Top seed Pablo Carreno Busta was made to work after claiming a one-sided opening set against Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Saturday, fighting through 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(5) to book a spot into the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open final.
Carreno Busta improved to 3-1 in the ATP Head2Head after claiming his third clay-court victory over his countryman in Marbella. Their fourth clash seemed like it was going to be a quick win for Carreno Busta, who soon took control on Estadio Manolo Santana.
“It was so close. I don’t know what happened in the second set,” Carreno Busta said in an on-court interview. “At the beginning of the match, I was very focussed on my game and being aggressive. After that, Albert of course started to push [back] more and [I] started to lose my level a little bit.
“I just kept fighting all the time, and I want to thank everyone [in the crowd] for their support. This is what we missed last year, the crowd. It’s very important to play these kinds of very close matches with a crowd like this.”
The top seed was overpowering Ramos-Vinolas from the baseline, and finding joy by injecting variety into their exchanges with changes of pace and quick hands at the net. Carreno Busta took a commanding 5-0 lead before Ramos-Vinolas found his footing, but he was soon in for a battle as his countryman found his range in the second set.
Ramos-Vinolas’ serve was firing, and he raised his level to take control of the rallies. In the opening set, Ramos-Vinolas won only one point from 10 off of his second serve, and was hitting 56 per cent (14/25) of first serves. He had greatly improved his numbers and found more first serves (21/28) in the second. For the 12th time in his last 13 matches, Ramos-Vinolas sent them into a deciding set (8-3).
The fourth seed carried that positive momentum as he bossed proceedings in the decider, and was two points from victory as he served for the match at 5-4. But a double fault and errant forehand from Ramos-Vinolas handed Carreno Busta a lifeline to level the score at 5-5. He needed three match points in the decider, sealing the victory after two hours and 11 minutes for a spot into his eighth career final.
Carreno Busta awaits the winner of #NextGenATP Carlos Alcaraz and Jaume Munar in the all-Spanish championship match. He is seeking his first title since 2019 Chengdu.
Did You Know?
Four players from the same country are in the semi-finals of an ATP Tour event for the first time in 17 years (2004 Valencia). Now and then, four Spaniards accomplished the feat at a clay court event in Spain held in the month of April.