Ramos-Vinolas Is Exceptional This Week In Estoril

Albert Ramos-Vinolas (photo: @EstorilOpen/Twitter)

ESTORIL/WASHINGTON, May 2, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

Albert Ramos-Vinolas capped an exceptional week on red clay by winning the ATP 250 Millennium Estoril Open Sunday evening for his third career title on the ATP Tour. All of them have been won on clay.

Set against the Portuguese Riviera, this battle of left-handed hitters pitting the 46th-ranked Ramos-Vinolas and Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie rewarded the 33-year-old Spaniard from Barcelona. He rallied from a set and a break down to win 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3). It stymied the No. 50 Norrie from winning his first ATP Tour singles crown in his second tour final.

The two hour and 44-minute title match at Estadio Millennium was played without spectators, but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of either finalist. Ramos-Vinolas, whose only dropped set the entire week came at the start of the title match, hit eight aces, won 64 percent of his service points and 43 percent of his return points, which bettered the South African-born Norrie in each statistical category.

Ramos-Vinolas, who succeeded by relying on a blistering forehand, did not commit any unforced errors during the third-set tie break. He won the last four points, including match point in which Norrie hit a backhand long. The victory improved Ramos-Vinolas’ career head-to-head against the London resident to 3-0, with his other wins against Norrie coming in the first round of the 2018 Davis Cup and at Barcelona in 2019.

The victory was the 16th on clay this year for Ramos-Vinolas, who improved to 16-5 on red dirt. He has seven more clay victories this season than Pablo Carreño Busta, Federico Delbonis and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who each have nine. Meanwhile, Norrie, who shared the 2018 Estoril doubles title with Kyle Edmund, arrived at Sunday’s final after impressive wins over second seed Cristian Garin and sixth seed Marin Cilic.

“I had some good wins,” Norrie said. “It is obviously disappointing to come unstuck today, but I am playing well on clay and moving better and better. … It was a great week and I can take a lot of positives, but [there] is a lot of stuff to work on as well.”

During the trophy presentation, Ramos-Vinolas said: “It means a lot [to win the title]. I won three tournaments in my career, so this is one of the best three weeks in my career. I am really happy.

“It was a really difficult match against Cameron. I think he played a really good tournament. I am happy for me, but he is a really good friend of mine and I am sorry for him, because I think he deserved to win the tournament as [much as] me.”

For winning this ATP 250 title, Ramos-Vinolas collects  41,145 euros and 250 ATP Rankings points, while Norrie will receive 29,500 euros and 150 ATP Rankings points.

Nys and Puetz win first ATP Tour doubles title together

Hugo Nys of Monaco and Tim Puetz of Germany won their first ATP Tour doubles title together at the Millennium Estoril Open in just their second event as a team. They survived an 89-minute match tie-break victory over Luke Bambridge and Dominic Inglot, both of Great Britain, 7-5, 3-6, 10-3.

Previously, Nys and Puetz were semifinalists last month at the AnyTech35 Andalucia Open in Marbella, Spain. This week, they reached their first final by defeating the No. 2 seeds Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben McLachlan of Japan in Friday’s semifinal round, 3-6, 6-4, 14-12.

“We are very, very happy,” Puetz said. “We have known each other for a very long time and we have just recently decided to play more tournaments together. It has been a really good start. We have won a Challenger at the beginning of the year (Biella 2), made the semifinals in Marbella and now won here.

“We just want to keep improving. This is a really great week and it is a very [good] tournament. We have beaten four very good teams. … I am definitely very happy and I am sure Hugo feels the same.”