29 Apr - 17:52

Portuguese armada thrives on home soil

Round one of the Qualifying got underway this Sunday after heavy showers forced Millennium Estoril Open organizer to postpone all matches scheduled for day one.

No less than five Portuguese players were called to action, starting with João Domingues who had opening match honors on Estádio Millenium. The former Portuguese national champ was leading Italian Alessandro Giannessi 4-1 when play was stopped on Saturday and he continued the winning momentum by winning the first set 7-5. The second set was a one sided affair with Domingues effectively overpowering his opponent with a 6-1 to close out the match in 1h16 and book his spot in round two of the qualifying, where he’ll face Frenchman Corentin Moutet who defeated Italian Salvatore Caruso (7-6 2-6 6-4).

Fred Gil, the only Portuguese player to reach the final of the ATP250 in Portugal (2010, lost to Albert Montañes), returned to winning ways in Estoril defeating Frenchman Kenny de Schepper in three sets, 6-4 1-6 6-4. In the first matchup between the two players, the former No. 62 ATP needed 1h38 to book his first win in the 2018 edition of Millennium Estoril Open. In round two Gil will face American Tim Smyczek, who defeated Portuguese wildcard Francisco Cação in straight sets (6-2, 6-1).

Fred Gil. Photo: Millennium Estoril Open

João Monteiro, galvanised by the home crowd, came back from 1-5 in the decider to defeat Stephane Robert of France in the comeback story of the day. The 24-year-old Portuguese won 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 and sealed his first ATP World Tour win in a packed Estádio Millennium after a battle of nearly two and a half hours. Next up for Monteiro is Spaniard Ricardo Ojeda Lara, who took a straight sets win over Kazak Alexander Bublik (7-5, 6-1).

Portuguese wildcard Tiago Cação put up a spirited fight against Jaume Munar but the Spaniard came up on top, winning 7-5 and 6-3 in 1h20.