Matches start at 8 am EDT
Millennium Estoril Open
Friday, May 3, 2019
Stefanos Tsitsipas over Joao Domingues
The quarters are set in Portugal, and for the first time in a long time these four matches look pretty darn straightforward. In this first quarterfinal, top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas, fresh off a straight set win over Guido Andreozzi, should roll over qualifier Joao Domingues. Domingues, a homegrown qualifier and ranked No. 214, had an easy time as Aussie John Millman retired down 6-3, 2-1. I don’t see Domingues giving Tsitsipas much trouble, as the Greek God is back on his game.
David Goffin over Malek Jaziri
These guys played once three years ago on the hard courts in Shenzhen, China and Jaziri won a close 3-setter, which I think will have no bearing whatsoever on this match. Goffin had no trouble beating homeboy Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-2, a true clay courter, while Jaziri took out Leonardo Mayer easily after a topsy-turvy first set tiebreaker. I like Goffin over Jaziri. Maybe it’ll be close.
Gael Monfils over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
I didn’t know how long it would take Monfils to get his wheels back after having to withdraw in the middle of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 event six weeks ago. But in his first event back, Monfils looks good, although not at his dominating self that we saw in the California desert. He knocked out 7-foot American Reilly Opelka 3-6, 6-3, 6-0, clearly playing better at the end of the match than at the beginning. Davidovich Fokina is starting to make a name for himself as the 19-year-old just demolished Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 1 and 2 after taking out Yankee Taylor Fritz in straight sets in the first round. It remains where the Spaniard will fall after a year on the Tour, but he’s probably a player that should be ranked anywhere between 70-105, and that’s not good enough to take out Monfils on clay.
Frances Tiafoe over Pablo Cuevas
Easiest draw into the quarters here in Portugal? That’s easy. Pablo Cuevas, as a lucky loser, he topped qualifier Salvatore Caruso and fellow lucky loser Fillippo Baldi to get to the Round of Eight. Now he’ll play a real player: eighth-seeded American Frances Tiafoe. I really don’t know quite what to think of Tiafoe. He’s got a nice game, he’s aggressive, and he’s a fighter. But he’s not consistent yet, and although he’s not yet in the basket with perennial question marks Karen Khachanov, Stevie Johnson, Nick Kyrgios, or Fabio Fognini, he’s getting there. The Big Fo was very, very lucky to escape this Round of 16 match with Yoshihito Nishioka, winning in a third set tiebreaker, after staring defeat directly in its eye. But what gets me is why does he insist, when he wins, to show off with a bicep curl? They’re all professional athletes, and they all have biceps. What makes his special?