Favourite Emerges In Upset-Filled Ecuador Open
Upsets reigned again on Friday at the Ecuador Open, but a strong favourite managed to avoid the bug and emerged as the favourite heading into the final two days of the ATP World Tour 250 event.
Second seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas beat Austria's Gerald Melzer 6-2, 6-4 to reach his third semi-final in Quito and his first of the season. The 30-year-old Spaniard pounced on Melzer's second serve, winning 70 per cent of those points (16/23).
Ramos-Vinolas will play in his first ATP World Tour semi-final since making the 2017 Monte-Carlo final (l. to Nadal). Ramos-Vinolas has fallen in his previous two Quito semi-finals, but he's the only remaining player in Quito who has won an ATP World Tour title (2016 Bastad).
Ramos-Vinolas will next meet Brazil's Thiago Monteiro, who denied Gael Monfils his his second semi-final of the season (Doha) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Monteiro, No. 118, is through to his first ATP World Tour semi-final of the year.
On the other half of the draw, Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena eliminated eighth seed Nicolas Jarry of Chile 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(5) to become the first qualifier (since 2015) to make the Ecuador Open semi-finals. The 24-year-old Granada resident overcame 14 aces from Jarry and will meet another qualifier Andrej Martin in the semi-finals.
The 28-year-old Martin continued one of the best weeks of his career on Quito's red clay. A day after celebrating his first Top 10 win against World No. 10 and top seed Pablo Carreno Busta, the Slovakian qualifier won his fourth match in a row, knocking out #NextGenATP Frenchman Corentin Moutet 6-3, 6-4. Both players had their chances: Martin saved eight of 11 break points, Moutet 10 of 15.
Carballes Baena (2014 Casablanca) and Martin (2016 Umag) will both be playing in their second ATP World Tour semi-final.
“I'm really happy I could manage to win in two sets and save energy for tomorrow,” Martin said. “I really like to play here in these conditions... If I play well I can beat really good guys. I'm really happy that I've proved again that I can make good results in the big tournaments, the ATP tournaments.”