"I'm very excited about coming back to a tournament that welcomes us so well and that has one of the best players frameworks...I've been very close to winning and this year I'll try even more to take a step further..." Pablo Carreno Busta said about the Estoril Open in Portugal.
He has taken steps further and won the title in 2017 but now has the job of defending his title in 2018. Busta has already defeated Nicolas Kicker and continues onto the second round now opposite Nicolas Jarry. Is this an omen that both of his opponents are named Nicolas? It might be, but Carreno Busta has proven himself time and again defeating players he wasn't predicted to defeat and dismantle their game one by one.
On his road to the Estoril title in 2017 he went to the semifinals of the Argentina Open, the finals of the Rio Open where he was a runner-up opposite Dominic Thiem, and went as far as the semis of the Brasil Open and Indian Wells.
He won the title at Estoril defeating three fellow Spaniards: Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer to finally capture the title from Gilles Muller without dropping a set all week. Carreno Busta took his luck and skill even further by going the distance at the Roland Garros quarterfinal outsmarting Grigor Dimitrov in three sets and the Canadian Milos Raonic in five, but an abdominal injury got the best of him and he had to retire in the second set against Rafael Nadal.
It was last year's 2017 US Open that Busta did well carrying his talents onto the semifinal win over Nicolas Mahut, Denis Shapovalov and Diego Schwartzman to bow to Kevin Anderson in four hard, grueling sets. Pablo Carreno Busta - determined and gritty a player who hits a lot of balls and plays clever tennis.
He already has made it into two semi-finals this year, one at Miami and the other at Barcelona. He was surprised recently at the Barcelona Open by the 19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas, who hadn't that much ATP exprience on his racket, but anything is possible; while Tsitsipas is going for the third round at Estoril, Carreno Busta is too and has to make his main priority of playing consistently good tennis, staying focused and letting his racket do the talking to defend his title and perhaps win his second straight crown at the Portugal event and if this isn't possible, look towards gaining his fourth ATP career title within this coming season.