Montanes lifts Estoril crown
Albert Montanes followed up his semi-final win over Roger Federer with victory against Frederico Gil in the Estoril Open final.
By Rachel Griffiths
Last Updated: 09/05/10 7:22pm
Albert Montanes followed up his semi-final win over top-ranked Roger Federer with victory against home favourite Frederico Gil in the Estoril Open final on Sunday.
Spaniard Montanes, the fourth seed, struggled in the second set but managed to withstand Gil's fightback to secure a narrow 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 triumph and raise the trophy for second successive year.
Montanes, ranked 34th in the world, has now got his eye on Roland Garros following his impressive run of form.
"It's great to win the trophy again, especially after beating Federer here," said Montanes.
"It was a real battle between us and I'm just glad I was able to come through, it feels great and gives me more confidence going into the French Open."
Unseeded Gil, the first Portuguese player to reach the final in Estoril, made a convincing start, winning his first game without losing a point.
But clay-court specialist Montanes established his dominance by breaking the world number 133 in the fifth and seventh games to take the opening set.
The Spaniard then looked on course to wrap up the match in the second as he executed a series of finely-placed drop shots and backhand cross-court drives, but Gil rallied to save two match points at 5-4 before battling to win the tiebreak.
It appeared Gil could upset the fourth seed when he took a 3-0 lead in the decider, but Montanes regained control over the tiring local favourite to close out the win.
"I'm really happy to have reached the final," said Gil.
"It was a great match, I was leading 3-0 in the third set but I couldn't maintain the level to the end. He is a very experienced player and he got the title.
"I want to compliment Montanes, who stayed there all the time and forced me to play my best tennis. He never stopped running and that is why he is ranked in the 30s and I'm at number 134."