Garín crosses a desert in Estoril

The Chilean will seek his first final of 2024

April 05, 2024

By Staff

The Millennium Estoril Open is becoming a test of endurance for Cristian Garín, present in the semifinals of the Portuguese ATP 250 after going through a week full of obstacles. After a debut that was stretched out for three days by the rain, the Chilean weathered an intense atmosphere this Friday under the Cascais sun, with the public protecting his rival’s chances on clay tooth and nail.

The South American won 6-2, 7-6(4) against local icon Nuno Borges, whose communion with the stands turned the match into a true competitive hell. In an open duel until the end, with a suffocating second set of one hour and 38 minutes, the Chilean’s resistance was tested like few other times on the circuit. The best example was the effort maintained to make it 3-3 in the second set, a game in which Garín rowed for 32 points until making it clear that he would never give up.

“The atmosphere has been spectacular,” Garín highlighted in reference to the intensity that the stands imposed on the match. “We played a tight match, with a good level on the part of both of us. I understand the frustration of the public, but I gave my best trying to get the victory. I feel very happy to be in Portugal. Nuno has a great future and he will fantastic for years to come.

In a week where each advance weighs like lead, Garín will play the penultimate round against world No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz, a player who will have to be x-rayed without reference to a previous duel on the circuit. Present in the first semifinal of his career on clay, a real example of growth on the surface, the Pole will enter the match with the license to let his hand go after beating Spaniard Pablo Llamas 7-6(4), 6-4.

With three victories in his legs, a balm to regain the rhythm in his shots, Garín is already drawing the best week of the 2024 season. His climb to the Estoril semifinals allows the Chilean to virtually position himself as No. 101 in the PIF ATP Rankings, recovering part of the land necessary to guarantee its presence in the biggest events on the calendar. The South American, one of the main figures of Chilean tennis in the last decade, reached world No. 17 at the best moment of his career.

“In Chile we don’t have many academies or facilities, but we always had great figures,” said Garín, remembering national idols such as the Gildemeister brothers, Nicolás Massú or Fernando González. “I learned a lot from them since I was a child. Now they are close people to me and try to guide me in the decisions I make. It’s good to have them around.”

At the top of the draw, Pedro Martínez Portero imposed his stellar form to beat Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-4 and reach his second semifinal of the 2024 season. The Valencian, who was already one step away from seeking the trophy in Santiago, links eight consecutive victories after lifting the ATP Challenger Tour of Girona last week.

The Spaniard will face the current champion Casper Ruud in the penultimate round, winning 6-3, 6-2 against the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics in the match that closed the day in Estoril. The Norwegian, recent runner-up in Los Cabos and Acapulco, signs his third semifinal of the 2024 season. Ruud dominates the Lexus ATP Head2Head record 1-0 after winning the final in Kitzbühel in 2021.

Did you know…?
Cristian Garín has won his five ATP Tour titles on clay courts. The Chilean, respected on the surface as a former Roland Garros junior champion, has lifted trophies in Houston (2019), Munich (2019), Córdoba (2020), Rio de Janeiro (2020) and Santiago (2021). In Estoril he will try to put on the champion suit again on the circuit more than three seasons later.


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