ATP Tour

Almagro ends four-year title drought at Estoril

2016-05-01 21:20
Nicolas Almagro (AFP)

Estoril - Nicolas Almagro ended a title drought lasting four years on Sunday when the experienced Spanish clay-courter defeated younger compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 to win the Estoril Open.

The victory in nearly three hours of struggle, marked the first title for the 30-year-old Almagro since winning Nice on clay in May, 2012.

The world number 71 has spent much of the last few seasons coming back from injury but he boosted his growing confidence with the approach of Roland Garros by lifting the 13th trophy of his career.

"Every event is tough, with Roland Garros coming up, things are really tight. Everyone wants to be ready for the French Open," said the winner.

"It's great to win a title after so long, it was a battle today with Pablo, who was playing really well.

"I've improved during the week, I've been losing a lot of matches that I should have won. I'm looking for my tennis again. But I'm gaining more confidence with my game."

Almagro made life difficult for himself throughout each of the first two sets, lasting a total of two hours.

He finally took command with a break early in the final set and escaped for victory on a third match point with the 13th trophy of his career.

Earlier, Almagro was unable to serve out the opening set and also lost a 6-2 lead in the ensuing tiebreaker.

Carreno Busta, ranked 50th and twice a finalist this season, saved four Almagro set points before seizing the opening set on his own first opportunity.

But Almagro rallied in the second as he battled back, earning and losing a break to enter a second tiebreaker, which he won to square the match at a set each.

Almagro broke in the third game of the final set and rode the margin out to the narrow win on his third match point.

The champion had lost the Buenos Aires final this season, with Estoril the 23rd final of his career.


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