bury squandered a match point trying to serve out the semi-final at 5-4 in the second set, and Harrison/Venus rallied from 4/6 in the second-set tie-break before ultimately prevailing in one hour and 40 minutes.
Harrison/Venus will play Spaniards David Marrero and Tommy Robredo in the championship match.