João Sousa: "It's always special winning at home"
The Millennium Estoril Open defending champion talked about his sixth consecutive victory in the tournament.
"I was feeling pretty nervous, but I was capable of dealing well with it". That's how João Sousa started the post-match press conference, pointing out that his "main goal was to win and it has been achieved".
It took him over two hours to win the match, 6-4, 2-6 and 6-2. The Guimarães player says Alexei Popyrin is "an excellent player, who serves really well, and makes the most of his forehand when he has time to dominate the point". João Sousa assumed he was surprised by aussie's defensive skills, describing him as a "false slow-moving player", since he moves quickly despite his substantial height (6,34 ft). "I'm sure he is about to produce great results", he said.
Considering it was a stressful match, João Sousa himself confessed to be "tired", which might have been caused by a particular circumstance: "It's perfectly normal that a portuguese player feels nervous playing in Portugal. Rafa (Nadal) has always told me that the most difficult thing in the world is playing in your own country".
To get over the complicated situation, the world number 51 relied on the support of the portuguese crowd. "They were really helpful, specially during the first set. They cheered me up in every second, even when I was down to 1-4, and then I won five games in a row. It's not easy to play when you're nervous, but the crowd helped me staying focused and playing at a good level."
"It's always delightful and special playing and winning in Portugal", concluded João Sousa - whom will have the fourth seed belgian David Goffin ahead of him next round.