03 May - 17:53

Carballes Baena outlasts Norrie en route to the QF’s

Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena saved three match points and defeated British No.3 Cameron Norrie en route to the quarterfinals in Millennium Estoril Open.

The world number 77 lost the first set but recovered to prevail 5-7 6-2 7-6 (7-1) in what was the longest match so far in the 2018 edition of the Portuguese ATP250, lasting three hours and nine minutes.

With the President of Portugal watching from the stands it was the Brit who leaped ahead in the scoreboard in Estádio Millennium by winning a tight first set and looked poised to seal the win in the second but the 25-year-old Spaniard clawed his way back to the match. Carballes Baena, who won his first ATP event this year (Quito, Ecuador in February) capitalized on his chances in the third set while Norrie, piled up on the unforced errors, showing signs of fatigue. The decider tiebreak was a one-sided affair with Carballes Baena sealing the win 7-1 to deny the young Brit his first ATP Tour quarterfinals.

“I’m very happy. It was a very tough match. In the third set I was physically quite tired and he tried to move me around a lot. Fortunately I played very well in the decisive tie-break. When I found myself trailing 4-5 and 0-40 I thought the most natural thing is that I’ll loose so I’ll play with everything I have and make him play every point. In the end, I managed to win six points on a row,” said Carballes after the match.

The Spaniard will now face rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas who stunned top seed Kevin Anderson in a three set thriller.