ATP Quito: Monteiro stuns Monfils. Ramos-Vinolas and Martin reach QF

Tennis - Besides Andrej Martin, Roberto Carballes Baena is the other qualifier who advanced into the last four

by Jovica Ilic
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ATP Quito: Monteiro stuns Monfils. Ramos-Vinolas and Martin reach QF

World number 118 Thiago Monteiro will compete in his first ATP semi-final following a 6-4 2-6 6-4 win over the 3rd seed Gael Monfils in an hour and 50 minutes. The Brazilian won just four points more than the Frenchman but he defended his second serve better and he earned the crucial break in the ninth game of the deciding set for his biggest result on the Tour so far. Gael opted to play here instead of on the indoor hard court at home in Montpellier and he suffered an early setback, wasting four game points in the opening game of the match to get broken.

Thiago saved a break point with a service winner in game two and the servers did a good job in the rest of the set, with no more deuces or break points on either side. Monteiro found his range and he dropped just a single point in the last four service games to wrap up the opener in style with a forehand winner in game 10.

Gael raised his level in set number two, serving well and scoring two breaks to bring the set home and set up the decider. A left-handed Brazilian couldn't control his shots like in the opening set and he lost his serve in game two after a poor forehand.

Monfils closed the set with another break in game eight after a double fault from Thiago, and he was no the favorite to seal the deal in the third set and reach the semis. Instead of that, Monteiro recovered his strokes and he was on the level terms with Gael in the first eight games, with no break points and with just one deuce on Monfils' serve.

Monteiro made a crucial move when he forced an error from his rival in the ninth game and he crossed the finish line when Gael's forehand landed long in the following game to secure his first ever ATP semi-final appearance.

Another player ranked outside the Top 100, Andrej Martin, extended his great run with a 6-3 6-4 triumph over the French teenager Corentin Moutet in 2 hours for his first ATP semi-final since playing in the final of Umag back in 2016. The Slovak won 10 points more than his rival and he managed to play a little bit better on the break points, which made all the difference in this chaotic match with 26 chances for the returners overall.

Martin saved eight out of 11 break points he faced to limit the damage in his games and he won 51% of the return points to steal Moutet's serve five times from 15 opportunities he has earned. They traded breaks in games two and three and Moutet had to dig deep to remain on the positive side of the scoreboard, saving five break points in game six for a 3-3.

Nonetheless, Martin broke him next time around when the Frenchman sent a forehand long and he closed the set on own serve in game nine with a volley winner at the net after a well-constructed point. The second set offered 18 break points and this time it was Corentin who grabbed an early lead, breaking in game four after a poor forehand from Martin to build a 3-1 advantage.

Andrej broke back in the very next game, which is always important, and he saved two break points in the following game to level the score at 3-3. Moutet got broken again in game seven but he pulled it back immediately to erase the deficit and stay in touch with his opponent before the crucial games of the match.

The more experienced Slovak broke in the ninth game thanks to a deep return and he served for the match in the following game. Instead of an easy hold he had to save three break points but the match was finally in his hands after a volley winner at the net, converting his second match point to earn the place in the semis.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas was the Spanish hero in their hard-fought Davis Cup win over Great Britain last weekend, and he carried his form to Quito as well, beating Gerlam Melzer 6-2 6-4 in an hour and 18 minutes. The 2nd seed lost just 14 points in nine service games, fending off a lone break point he faced to keep his serve unbroken.

There was nothing wrong with the Austrian's first serve but he was under all kind of troubles after missing it, winning just seven out of 23 points on his second serve to be broken three times from five break points he offered to Ramos-Vinolas.

Albert settled into a nice rhythm early on, controlling the pace in his games and waiting for a chance on the return, and it came really soon. A left-handed Spaniard punched a forehand winner to earn a break in the third game and another one followed in game five when Melzer double faulted to find himself 4-1 down.

Ramos-Vinolas needed just 30 minutes to complete the set with a service winner in game eight, eager to continue in the same style in set number two. Gerald started to play better and he created his first break point in the second game of set number two, only to be denied by a powerful forehand of Ramos-Vinolas who grabbed the game in the end.

The Spaniard missed a break point in the following game and they both served well in the next five games, with no deuces or break chances. Melzer wasted a game point at 4-4 and he hit a double fault that cost him dearly, losing his serve and letting Albert serve for the win.

The second seed needed no second invitation and he grabbed the win with a volley winner in the next game to reach his first semi-final since Monte Carlo last year. Quarter-final results:

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Andrej Martin Roberto Carballes Baena
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