Four semifinalists in direct speech
After this Saturday’s matches, we got to listen to the protagonists of the day.
“It was a tough match and that was exactly what I needed. A great fight, with great intensity. We both had chances to win, but was a little bit better in the end. There were not many points where I could make the difference, in a match where the ascendant has changed many times. I’ve had opportunities, mas he saved them all with a wonderful tennis.
It’s been a positive week for me. I came to gather some pace. I’ve had three matches and I played well today, despite losing.”
“I just loved the match today, it was really tough and proved once again that I like this kind of challenges and I’m capable of producing good results under pressure. It was hard to believe I still could win the match while I was facing break points in the third set, and I managed to saved them. From that moment on, I was born again. I feel like I’m getting better dealing with adverse situations.
He played really well, returned at his best level and put a lot of pressure on me because he was stepping on the baseline, a different tactic then the ones he used when we met for the last times.”
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
“It’s been an incredible week, one of the best of my my life. Pablo (Cuevas) was really consistent was I was really tired because of the match against Monfils and that caused great damage. I tried everything to beat him, but I couldn’t make it.”
“It’s been an atypical week: I finished my participation at ATP 250 Budapest Friday around 7 pm and took an early flight to Portugal in the following morning so I could be playing here in the afternoon. Winning that first match gave me the possibility of playing qualifying’s last round, which later on gave the possibility of entering the final draw as a lucky loser. Then, I got to face precisely the player who had beaten me in the qualifying, which is something that doesn’t happen often. The truth is that I am really enjoying this week. It’s being a long way, but I’m happy to stay until the last day, witch chances of becoming champion.
Fokina also came to this match after many hours on court over the week. I noticed he was starting to feel less comfortable after I took the lead in the second set, and that made me feel a little bit more calm and also made me forget about my physical condition. I realized that I was in worst shape than I was. So I rolled up the sleeves and I knew I had to be consistent and withstand the moment.”
The winners of the day also made their predictions for this Sunday’s final.
“Cuevas is going to be a tough test for me. He is a clay court specialist and has won too many great players in this surface, so he knows what he needs to do. I’ll have to learn how to deal with his game plan.
I remember we faced each other in Antwerp. I played really well, but it was in an indoor hard court, which is different. I won’t even think about that match, it’s like it never happened. He is a different player on clay courts, where he has probably played five times more than I have.
I hope this Sunday I can do the same Sakari did (won her career’s first title in Rabat). It would sort of a “Greek combo”.
“Tsitsipas is a really young player, mas his short career has a lot of experience within it. One’s age isn’t the only thing that makes one experienced, but also the level of play one can produce. It’s going to be a tough match, he is one of the best players on tour and he usually plays really well in clay courts. I think I have enough tennis to face him and beat him. Now it’s time to take a rest so I can be confident and well prepared for a complicated match that obviously I want to win.
Before Budapest I had also played a challenger in Tunes, where I had many matches, but that also gives me confidence to win matches. I remember something Nadal said long ago: ‘You’re tired when you lose; It’s harder to be tired when you win’. In the last six months of 2018, I almost didn’t win a match, and that was when I was feeling tired and thinking of giving up. But now I’m happy and in shape. Yes, I’m tired. But the will to win is greater than that”.