The 2019 ATP Estoril quarterfinals are in the books, highlighted by David Goffin and Stefanos Tsitsipas finding form on the clay and reaching the semis.
Stefanos Tsitsipas defeats Joao Domingues 7-6(3) 6-4
Stefanos Tsitsipas faced a familiar match in Estoril, playing once again against a local player (after losing to Joao Sousa in last year semifinals). Domingues, in a good streak after reaching Alicante quarterfinals and Tunis final at Challenger level, was granted of a WC by the tournament organization for the qualifying draw. Domingues qualified without dropping a set (defeating Elias Ymer and Filippo Baldi) and produced an early upset by taking a win against the next generation player Alex De Minaur, coached by Lleyton Hewitt, who is coming back to the tour after an injury. Benefiting from John Millman’s retirement, Domingues reached his first quarterfinals at ATP tour level. Stefanos Tsitsipas prevailed, but the Portuguese player, ranked 214, proved to be a good test for the Greek.
In the third game of the match, Domingues got an early break, which he maintained until serving for the set, game in which he got broken after leading 30*-0. After the break, the Portuguese player took Tsitsipas to a difficult position by earning a set point on the Greek’s serve, however Tsitsipas raised his level on that tight moment, taking the match to a first set tiebreak. In this last stage of the first set, the Greek once again started from a difficult position, suffering two consecutive minibreaks but recovering his game and winning the next five points in order to take the set by 7-6(3).
In the second set, Tsitsipas got the control of the game, earning break points in the first Domingues service games and breaking to put himself on a lead of 4*-3. Domingues broke back, and after that Tsitsipas raised once again the level in order to win the next two games and close the match by 7-6(3) 6-4.
David Goffin defeats Malek Jaziri 4-6 7-6(4) 6-2
David Goffin won with plenty of suffering on a sunny afternoon in Estoril. The Belgium player, which is struggling in getting back to his best shape after past injuries, started the match with a comfortable 3-1 lead but after that he ended up losing five consecutive games and consequently the first set. Goffin was missing balls specially on his forehand side, landing a lot of forehands short in the net. In the second set, a strong start from David put him once again on a double break lead with 5-2. In that moment Jaziri changed its tactics and started to slice and keep the points long, as Goffin started to miss balls and lose confidence on his game. The match was given to a tiebreak in which Goffin managed to keep his game, taking the match to the deciding set. Lastly, in the third set, the Belgium find consistency on his strokes and controlled the rallies against a Jaziri which started to rush the net more often, playing entertaining tennis for the crowd but not taking the edge of the rallies.
David Goffin now will face Stephanos Tsitsipas. David is playing in Estoril after being granted of a WC which he asked, as the Belgium is pointing to recover the shape and confidence which bring him to a career highest ranking of 7th on the ATP Ranking as of end of the 2017 season.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina defeats Gael Monfils 6(2)-7 7-5 6-4
The 19 year old Spaniard continues his dream run in Estoril. Davidovich Fokina, who obtained his first ATP main draw victory on Tuesday against Taylor Fritz, is now on the verge of an ATP 250 final, being they clay-court veteran Pablo Cuevas the last hurdle before the finish line. Nothing came out of luck, as Alejandro played at a high level today in order to defeat Gael Monfils. In the first set, Davidovich initial nervous put him on a break down situation, which he fixed in the eight game. After exchanging another round of breaks between the players, the tie break was dominated by the French, who won the first set. Davidovich threw the racket onto the floor, showing how much he cared about the match and how temperamental is him inside of the courts. In the second set, the level of high quality tennis was maintained. Both players played with high first serve percentages but the effectiveness of the first and second serve has been really similar, slightly up from the 50% coin-toss barrier. The variety on the points was very good: long rallies, short ones, baseline rallies, serve-and-volley approaches,… In long rallies, Monfils game evidenced that it is far from its best and that the reliability of his strokes is still the most important point to fix on his tennis. Finally, in the deciding 3rd seet, Davidovich prevailed by confirming a break on his favor.
In the press conference after the match, Davidovich expressed how much respect he has for Monfils (as a great player and as a legend of this sport). The Spaniard has also got, during today, a WC for the Main Draw in Madrid.
Pablo Cuevas defeats Frances Tiafoe 6-0 6(5)-7 6-2
Pablo Cuevas imposed his clay-court based gamestyle against Frances Tiafoe, who was defending last year’s final (which he lost against Joao Sousa). After an erratic start from Tiafoe, Cuevas took profit of it and started playing really good strokes, which made him win the set. In the second one, the American next generation player started to connect his racket with the balls, producing easy holds on his service games and leaving the match to a tie break where his serve proved to be better than Cuevas ones. In the deciding set, Cuevas recovered its composture and played solid tennis in order to close te match by a double-break lead.
Cuevas will play against a Davidovich Fokina for a spot in an ATP final. The Urugayan has been adding matches under its belt, and he has found himself on a good shape for the next very important clay tournaments to come.