The Millennium Estoril Open 2019 has come to an end, crowning Stefanos Tsitsipas as its fifth champion. In a tough battle, the Greek ousted Pablo Cuevas in two sets 6-3, 7-6(4).
One-way first set to Tsitsipas
In the first set, Stefanos Tsitsipas dominated the match. He started to serve and closed the game very easily. In the second game of the set, there was the first deuce but Pablo Cuevas managed to win the game in the next two points. In the fourth game, the first break of service appeared and, after two breakpoints, Tsitsipas broke his opponent to take the lead by 3-1. After being down 0-30 in the next game, the ATP ranked tenth won four points in a row to hold his serve 4-1. Cuevas was putting more pressure on his foe and when he was down 2-4, he made the game go to deuce, however, the younger player won the game. Tsitsipas was up 5-3 serving for the set and closed the set in a game he held at love.
Second set tight set to give the trophy to the Greek
Stefanos broke Cuevas serve to start the second set. The Uruguayan won just one point in that game, giving the game to his opponent. The 20 years old player had another chance to break his foe in the third game but couldn't do it. It was being an intense match and Pablo made a lot of pressure on Stefanos' service to break it at love and level the set at four games all. After a break at love, nothing better than a hold at love, and that's what the lowest ranked player did to be up 5-4. It was a decisive game and Stefanos Tsitsipas needed to win it if he wanted to stay with chances of closing the match in that set but the South-American didn't make it easy as he pushed the game to four deuces. He had a set point however Tsitsipas saved it and closed this very long game.
Cuevas made the 6-5 and then Stefanos leveled it in a tight game to take the set to a tie-break. In the tie-break, the Greek won the first four points. Soon, the Uruguayan seemed too lost and received a code violation for ball abuse. This was his second code violation what led to a point penalty, giving Tsitsipas a match point. Down 1-6 in the tie-break and after the point penalty, Cuevas approached the umpire Carlos Bernardes raising his end to give up on the match but the umpire advised him not to do that as it was a match point. Pablo played the point and even won it and the next few. After a lot of tension, Stefanos Tsitsipas served it out in the fourth match point to close the match and claim the title by 6-3, 7-6(4).
"Right now, I could be happier but I can't forget that I had a very good week. I faced a very good player...", said the Uruguayan. Talking on the point penalty and on if that had something to do with his loss, he said "No, think no. I guess the difference was a lot, like 5-1 to 6-1. I had many opportunities to turn the match around and it wasn't that what helped to close the match."
"I think I just let him come back. I was a bit hesitant at that moment. I started thinking: 'is he going to fight for a break?' Mentally, I was not so much prepared to dominate that game and that's why he just got it so easy. I think it was mostly mental and that was wrong from me. I shouldn't have been thinking negatively in that specific moment. It was kind of frustrating because it just felt I was giving away free points to him. He's a veteran, he's been playing for many many years on the tour, so he knows all those tricks, all these small things: how to come back, he has experienced this hundred of times, more than me. It wasn't easy.", told Tsitsipas to the press about the 4-4 of the second set. He even added, "I think the match today was decided by my mental part, the mental strength that I showed on the court.".
The world number ten told to the press: "Feelings are ok. To be honest I still feel I can improve things in order to get matches like this easier and not give my opponent chances to fight back because I did that today and other players could have dealt with these kinds of situations better. I could've paid for it later."
About his first clay-court title, he said "I'm happy that I got the victory at the end and overwhelmed that Estoril is my first clay-court title. It's very special for me to be on Portuguese soil."
Stefanos Tsitsipas will head to Madrid, where he will play either Adrian Mannarino or João Sousa.
Pablo Cuevas is going to play in Aix en Provence for the ATP Challenger Tour.
Jérémy Chardy and Fabrice Martin defeated Luke Bambridge and Jonny O'Mara 7-5, 7-6(3) to win their second title of the season.