Reignin’ Spain: Armada wins in Stuttgart and Bastad
Originally published on: 19/07/10 10:12
As if there was any doubt that the summer of 2010 was a good time to be a Spanish sports fan, the good news just keeps on coming as Nicolas Almagro and Albert Montanes clinched Tour victories.
No.4 seed Almagro upset defending champion and home favourite Robin Soderling to win the Swedish Open in Bastad with a 7-5 3-6 6-2 victory to claim his first title of the year and sixth of his career.
Top seed Soderling battled hard to force the match into a deciding set, but a fourth consecutive three-set victory proved to be too big an ask, Almagro wrapping up victory just short of the two-hour mark.
“Robin is a great player,” said the Spaniard, installed as world No.18 on Monday. “Here in Bastad he’s like a hero.”
Almagro’s trick was to get inside Soderling’s head. “I tried to be him. I was thinking about the match all night and this morning, and finally I can beat him and I’m very happy.”
A gutted Soderling admitted afterwards: “I didn’t play my best tennis.”
In Stuttgart, Albert Montanes was a set to the good and trailing 1-2 in the second when No.3 seed Gael Monfils called it a day, handing the Spanish No.6 his second title of the season.
The Frenchman turned his ankle in the last game of the first set, which he lost 6-2, and treatment to tape the joint had little impact.
“My ankle just got worse and worse,” Monfils lamented. “I thought I could come back, but I wasn’t 100% and Albert would have figured out he needed to just move me around for the win.”
Montanes now has the Mercedes Cup title and the Estoril Open to his name, a feat that has propelled him to his highest ATP ranking at No.24 this week and brings the number of ATP singles titles won by Spaniards to 14 for the season so far.
“It was a fantastic week. This is a great victory for me and for all of Spain,” he said. “It’s an incredible year for Spain, in football, tennis and basketball, and I’m happy to have added more joy to my country.”