Carreno Busta Unseats Defending Estoril Champion
Ferrer advances on Friday
Top seed Pablo Carreno Busta got revenge over defending Millennium Estoril Open champion Nicolas Almagro, avenging a loss to his fellow Spaniard in last year’s final with a comfortable 6-2, 6-4 quarter-final win on Friday.
"I've played a lot of tough matches, so I think I'm better than last year," said Carreno Busta. "I got lot of first serves in, which is important in these conditions, but I also don't think this was Nico's best match."
Carreno Busta evens his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Almagro at 1-1 with the victory. He picked up his 20th ATP World Tour win of the season and moves into his fifth ATP World Tour semi-final of 2017. The Spaniard is seeking his second final of the year after finishing runner-up this February in Rio de Janeiro (l. Thiem).
Awaiting him in the semi-finals is another Spaniard in fourth seed David Ferrer, who continued his resurgence this week with a dominant 6-4, 6-0 win over Ryan Harrison. Ferrer boosts his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Harrison to 4-0, but this is his first win over the American without dropping a set.
Ferrer is through to his first ATP World Tour semi-final of the season. He snapped a five-match losing streak with his opening-round win on Thursday over fellow wild card Frederico Ferreira Silva. The veteran leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Carreno Busta 1-0, but they haven’t played in three years.
"Pablo is improving his game every year. He has very good shots with great power. He's very complete," said Ferrer. "Tomorrow is going to be tough because he's playing the best tennis of his career, but we'll see what happens."
Kevin Anderson scored the upset of the day over second seed Richard Gasquet 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(4). The big-serving South African moves to 5-2 on clay this season after reaching the third round in Barcelona. He also improves his FedEx ATP Head2Head against Gasquet to 4-5 and has won their past two matches.
Next up for Anderson is third seed Gilles Muller, who rallied from a set down to defeat Taro Daniel 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 in a match that ended after midnight. This is Muller's first ATP World Tour semi-final on clay. The 33-year-old Luxembourg native has been enjoying his best year on tour, winning his first ATP World Tour title this January in Sydney and reaching a career-high this February of No. 27 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Muller and Anderson are even in their FedEx ATP Head2Head at 2-2, but have never played on clay.
"It was very frustrating because I had chances to win the first set. I told myself I shouldn't be losing focus like that and just tried to regroup because Taro was playing well. I started to refocus and hit more aggressively and I played well at the end," said Muller. "I'm expecting a tough match against Kevin. He was in the Top 10 and then had some injuries, but now he's back playing very strongly."
David Marrero and Tommy Robredo are through to the final after winning an all-Spanish battle against Almagro and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 4-6, 10-8. They'll play either Harrison and Michael Venus or Ariel Behar and Aliaksandr Bury in Sunday's championship match.