Gomez Returns To Challenger Salinas Final

Emilio Gomez (photo: SalinasOpenEC/Armando Prado)


Ecuador’s No. 1 Emilio Gomez showed a solid performance on Friday evening and qualified for the final of the Challenger de Salinas Copa Banco Guayaquil presented by CNT. The top seed of the $53,120 ATP Challenger Tour hard-court tournament defeated sixth favourite Alexander Ritschard from Switzerland 6-2, 6-2 in the stage of the last four.

Gomez saved all eight break points he faced and converted four of his own eight break-point opportunities to advance after one hour and 20 minutes.

“I am very happy. I felt very good today,” Gomez said. “I think it was one of the best matches this week. Being in the final here in Salinas makes me very happy.”

The World No. 148 is the tournament’s defending champion, as he beat Nicolas Jarry for the title in Ecuador’s largest coastal resort in May last year. Due to the coronavirus crisis, the 2021 edition was held without spectators.

“Obviously this year it is much more electric, because the fans motivate you a lot. I felt very similar support in Miami which helped me to go through a very tough moment and now I’m playing at a very good level. No matter what happens, tomorrow I am going to leave everything on the court and I have to continue the process that I am in.”

After his win in the semi-finals, Emilio received a greeting and hug from his father, 1990 Roland-Garros champion Andres Gomez Santos, who is the director of the Challenger Salinas tournament.

Moreno de Alboran defeats Quiroz

The 30-year-old Guayaquil native will take on Nicolas Moreno de Alboran in the title match. The 24-year-old US-American outlasted Roberto Quiroz from Ecuador 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and 48 minutes. Moreno de Alboran outpointed his rival 104-97.

“It was tough against a local favourite, which makes it always an intense match,” the New York-born of Spanish parents said afterwards. “It will also be a very tough final, but that’s what we’re here for.”

World No. 288 Moreno de Alboran, a winner of three titles on the ITF World Tennis Tour, will appear in his first final on the ATP Challenger Tour. Gomez could clinch his second career crown. The pair will meet for the first time.