Albert Ramos came to this Mutua Madrid Open after falling in the semifinals of the ATP 250 in Estoril, where he was defending the title, against the eventual champion, Sebastián Báez. Ahead is a US Open champion like Marin Cilic to try to access a second round that the Spaniard has not managed to overcome in his nine appearances in the tournament.
First set that started evenly, being a classic clay match with several breaks for both players. It would be in the sixth game where Cilic would take advantage of his opportunity to open a gap that would be definitive in the face of the final 6-3 of the first round.
The second round started better for the Spanish player, very confident on serve, without conceding break points, and taking advantage of his opportunity to get ahead on the scoreboard. Albert Ramos would be able to maintain his serve for the rest of the set, to end up also taking it 6-3 and forcing the third on the Arantxa Sánchez Vicario court.
The third could not have started better for the Spanish tennis player, who broke the Croatian's serve on his first attempt. When Marin Cilic seemed to be at his worst, in the longest game of the match, he saved three break points against that would have meant (practically) defeat.
During the interview, Jose Higueras brought up another incident involving Roger Federer to showcase the Swiss' willingness to experiment.
Jose Higueras praises Roger Federer
Legendary tennis coach Jose Higueras has lavished praise on his former pupil Roger Federer, saying the Swiss cannot be compared to any other player on tour.
"It's tough to compare Roger [Federer] with anybody. He is so unique in everything - how he goes about his game, off the court," Higueras said. "He likes to feel the ball on his racquet strings, he likes to experiment. If you tell him something, he will digest it, he will think about it and [he is one of] those guys who are always so thirsty to learn." The 68-year-old recalled that, after the conversation, it was only a matter of time before the 40-year-old incorporated the shot into his routine.
"So we got into a conversation about the advantages of favoring that shot. People think it is not an offensive shot, but it's an extremely offensive shot. I said to him, "Just imagine you're playing someone who is 10 feet behind the baseline.
You have two shots to hit, down the line or a cross-court forehand. But if you have a third option, it’s going to force the other guy to change his position." [After that], it didn't take him too long to actually start using the shot," Higueras said.