Estoril SF previews and predictions: Kyrgios vs. Almagro, Paire vs. Carreno Busta

Nick Kyrgios will continue his Estoril campaign against Nicolas Almagro during semifinal action on Saturday. Benoit Paire and Pablo Carreno Busta are also hoping to snag a spot in the title match.

(6) Borna Coric vs. (2) Nick Kyrgios

Kyrgios’ first clay-court tournament of the year is off to a flawless start at the Estoril Open. The 20th-ranked Australian earned an opening bye as the No. 2 seed before taking care of Inigo Cervantes and Borna Coric in straight sets. Kyrgios had previously not played since reaching the Miami semifinals last month. In fact, this is just his sixth of the season due various physical problems such as illness and injury.

Next up for the 21-year-old on Saturday is a first-ever showdown against Almagro, who also knows a thing or two about injuries. The Spaniard missed much of 2014 with a foot problem but he is slowly making his way back and approaching the top 50 (currently at 71st in the rankings). Almagro is aiming for his second final appearance of 2016, having previously finished runner-up to Dominic Thiem in Buenos Aires. He remains on course for it thanks to victories this week over Frederico Ferreira Silva, Joao Sousa, and Leonardo Mayer. Clay will give Almagro a chance to continue his run, but Kyrgios will likely have too much firepower in the end.

Pick: Kyrgios in 3

(8) Pablo Carreno Busta vs. (3) Benoit Paire

Carreno Busta and Paire will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers at the ATP level and for the sixth time overall on Saturday. Paire is leading the head-to-head series 3-2, including 2-1 on the main tour. They most recently collided at the 2014 U.S. Open, where Carreno Busta prevailed 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Their two previous clay-court encounters came in 2011, when Paire scored a 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-2 victory in Barcelona before Carreno Busta exacted revenge with a 6-4, 7-6(2) win at the Como Challenger.
Paire’s roller-coaster 2016 campaign is back on the rise after a stretch in which he went 1-5. The world No. 21 reached the Monte-Carlo third round in addition to the Barcelona semifinals and so far in Estoril he has taken out Kyle Edmund and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Carreno Busta is through to the last four by virtue of defeating Fernando Verdasco, Taro Daniel, and Gilles Simon. This is an extreme contrast in styles and temperaments, as the 50th-ranked Spaniard is a rock-solid customer who always brings his best effort. Paire’s ceiling is exponentially higher, but he is also far more likely to disappear in match–or in several consecutive matches. Given that the proverbial “good” Paire has been on display of late, he may be able to maintain his momentum and reach a fifth career ATP title match.

Pick: Paire in 3

13 Comments on Estoril SF previews and predictions: Kyrgios vs. Almagro, Paire vs. Carreno Busta

  1. Agree with Kyrgios over Almagro, but will go with PCB in 3. Both guys have been playing well, and a lot depends on which version of Paire shows up.

  2. Almagro has never been a favourite of mine but that was an impressive performance against Curious. He neutralised the Aussie’s game and left him floundering like a fish out of water 🙂

  3. Cant find a thread featuring the Estoril final. Currently one set all after two tie breaks. Amalgro is suffering from a case of Nadalitis. He was ahead in the first and second sets but on both occasions failed to clinch them when he had the chance. PCB is looking the stronger of the two to take the title.

  4. Correction. PCB is having problems after a nasty fall – his level has dropped significantly and Nico has got the first break in the 3rd set.

  5. PCB has regrouped and managed to avoid going down a double break but is now serving to stay in the match. After saving several match points he then lets Nico off the hook having to serve out the match. After two tight sets the final set was an error strewn let down.

    Chapeau to Nico for holdng his nerve.

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