Nico Stops Nick In Estoril

Millennium Estoril Open, Portugal

Men’s Semifinal: [20] Nicholas (Nick) Kyrgios (AUS) vs. [71] Nicolas Almagro (ESP)

Almagro is also coming back from injury.  Always a brilliant shot maker with an exquisite one-handed backhand, he has been a thorn in many of the top player’s side on many occasions.  Despite his ability, he has struggled with consistency.  When Almagro is focused he can beat the best; yet maintaining that focus on a day-to-day basis has been his Achilles’ heel.  He is a threat on any surface; however, he is dangerous on clay as documented by the fact that all his titles have come on this surface.  Kyrgios is the higher ranked player; however, it was always going to be a challenge for him to defeat Almagro on clay.  There is a certain mindset that a player has to master when playing on clay and Kyrgios has not done that as yet.  He competed much better in the second but it was delaying the inevitable.  Almagro elevated his game to get the 6-3, 7-5 victory.  Will Almagro win his first title since 2012 or will Pablo Carreno Busta claim his first career title tomorrow?



J&T Banka Prague Open, Czech Republic

Women’s Final: [16] Lucie Safarova (CZE) vs. [25] Samantha Stosur (AUS)

I have watched enough of Safarova to know that she will fight through her nerves and make her opponent win the match; thus, despite losing the first set, I knew that she would not quit. Stosur is not playing with a lot of confidence and this must have been in Safarova’s mind on the changeover.  Safarova has gotten so good at shrugging off disappointment, a result of the confidence gained from being physically and mentally fit.  Coming back from injury is never easy and Safarova has had a slew of first round losses, enough to test her fortitude; however, she believes in herself and it showed today.  Who would control their nerves and gain the victory?  We can never underestimate the advantage of playing at home for some players.  They seem to get better with the energy of the crowd; it fuels them to dig a little deeper.  That is exactly what Safarova did.  She dug deeper and played some brilliant tennis in the second set.  Stosur buckled under the weight of the crowd and Safarova’s shots.  The third set was much more competitive, but Safarova had the edge and used the crowd to spur her on to her seventh career singles title.  She defeated Stosur 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 and won her first title on home soil.

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