Estoril | Hurkacz and Ruud successfully open their clay court campaigns

British interest in the Estoril Open, a clay court ATP 250 level event in Portugal, came to an end in the second round with Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, the second seed, eliminating qualifier Jan Choinski 7-6(5) 6-4.

It has been challenging playing the first match of the year on the clay court. You have to adjust to the movement and [I did not] have that much time to prepare for the tournament, it is difficult Hubert Hurkacz

For the Pole it was his first win on the surface this season having received a first-round bye as the second seed, and it sees him settling into the quarter finals where he faces another qualifier, this time a Spaniard, Pablo Llamas Ruiz after he beat countryman David Jorda Sanchis, a Lucky Loser, 7-6(2) 6-4.

Hurkacz didn’t have it all his way as the 27-year-old Brit led him 5-3 in the opening set, but his greater experience eventually paid off after one-hour, 49-minutes of play.

“It was positive. I got the win in the end,” said Hurkacz who has yet to win a title this season. “It has been challenging playing the first match of the year on the clay court. You have to adjust to the movement and [I did not] have that much time to prepare for the tournament, it is difficult.

“It is a little bit frustrating as you know you are not doing the right stuff and wish you felt more comfortable on the surface. You just have to deal with it and fight.”


Casper Ruud pictured celebrating his title win last year.

(Photo by Zed Jameson/MB Media/Getty Images)

Meanwhile the top seed and defending champion, Casper Ruud successfully opened his title defence following an opening round bye, with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp.

The Norwegian did have to face two break points which hardly hindered his progress into the last eight after 75-minutes.

Ruud who has won nine of his ten titles on clay (his last being12 months ago at Estoril) will have a much trickier match when he takes on Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics who beat the entertaining French veteran, Gael Monfils 1-6 6-1 7-5.

Another French veteran, Richard Gasquet, a Lucky Loser entry but a former Estoril champion, overcame the former US Open Champion from Austria, Dominic Thiem 6-4 7-6(6) saving two set points in the second set tiebreak but eventually triumphing on his second match point after two-hours, three-minutes.

In the quarter finals, Gasquet will face Spain’s Pedro Martinez who beat his countryman Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5 6-4.

The home crowds though will be rooting for their No.1 player Nuno Borges who progressed after downing the third seed, Italian Lorenzo Musetti 7-6(4) 6-3 in one-hour and 37-minutes.

Borges, who saved two set points on serve at 5-6 in the first set, is chasing his maiden tour-level title this week and is the first Portuguese player to reach the last eight in his home event since Joao Domingues in 2019.





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