Friday afternoon in Lisbon decided the two pairings that will battle it out to claim the first international Challenger of the season on the World Padel Tour. Centre court at the Centro de Tenis Monsanto was packed to the rafters to witness the two semifinals of the Lisboa Challenger 2018.
The first place would go to the winner of Uri Botello - Javier Ruiz vs Álvaro Cepero - Nacho Gadea. Ruiz and Botello controlled the match at the start with a break in the second game. They opened up an advantage immediately but Cepero and Gadea slowly found their rhythm and tried to stay in it. This reaction wasn't enough to prevent the number two seeds from winning the first set 6-3 in just over 28 minutes.
In the second set, Cepero and Gadea upped their game and reduced their unforced errors. Gadea showcased his quality and Cepero proved that he was adjusting to his new position on the backhand court. They broke in the fourth game and took their first lead in a set at 3-1. Botello and Ruiz needed little tiem to react and broke back in the fifth game. This saw them bring out their best again and they took the next three games to reach the final, for the second consecutive time on the Challenger tour, by winning 6-4 in just an hour and 15 minutes.
Their opponents in the final would come from Ernesto Moreno - Gonzalo Rubio vs Rafa Méndez - Diego Ramos. Solid, with a clear game plan and extremely precise: that's how Mendez and Ramos took the first three games in just seven minutes. Every attempt from the Andalusians to get back in the clash was cancelled by a red-hot Ramos. The Uruguayan was putting absolutely every point to bed and that's how he and Mendez took the first set 6-4 in 40 minutes. In the second set, Mendez and Ramos once again controlled from the start and took a 2-0 lead. Gonzalo Rubio and Ernesto Moreno broke back in the third game. The quality of the match went up a couple of notches and the fans were clearly enjoying themselves. They broke once again in the eleventh game and had the chance of serving for the set at 6-5 but Mendez and Ramos were in no mood for a third set. They forced a tiebreak and even saved a set point en route to winning 7-6 and reaching their first final.
The final of the Lisboa Challenger 2018 is ready for Sunday at midday.