Spanish qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena had an amazing run in Quito, winning six matches to become the first ATP winner on clay in 2018 and lift his maiden ATP trophy from the first final he entered. In the title match, Roberto toppled the second seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3 4-6 6-4 in 2 hours and 27 minutes for his biggest achievement in a career so far, previously winning four Challenger crowns on clay. 24-year-old came to Quito with just 13 ATP wins and two of those came 12 months ago here when Ramos-Vinolas beat him in the quarter-final in three sets.
More experienced Spaniard won their first meeting in Bastad in 2016 as well but he couldn't go all the way today, facing 11 break points and losing serve three times. Roberto served well, losing just 21 points in 15 service games and he lost his serve twice from five break opportunities he offered to Ramos-Vinolas.
The younger Spaniard was off to a flying start, losing just one point on serve in the opening three service games and he scored two comfortable breaks to find himself 5-1 in front. Carbalees Baena grabbed the first break in game four with a forehand winner and again in game six after a backhand unforced error from Ramos-Vinolas who was yet to find his range.
The second seed pulled one break back in game seven when Roberto served for the set and he saved a set point on own serve in the following game with an ace to reduce his deficit to 5-3. Carballes Baena closed the set with a service winner in game nine and he was just a set away from his first ATP title.
Carried by this momentum, Roberto continued to dictate the pace in his service games in set number two, dropping one point in four games to put Ramos-Vinolas under all kind of pressure. A left-handed Spaniard saved three break points to avoid an early setback and he did the same in game three, fending off another break chance to remain in front.
Roberto served to stay in the set at 4-5 and he suddenly collapsed despite the fact he lost just seven points on serve so far since the start of the match. He double faulted to give his serve away in the worst possible moment and it was interesting to see could he hold his nerves in the decider.
The first few games were crucial and he stayed in touch with Albert, saving a break point in game six with a solid serve&forehand combo. This gave him even more confidence and he converted his fourth break point in the following game to move 4-3 in front when Ramos-Vinolas sent a forehand wide.
Roberto wrapped up a win with a smash winner in game 10, falling to the ground in disbelief that he went all the way and became an ATP champion. Final result: