The final of the Andalucia Open in Marbella will be fought out by Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta, the top seed and the unseeded Jaume Munar who were well tested by two compatriots during their semi-final clashes on Saturday,
It was so close. I don’t know what happened in the second set, At the beginning of the match, I was very focussed on my game and being aggressive. After that, Albert of course started to push [back] more and [I] started to lose my level a little bit. Pablo Carreno Busta
For instance, Carreno Busta was pushed hard by the fourth seed Albert Ramos Vinolas after claiming a one-sided opening set. It took him two hours and 14-minutes to finally dismiss his fellow compatriot 6-1 3-6 7-6(5) for a third time in four meetings and book his allotted spot in the AnyTech365 sponsored ATP 250 tournament final being held on the courts of the Puente Romano complex.
“It was so close. I don’t know what happened in the second set,” Carreno Busta said in his on-court interview.
“At the beginning of the match, I was very focussed on my game and being aggressive. After that, Albert of course started to push [back] more and [I] started to lose my level a little bit.
“I just kept fighting all the time, and I want to thank everyone [in the crowd] for their support. This is what we missed last year, the crowd. It’s very important to play these kinds of very close matches with a crowd like this.”
Their difference in ranking was evident in the opening set as the tournament favourite controlled the match from the baseline with changes of pace and excellent touches at the net.
He led 5-0 before Ramos Vinolas finally got his side of the score-board working but once he did, the match was transformed and a real battle ensued between two clay court specialists as he came within two points of becoming a finalist. A double fault and a loose forehand handed the initiative back to the 29-year-old Carreno Busta but he didn’t seal a place in his eighth final until his third match point.
He will meet first-time ATP Tour finalist Munar, a 23-year-old fellow Barcelona resident, who won though by winning a gruelling 7-6(4) 6-4 battle against 17-year-old Carlo Alcaraz, one of Spain’s bright hopes for the future.
He was in fact contesting his ninth match at the venue having reached the Challenger final played there last week for the second year in a row.
He made an impressive start to this week by eliminating the second seeded Fabio Fognini for the loss of just three games.
In his semi-final he managed to contain the impressive powerful strokes which have brought Alcaraz to the tennis world’s attention.
“I feel happy and excited. I’ve been working a lot during the past [few] months,” Munar said after his two hour match. “It’s a gift for me to be here in a final, and especially in Marbella which is one of my favourite places. I feel excited… I have no words.”
And the experience of his first final at ATP Tour level doesn’t faze him.
“A difficult match for sure, but I’ve been through difficult matches all week long. Pablo is also a very hard hitter and an intense player,” Munar said. “It’s going to be something similar [to playing Alcaraz] but of course, Pablo has a lot more experience. He has won titles in the last years, and he’s one of the best players in the world. We know each other a lot. I have all the best wishes for tomorrow, but it’s going to be a tough one.”
In Sardinia, Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego staved off a fightback from second-seeded American Taylor Fritz and will meet Serbia’s defending champion Laslo Djere in the Sardegna Open final in Cagliari on Saturday.
Sonego is one step away from becoming the first Italian for 15 years to capture an ATP tour clay-court title on home soil.
Third-seeded Sonego held off a spirited comeback from Fritz to prevail 6-4 5-7 6-1 while Djere in the other semi-final dominated fourth-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili, of Georgia, to win 6-2 6-0 in a match that lasted just 52 minutes.