Fils wins Estoril opener, ends Sousa’s singles career

Monfils downs #NextGenATP Rocha
April 03, 2024
Arthur Fils defeats Joao Sousa on Wednesday at the Millennium Estoril Open. By ATP Staff

Arthur Fils held firm in an emotional atmosphere Wednesday at the Millennium Estoril Open. The #NextGenATP Frenchman triumphed 7-5, 6-4 against Joao Sousa to bring the home favourite’s pro singles career to a close at the ATP 250.

The 19-year-old Fils converted three of six break points he earned, according to Infosys ATP Stats, for his 10th tour-level win of the season. He wrapped his victory in one hour and 50 minutes to send the 35-year-old Sousa into singles retirement — the Portuguese will also compete in the doubles at his final tour-level event, alongside Joao Fonseca.

“First of all I want to congratulate Joao for his amazing career, it’s unbelievable,” said Fils of Sousa in his on-court interview. “Thanks to the crowd, obviously today they weren’t cheering for me, but that’s normal… He played amazing for his last match. Of course it is tough, he is a tough opponent on clay, so I’m really happy with the win.

“I was trying to stay focused on the match and nothing else. The crowd and everything, just stay focused. Today I’m really happy, and let’s see about tomorrow.”

The No. 37 in the PIF ATP Rankings, Fils will now prepare for a maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting with Cristian Garin. The Chilean wrapped up a rain-interrupted 7-6(3), 7-5 victory against Jurij Rodionov in a match that began on Monday evening in Portugal.

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Another two #NextGenATP talent, Brazil’s Fonseca and home favourite Henrique Rocha, were unable to join Fils in the second round. Jan Choinski overcame the 17-year-old Fonseca 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4 for his first ATP Tour victory. The Briton, whose only previous tour-level win came at Wimbledon in 2023, next faces second seed Hubert Hurkacz.

Gael Monfils downed the 19-year-old wild card Rocha 7-5, 7-5 for his first clay-court win since the opening round of Roland Garros in 2023. The Frenchman will next face Marton Fucsovics, who eased past Pedro Cachin 7-5, 6-2.

A trio of Spaniards advanced in straight sets on Wednesday. Pedro Martinez beat Daniel Altmaier 6-4, 6-2 to book a second-round meeting with his countryman Roberto Bautista Agut, while Pablo Llamas Ruiz and David Jorda Sanchis will also contest an all-Spanish clash. Llamas Ruiz upset eighth seed Dominik Koepfer 6-4, 6-3, while Jorda Sanchis ended the run of home qualifier Jaime Faria with a 7-6(4), 6-1 triumph.

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